A White Rock mountain biker is gearing up to compete in Switzerland this weekend, eyeing a world-championship title as part of Team Canada.
Elliot Jamieson – who left for Lenzerheide Monday – told Peace Arch News Friday he was asked to compete for Canada in downhill at the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships after placing third at Canadian Nationals in Panorama as a junior in July, and sixth at the Mont-Sainte-Anne, QC World Cup in August. In the latter, he was the top Canadian rider.
He’ll take to the Lenzerheide course on Sept. 9.
“This chance to go to world championships is definitely going to be the biggest race I’ve ever done,” Jamieson said.
“I’m so excited.”
The 17-year-old athlete, whose Grade 12 year at Earl Marriott Secondary began this week, said he has always beens sports-oriented – including hockey and racing BMX when he was “quite a bit” younger. He started getting into mountain biking about four years ago.
“Over the past few years, I’ve just gotten a lot more into it, gotten a lot faster,” he said. “Probably three years ago, I really started taking it more seriously.”
He also volunteers at races hosted by SORCE (Surrey Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts) Bike Club, which presents such events as the Junkyard Dog XC held annually at South Surrey Bike Park. Jamieson’s mom, Trish, said South Surrey’s “great trail network” has provided her son with some solid training grounds in pursuit of his passion.
Jamieson described the World Championship opportunity as “the next step in fulfilling my goal of racing professionally.”
“All the work that you put in, it’s cool to be able to be selected and be given the opportunity,” he said. “Hard work sort of pays off when you get to go to a cool place and race against the best people in the world.”
Jamieson is no stranger to hard work off the track, either. Taking online academic courses since Grade 9, he’s set to graduate after just one semester in class this year – clearing his schedule for more training starting in the spring.
“I’m pretty motivated to train and do that sort of thing,” he said. “I’ve always sort of pushed myself and tried my hardest and worked hard.”
Sunday’s race will pit him against “60 to 70” 17- and 18-year-olds from around the world, including five other junior men on the Team Canada roster, in a run Jamieson estimates will be over in “just over three minutes.”
“You build up and then… you get that window where you, kind of, do-or-die,” he said.
A win will score him a rainbow-striped jersey, which “sorta means you’re the fastest in the world.”
Jamieson is hoping to eventually be sponsored, but for now, is thrilled by response to a gofundme campaign he launched to help cover costs of this week’s trip.
He aimed for $2,500, but ended the campaign when the total hit $3,700.
“I can’t believe over $3,500 was raised. And without the support, this opportunity would not be possible,” Jamieson wrote in a wrap-up post Aug. 30.
“I look forward to an amazing race and experience. I am flying out next week and will be racing on Sunday, September 9th. Thank you!”
Follow Jamieson on Instagram at elliot.jamieson or find him on Facebook.