Dropping in on the pro circuit

Gabe Neron finished 12 seconds faster than all his competitors at Panorama Mountain Resort. Photo submitted

Neron to pursue mountain biking professionally

“I said to his parents you need to be ready, this boy, one day he will be pro,” stated Christine Quirion, manager of Sun Peaks mountain biker Gabriel Neron.

The 18-year-old athlete had a breakout season in the BC Cup Series this past summer, taking the Jr. Sport (17to 18-year-old category) and eventually Junior Expert category by storm. Finishing on the podium every race his summer success sparked the desire to take the leap and chase his dream to become a professional mountain biker.

“When I met Gabriel in Quebec he said ‘I’m a good rider on my dirt bike, I’m a very good skier but I have one dream… it’s to be a downhill bike rider,’” stated Quirion.

Dedicating the next five years to chasing that dream, Neron will go from competing in the BC Cup series and spending 40 days on the road to spending roughly 80 days on the road next summer. He has committed to 10 races throughout the BC Cup, Canada Cup and World Cup Circuits.

Neron said it was talking to mentor and friend professional mountain biker Brett Tippie that helped him realize he could pursue the sport at the next level.

“He has a natural talent for speed, picking lines, body positioning, guts and composure under pressure,” said Tippie. “With a strong mix of a various sports background, he is very well armed to progress at mountain bike racing and I see him having  success racing Jr. Expert and eventually Pro Elite.”

Neron said he trusts Tippie’s advice.

“Just knowing that he’s behind me and he supports me in that decision and he thinks I’m ready for it and so far he wasn’t wrong.When he told me I should go into Junior Ex. I was ready for it, and I got a podium. I think I’ve got to trust him and do what he tells me to do.”

Only three years into his career Neron recognized he’s going to need moral support to make it to the World Cup circuit.

“Knowing people are behind me pushes me to push my limits,” he explained.

Looking to transition to the World Cup stage within two years, Neron approached the owner and head coach at Black Beaver Athletic Jase Petersen to help him bring his fitness up to the level of a national competitor.

“He was hounding me not for the sponsorship but to get in the gym. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to open the doors, figure out a sponsorship how we could do it,” explained Petersen.

As part of his sponsorship Petersen imposed a three day a week minimum training requirement on Neron to build stamina and cardio.

“He’s going to be racing guys that are older and bigger than what he is. That’s our main focus bringing him up to par with that aspect,” said Petersen.

Planning to make his Canada Cup debut in May, Neron will follow a strict training and travelling schedule throughout the summer. As he will not be working he said he hopes  to lessen the financial burden associated with pursuing his sport professionally by looking to the community for support.

“We have one young man, he wants to follow one dream our job (is) to be behind him and give him the opportunity to achieve his goal,” said Quirion.  

Along with sponsorships from Sun Peaks Resort LPP, Rocky Mountain, Down the Road Wellness, Meranti, Black Beaver Athletic, and EVI he is looking to raise funds through GoFundMe.com to help with travelling and equipment costs.

His campaign on Nov. 5 to raise a total of $27,000. To support his cause follow Gofundgabe on Facebook.