Local mountain bike competitor Kyleigh Stewart had only two races under her belt this season before heading to Panorama Resort on July 28 for the National Championships. Not letting her lack of pedal time this summer hold her back, Stewart completed the course with a time of 4:00:01, earning fifth place in the Elite Women’s division.
“Going into the weekend, I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to have fun and do my best. Getting a fifth was awesome; it was just a bonus,” she said.
Stewart admitted she wished she had more time on a bike before the national event. She added she wasn’t nervous about going to the competition though because she used two other races as preparation to get herself back into race mode. She made top 10 when she competed in the BC Cup circuit races at Sun Peaks Resort and Silver Star Mountain Resort.
“It’s not much pressure when you know you haven’t been on the bike enough, so it was pretty chill going into it.”
She described the course at Panorama as a steep, technical course with a few additional jumps and said it’s one of her favourite courses to ride because it has a bit of everything.
“The course, there was a new section on it this year, a new section to me at least. One of them was Wall Street which was basically a straight down rock face into a really loose corner, so that’s where all the spectators hung out on Sunday because that was the rowdiest spot,” she said.
Seeded in fifth, Stewart had four competitors follow her but found the results were closely matched with the qualifying run.
Riding the high of her fifth-place finish, Stewart will compete at Crankworx in Whistler August 9 to 18, in the Deep Summer Photo Contest and the Air DH contest.
“Crankworx is one of those things that you spend two weeks just riding every day. I’d say I progress a lot while I’m there but just trying to get as much bike time in as I can before that,” Stewart said.
Sun Peaks was also represented in the Men’s Elite division at Nationals by Gabe Neron who placed 13th with a time of 3:05.18.