Sports

Salmon Arm mountain biker takes skills east

Winning style: John Connor races in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, taking second out of more than 40 racers from across Canada.  - Photo Contributed
Winning style: John Connor races in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, taking second out of more than 40 racers from across Canada.
— image credit: Photo Contributed

If you want something, it’s up to you to make it happen.

That’s the philosophy of cross-country mountain biker John Connor, 15, who took opportunity into his own hands, qualifying for the U17 Team BC.

“I was happy because it is something I wanted to do, to make Team BC, and compete with a team,” said the former U15 provincial champion, who made the team after placing at the annual Sunshine Coast training camp in Roberts Creek.

Here, Connor competed in his first U17 category event, winning his category and achieving a time that allowed him to place third in the junior category.

This race was a selection event for riders looking to qualify for Team BC for the Eastern Canada Cups, National Championships Team and Team BC for the Western Canada Games.

Recently the Salmon Arm Secondary student returned from Quebec and Ontario where he spent 10 days enjoying the art and history of the provinces and, of course, competing at the Eastern Canada Cups. He raced in two events, one in Baie-Saint-Paul, Que. on May 29, and the other in Barrie, Ont. on June 5.

“It felt good. It was the first time going back east for anything sports related,” he said. “It’s experience for nationals and learning for later on.”

At the May 29 race, Connor was thrilled at  placing second out of 40-some riders who competed from across Canada.

“It was good. I wasn’t sure how fast the field was. It was a fast start but I worked my way up,” he said, adding that the second race had a slightly different tune. His bike had a glitch in the middle of the race, preventing him from finishing.

It was a simple case of bad luck said Connor. “It was rough and I wasn’t expecting it. I rode it the day before and it was good. It was fixable, just not while racing.”

Connor said he started mountain biking with Lee English and the Skookum Cycle crew when he was eight-years-old. Since then, he has competed with the SAS mountain bike team, but independently made Team BC.

He says the reason he loves mountain biking stems from the fact you have to rely only on yourself. It’s up to you alone.

“I like how you can do it whenever because it is not a team sport and it is just nice to go outside and enjoy the wilderness,” he said.

Next for Connor are the National MTB Championships being held in Canmore July 17 to 18. In order to prepare, he’s going to, “keep racing, bike everyday and do lots of training” – something he manages on his own time. He rides whenever he gets the chance, be it after school or on weekends. And when training gets lonely, he has his friends or dad to keep him company.

 

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