Hundreds of mountain bikers from across the province flocked to the Jordie Lunn Bike Park in Langford for the B.C. School Sports High School Mountain Biking Provincial Championships.
Boys and girls between Grade 8 and 12 ripped up and down the rooty, rocky and at times muddy single-track course lined with spectators, aiming to score the best overall times in cross-country and enduro categories.
“We’ve got 387 competitors, girls and boys, from Bella Bella, Fort St. James to the Kootenays and the Interior, and all up and down the Island,” said event organizer Jim Lamond with the Sooke School District. “The event has got quite a history to it, but it has been delayed the past two years because of COVID. The last race was held in Squamish in 2019.”
This year marked the first time the event was held on the West Shore, co-hosted by Belmont and Royal Bay secondaries, and this year’s turnout was among the largest in the event’s history, Lamond said.
Beyond showcasing Langford’s recently expanded mountain biking park and allowing students to enjoy a fun day of competition alongside family and friends, he said the event also serves to promote and highlight a sport not often associated with high schools.
“I think with the inception of mountain biking in the Olympics almost two decades ago, there has been a focal point for kids to train toward. The Island, and the south Island specifically, has such an established cycling culture, whether it be road cycling, cyclocross, mountain or track … it’s great for riders of all skill levels, from beginner to expert.”
Planning for the event began last August and the stress of organizing it remained high right up to the day of the competition, given how many riders were expected, Lamond said. But it all paid off, with good weather and plenty of positive feedback from riders, parents and coaches.