The top downhill riders in Canada flocked to Massif du Sud, Quebec last weekend for the national championships, taking place on a medium length but technical course.
Whistler women dominated in the elite race, with Claire Buchar winning the national title in a time of three minutes, 48.43 seconds.
"I have always wanted this title and have always had some sort of bad luck it seemed," wrote Buchar from Quebec. "But not this time. Well almost not this time. I seeded 21 seconds faster than Danice (Uyesugi), who seeded second, and got a flat in my final about a third of the way down the track. I couldn't believe it but I did not give up. I kept going as hard as I could and still managed to win by two seconds.... The track got so beat up by race day that most people had some sort of issue on the way down."
The track at Massif is technical and average in length, but has a few pedal sections to test fitness as well as skill. Buchar liked the track from her first inspection.
"It was fast, technical and had a few fun jumps. I was riding really well and loving the conditions even though it was a mud mission of a clean up after every day. I am back on my Intense M6 Evo and it felt amazing on the track."
Whistler's Rebecca McQueen was second in 3:50.14, while West Vancouver's Danice Uyesugi - a regular at Whistler - placed third in 3:52.90.
Katrina Strand of Whistler placed fourth, while Micayla Gatto from Vancouver Island took the fifth spot to give B.C. five spots in the top five.
Buchar spends a lot of time travelling while racing the World Cup circuit, but when she's in Whistler she does get to ride with local racers and always enjoys the experience. "All those girls are my friends and I love hanging and riding with them when we can," she said.
Buchar's next two events are World Cup downhill races at Mont Sainte Anne and Bromont, both in Quebec, where her goal is to get to the podium, or at least into the top 10.
"The competition is pretty full on, but I'm hoping to have a good performance," she said. "I've raced both events before but I've heard they have changed a few things on both tracks, which is always cool, (to race) something new."
Buchar will be back in Whistler after the World Cup races, but hasn't committed to any Crankworx events yet, with the exception of Womenzworx.
In men's elite, Jamie Biluk of Manitoba - and usually Whistler - placed fourth overall in 3:10.8, roughly four seconds back of the lead. Dan Skogland of Pemberton was seventh, and Whistler's Adam Mantle 14 th .
It was almost a B.C. sweep in Junior Expert Men, with B.C. riders Kyle Marhsall, Cameron Woods, Chayse Marshall and Remi Gauvin of Squamish placing first through fourth respectively. Whistler's Tyler Allison was sixth, nine seconds back of Marshall's time of 3:07.24, while Alex Prochazka placed seventh to round out the top 10.
In Under 17 Squamish's Lauren Rosser raced alone to take the national title in 4:53.74.
Whistler's Max Horner placed second out of 30 riders in boys Under 17 in 3:22.04, while Nick Geddes was one spot back in 3:23.52.
Tristan Merrick was second in Senior Expert Men in 3:29.87.