Mill Bay, a small town on Vancouver Island, isn't exactly a hotbed of trials biking, but John Webster - the top Canadian rider who placed third in the world championships in China last year - has the Internet.
"I'm the only rider from there, so I'm riding by myself most of the time," said Webster, who returned to Whistler last week to defend his Trialsworx title against the most international, elite category yet. "I try to keep up with everyone and the level they're at with videos, online at YouTube and whatnot. It's kind of hard not having top guys to ride with but at least I know where I am."
Webster finished the day with 12 points, after making two circuits of six courses. That was good enough to beat Japanese elite rider Yasutaka Shibata by two points, with Ryan Cecil of the U.S. placing third with 25 points. Xavi Casas of Andorra just missed the podium with 26 points.
The main contest took place on Saturday, with four courses in the dry creek bed by Rebagliati Park and two courses in the village. Riders were given one point for every dab - touching a foot to the ground - and several points if they missed the time limit.
Overall, Webster said the courses were more difficult than past years. That was a good thing, he said, with top European, Japanese and American riders in the field.
"I was a little bit nervous at the start because (Shibata) actually beat me last week by a couple of points, and I knew that we would be competing against some of the other top-ranked riders from around the world," he said. "It was good that the course was harder than last year, because it really separated the field. That's important, otherwise a silly mistake can knock you from first to last because everybody ends up being so close."
Webster was doing less trials riding last year, but was inspired after his performance at Crankworx and the World Champions to spend a lot more time on his bike. He's also upgraded his gear to a top-of-the-line Monty bike, which he says has made a big difference when it comes to competing with other elite riders. Only 20 riders in the world are considered Elite by the top sanctioning body, which promotes riders based on results.
Trialsworx actually got underway on Friday with the Kidsworx competition for riders nine and under. A huge turnout of 63 riders took part, learning from top pro riders as they made their way through four sections.
That afternoon the Under 16 category and intermediate group also competed, with kids as young as five taking part. In Poussin (under 10), Danielito Chernetski of Port Moody was perfect with no dabs in six different courses. Felix Pratt and Jackson Goldstone were second and third.
Michell Long of Burnaby won the Benjamin category (under 13), and will join the elite riders heading to China this week.
John Goodwin won the Minime category (under 16) while Chantal Laurie won the Femina group.
In the Junior/Senior category Zak Maeda from California finished with 10 points to win the category, with Kevin Lui and Chris Hii in second and third. David Lloyd from Vancouver Island won the Over 30 Masters category, edging out trials legend Jeff Lenosky by three points.
For more information and complete results visit www.baiabros.com.