The fastest rider at the B.C. High School Mountain Bike Championships Saturday (May 27) was not a senior but a bantam – he’s also the reigning B.C. Under 15 champion and happens to live a stone’s throw from the trail, but he’s a bantam, just turned 14, Grade 8 student nevertheless.
Tyler Allison’s group did just one lap of the six kilometres-plus course, which included a mix of Lost Lake roads, doubletrack and singletrack trails. Most riders and coaches were in agreement that the course was the most technical yet, especially after a little rain.
Allison knew his rivals from the B.C. Cup circuit (also his friends) would be gunning for him from start to finish and turned on the gas early.
"This is one I really wanted to win because it’s in my home town," he said. "I had a really good race. I had everybody behind me by about 10 minutes into the race and ended winning by three and a half minutes with a really fast time. It was a good course, with lots of places to pick up speed."
Although the singletrack was a little wet in sections Allison said his only close calls of the day happened on the road to the finish line when he skidded out on a couple of gravel corners. In his defence he was moving pretty quickly on his way to posting a final time of 25 minutes, 53.30 seconds – the fastest lap of the day for any racer.
Although there’s a little pressure being the guy to beat at most races, Allison says he enjoys the competition. "It just makes me want to train harder so I can stay ahead," he said.
One of the riders who was trying to chase Allison out of the start blew up on the climb and ended up having to walk his bike until he could catch his breath.
Allison’s next big race is the 67 km Test of Metal, which he’s hoping to finish in about three hours and 10 minutes – a realistic goal if it doesn’t rain all day like last year. He also plans to race the B.C. Cup series, as well as the Canada Cup at Sun Peaks.
In addition to cross-country Allison also races downhill and plans to enter most of the events in the Crankworx festival this July. That includes a new cross-country event and a Super-D uphill/downhill event.
Sebastien Sleep of Elphinstone Secondary finished about two and a half minutes back of Allison in second place, while Scott Mulder of Argyle Secondary took the bronze medal.