For a minute there it looked like John Webster of Mill Bay had finally met his match.
The top trials rider in Canada - and the first Canadian ever to qualify for the Elite category on the world tour - struggled on a few of the longer lines that were laid out in the village and through the dry creek bed beside Rebagliati Park during this year's Trialsworx competition. He earned five points - the maximum - on three out of the five lines, each time running out of time on the clock.
A perfect run in trials is scored as a zero. Each time a rider touches a foot to the ground the "dab" is worth one point. When the time limit is reached another point is added every few seconds until the rider reaches the maximum.
On his second run, however, Webster was nearly perfect. He made just three dabs on the five sections, and had another point deducted for taking a harder, optional route on the first section by the Town Plaza gazebo - the only rider to earn that deduction. As a result he finished with a total of 17 points, four better than Russell Phillips, and half as many as third-place finisher Jeff Anderson.
"It definitely was a lot harder this year. The length of the sections was a big factor," said Webster. "It took a little longer to figure it out, but I'm pretty happy with my second lap."
Webster became the first Canadian to earn his elite credentials last year when he finished second in the expert category in China. Self-sponsored, Webster wasn't able to attend the elite world championships last year, but will get his dream in September when Mont Sainte Anne hosts the UCI World Mountain Bike and Trials Championships. Webster says a result in the top-15 would be excellent while competing at that level. He has been training constantly with Trevor Bodogh - an Ontario rider who came to Mill Bay to train with Webster before the competition in Quebec.
"We've been living and riding every day, and having someone to train with has pushed me to new levels," Webster said.
Webster has always trained on his own with no other trials riders in Mill Bay, watching videos online to keep up with the evolution of the sport.
As well as finding a training partner, Webster has also upgraded his equipment in the last few years, from a more traditional bike frame with 26-inch wheels to a trials-specific bike with 24-inch wheels.
The only thing he's missing now is a sponsor, and while Webster says trials are still a niche sport in Canada he hopes that a strong showing at Quebec, in addition to the huge crowds at Crankworx, will draw more interest to the sport.
Trialsworx itself started with a kids competition and demo called Kidsworx. Almost 80 young riders took part in Kidsworx on Friday, navigating some smaller obstacles while pro riders gave them some tips.
The Novice/Beginner categories also competed on Friday on their appropriate courses.
Wei Tien Ho won that category with just nine dabs in two laps. He was followed by Rhys Higgins with 14. Local rider Jackson Goldstone was third out of 17 riders with 22 dabs.
Gino Salveo won the Sport category with 20 dabs, followed by Jay Kendrick-Cook with 22 and James Wessels with 34.
The Poussin (Under 10) category went to Danielito Chernetski with 0 dabs, followed by Joshua Coupal with five and Ryan Coupal with seven.
On Saturday, Jeff Lenosky won the Master Over 30 category with 16, followed by Jason Yu with 36 and Jason Cuthbert with 46.
Joe Baxter won the Expert category with 12 dabs, followed closely by Alex Le with 13 and Zak Maeda with 15.