Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun

Our little mountain town is home to fantastic athletes and here is just a few to look out for this summer:

One of our youngest athletes, Carter Nieuwesteeg who races both road and XC, will be having a very busy summer of racing. Carter will be racing the Road Youth Championships in Penticton, competing against the best youth road racers in the country. Carter, who is gifted on both road and mountain bikes, will also be aiming to qualify for the Canada Western Games, representing BC. We are also excited to see Carter riding in his hometown this summer at the Fernie 3.

Nik Dunn is one of Canada’s best young downhill racers. Nik had a fantastic season last year, finishing 28th in the elite mens and 3rd junior overall in the Canada Cup Series. Nik had a huge breakthrough last year qualifying for the World Cup race in Quebec; a dream come true for this young Fernie boy. Nik will be racing in the Elite Men’s category this year on the Canada Cup Series, testing himself against the very best in Canada. Whilst going for podiums Nik will also be trying to secure a spot on the World Cup.

Julie Kelly is a top female endurance mountain bike racer. For most people a 1-2 hour ride is plenty, but Julie likes to add another 22 or so hours onto her rides, competing in solo 24 hour races. This year she will be heading down to Weaverville, CA to race in the WEMBO 24 hour world solo championships. As well as that, she will be racing at the prestigious Salty Dog, 24 hours Round the Clock and the Capital Forest 100miler.

I personally will be looking to add a few more podiums to my XC palmares this season, racing in a few local races such as the Kimberley RTM, Cranbrook Six in the Stix as well as the Fernie 3. I will also be heading over and racing in the Kaslo Sufferfest this summer and then hopefully making the trip over the pond, racing in the British national series and cyclo-cross this fall.

I grew up racing road bikes in my teens and I’m now racing XC mountain bikes. I’ve been given some great advice on racing and training. Here are my top 5 tips:

1. Nutrition and diet is key to being successful in any sport. Training hard and racing hard means you must keep your body hydrated and fuelled by eating the right food, before, during and after. Electrolyte drinks are great to help with hydration.

2. It’s NOT the bike. You don’t need an all out race bike to do well, keep your bike well tuned. There is nothing more frustrating than training hard for an event only to have a mechanical issue to ruin your day. Brake pads, cables and a clean lubed drivetrain will have your bike race ready. A coach once told me that by the time equipment makes a difference to your performance, you're not buying your own equipment anymore!

3. Start small. There are lots of events you can use to build up to be a seasoned racer. Use smaller local races to gain experience and confidence before taking on bigger challenges.

4. Rest! Don’t get carried away by over training and over racing. Take some time to rest; your body will need time to recover and repair itself; it will thank you for it. A lot of new research shows that athletes’ rest days are vital to perform at the highest level and it’s no different for us mere mortals.

5. I personally get nervous when racing circuits I’m unfamiliar with. Try to do a reconnaissance ride; this will give you an idea of the terrain, technical sections, recovery sections and feed zones. You’ll be more confident come the day of the race.

6. I added one more, but this goes without saying, Have fun and don’t take anything too seriously. Training and racing shouldn't be something that you have to do but something you want to do. I’ve been lucky enough to ride in new places, challenge myself and meet some of my closest friends through riding and racing.

Now get out there, ride your bikes, run those trails and make this summer the fastest, fittest, healthiest summer yet!

I personally, and on behalf of the FTA, wish all our athletes the very best of luck this season.