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Whistler downhillers Canadian champions



Allen, Baker, Morland win gold at Sun Peaks

Whistler downhillers made their presence felt at the Tim Hortons Canadian Mountain Bike Championships at Sun Peaks, Kamloops, last weekend, winning five medals and making several top 10 appearances.

The biggest Whistler story is Sylvie Allen’s victory in the women’s downhill competition. Although she has proved to be a strong and capable competitor at the national and international level in the past, she had yet to make a clean run at the nationals.

"I’ve always wanted to do well at nationals, but it just seemed that something would go screwy every time in the past," she told Canadian Cyclist. "This year I just stayed in B.C. to race and changed my attitude. I came in feeling very positive and just decided to race for fun."

She cleared the challenging four kilometre course in just six minutes 19.5 seconds, averaging 37.94 km/h.

The course itself was a mix of wide open sections and extremely technical rock and root sections that made it difficult to carry speed and get into a rhythm. The heat and the dust added to the difficulty level, as riders alternated between peddling madly and holding on for all they’re worth.

Whistler’s Claire Buchar finished just 1.84 seconds back of Allen, also guaranteeing herself a spot on the Canadian Team for the World Championships in September.

Vancouver’s Michelle Dumeresq, a transgendered athlete who has had sexual reassignment therapy to become a woman, finished in third place at 6:27.34. Dumeresq has been very fast in downhill competitions this season, causing some of the female competitors to cry foul.

Cassandra Boon, the reigning champion and the fastest rider in the qualifier by a 10 second margin, finished back in sixth place.

In the Junior Expert Men 17 to 18 category, Whistler’s Jeff Beatty finished third in a close contest, just 0.74 seconds back of the lead.

Beatty was the reigning Canadian junior champion heading into the race, and although he took time off racing this season to focus on school, he was still able to place highly in the events he did enter.

In addition to being a little rusty at Sun Peaks, he was also recovering from an illness he picked up earlier this month on a graduation trip to Mexico.

Chris Colbeck, Beatty’s coach with STORMBC, said Beatty’s finish at the nationals should get him into the World Championships in Austria this September. Last year Beatty finished 15 th overall at the World Championships in Vail.

"He did amazing, all things considered. It was a really hard course this year, really dusty, and he rode it well. Less than a second separated the top three riders. With everybody going flat out over a course this long, that’s a close finish," said Colbeck.