Team Squamish's Neal Kindree and Miranda Miller have both been named to the Canadian team that will compete at The World Mountain Bike Championships in Fort William, Scotland next month.
Kindree will compete in the cross country race in the Espoir category, while Miller will race in the junior downhill. She has plenty of company in downhill with fellow Sea to Sky riders Claire Buchar, Tyler Morland and Jeff Beatty all going to Scotland.
"I am honoured to be given the opportunity to once again represent Canada at the World Mountain Bike Championships,” said Kindreee. “I am motivated and determined to prove myself in the Espoir category at the international level. Last year was a disaster for me at worlds and it left me hungry for a good result. I have been preparing for this race for nearly a year and with only five weeks to go I am now entering my final preparations.”
Kindree is one of eight B.C. riders in a team of 13 competing in the cross-country.
His season has been marked by good finishes at Canada Cup and World Cup Levels, topped off with a well executed ride at the nationals which placed him first in the Espoir category.
Kindree credits his roommates for helping him with the discipline necessary to compete at the international level.
“I have to make sure I take care of myself — including getting enough rest,” he said. “My friends know they are welcome until a certain time and after that they have to leave, because I need to get to bed.
“I have shared accommodation with Tracy Moseley and Fabian Barel and been impressed with their strict adherence to their programs. Early to bed, early to rise, incredible training — they are amazing. They are both DH riders, but have really shown me the high standards of work ethic to which I aspire.”
Miller has also had a successful season, finishing as top female junior rider in almost all her races. A flat tire in the first corner at the national championships cost her the national title and an official place on the world championship team. However, she was added to the squad as a coaches/committee choice. She was relaxing outside the Longhorn during Crankworx when the call came through.
“The world championships isn't something that everyone is able to experience and I feel honoured that I am lucky enough to be able to,” said 17-year-old Miller. “I watch this race in movies and to actually think that I will be there and competing on behalf of Canada is pretty exciting. I appreciate all the interest, help and support I have received to help me achieve this goal — Mad March Racing, Team Squamish and their sponsors, my employers, school and the community at large — thank you.”
While cross country and downhill are part of the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships, only cross country is an Olympic sport. That distinction means that cross-country riders are funded by Sport Canada, while downhill riders have to cover their own expenses.
Chris Colbeck, the team manager and coach for the Scotland trip, is coordinating a fundraising effort by the team that will take place the week before they leave.
“This is always difficult to manage as the team selection doesn't take place until the end of July and the team has to leave a month later,” said Colbeck, "but we are very excited by a new idea we have for fundraising that will reach across Canada and make this a national effort, so... watch this space!"
One change this year is the athletes will not have to pay for their own national team jerseys, as they have had to do in the past — they will be equipped with two each.
Team Squamish reimburses riders for a portion of their racing expenses.
“The financial support is very welcome,” said Miller. “This year I stepped up my training and the number of races I've attended — including going to Quebec — so my expenses have increased a fair bit while I haven't been able to work as much. My reimbursement from Team Squamish just took care of my ticket to England.”
The DH Course runs on Britain's highest mountain, 4,400 foot Ben Nevis. The weather can change quickly and the course is rocky and challenging.
Fort William has been voted best Mountain Bike Event on the international circuit. The town expects 40,000 people for the events.