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Winners of the 2020 Cycling BC Community Awards Announced

Cycling BC’s Community Awards recognize the effort and commitment of individuals and groups that have demonstrated exceptional achievement, contribution, and dedication to the sport of cycling in British Columbia.

In light of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on events in 2020, the competition-oriented categories such as the male and female sportsperson of the year award were removed and redefined for the 2020 edition of the annual awards. New categories were introduced such as Adventure Rider of the Year, Greatest Individual Achievement, Adversity Award, Community Organizer, and Innovator of the Year to reflect the shift in cycling activities in 2020.

Submissions were encouraged from the Cycling BC community and winners were selected by a panel of judges made up of Cycling BC members from the board, staff, coach, and athlete community. A special thank you goes out to our judges for taking the time to go through all the nominations and taking on the tremendous task of selecting our 2020 community award winners. You can read more about our judges at the bottom of the page.

Cycling BC is pleased to announce the…

2020 Cycling BC Community Award Winners

Photo: @sandrawaltermtb Instagram

Adventure rider of the year: Sandra Walter
Sandra is a professional cross-country mountain bike racer riding with Liv Racing and the Canadian National Team. With her race schedule sidelined in 2020, she opted to take the summer to explore many parts of the province by bike. In July she spent 10 days riding from Penticton to Harrison Hot Springs via Lillooet and the infamous Hurley road. In September she hit the BC trail headed in the opposite direction riding from the Okanagan to Fernie, BC. In between her bike-packing adventures she was selected to be part of an elite group of riders tasked with previewing the 2021 BC Bike Race Course. She also founded the Girls’ Ride Club, a grassroots initiative to get more young women riding mountain bikes. 

Greatest Achievement by an Individual: Tristen Chernove’s record-breaking BC Epic 1000 ride
Tristen Chernove has numerous para-cycling world championship titles in both road and track cycling. At the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, he won a gold, silver, and bronze medal. As with all 2020 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, Tristen found himself with some extra time this past summer due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. He set out to be the first para athlete to finish the BC Epic 1000 course and set a new westbound record for the journey from Fernie to Merritt. Tristen finished the ride in three days, seven hours and five minutes, breaking the previous record by eight and a half hours. In doing so, he also raised upwards of $30,000 and brought new attention to the Paralympic Foundation of Canada

Community Organizer of the year: Digger
Digger – aka Todd Fiander – is a celebrated North Shore mountain bike trail builder who is credited with influencing the design and expansion of the local trail system to the benefit of many riders. Even if they don’t know it, any rider that hits the trails on Vancouver’s North Shore is the beneficiary of years of hard labour provided by Digger. During the pandemic, many cyclists have been hanging up their race bike in search of something a little more adventurous. The number of new people riding the North Shore trails is exploding and we all have Digger to thank for making this possible.

Adversity Award: Matthew Szymanowski (aka Shim)
Mathew Szymanowski was an up-and-coming road racer attending university in Victoria, B.C. In 2019, Shim was struck by a motor vehicle while out for a ride. The accident left him with a severe spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis from the neck down. In 2020, Shim’s closest friends organized a gruelling nonstop 500km ride to raise money so that Shim could undergo an experimental epidural stimulator implant surgery in Thailand. If successful, the procedure could enable him to move his legs again and help recover muscle mass, bone density and balance. Shim underwent surgery in September and is on the long road to recovery. 

Photo by TLBVelo Photography

Innovator of the Year: Tammy Brimner (TLBvelo Photography)
Tammy Brimner is a Vancouver-based photographer known for her ceaseless contribution to the road cycling community by capturing images of local amateur cyclists and sharing them free-of-charge. Prior to the pandemic, Tammy was present with her camera and her smile at almost every race. When in-person events were cancelled and racers took to eRacing on platforms like Zwift, Tammy’s craft evolved to respond to the new circumstances. She has been at the forefront of “Zwift photography”, applying many of the same techniques and principles to the online environment. She was the official photographer for Project Echelon’s virtual Tour of the Gila and Joe Martin Stage Races, although she continues to show up at local events, albeit online.

Photo: @tripleshotcycling Instagram

Volunteer of the Year: Martin Farnham
Martin has been the president of the Tripleshot Cycling Club for the past four years.  In the past, Martin has championed our weekly rides with as many as 100 people going out in up to seven groups, seven days a week.  In addition to the weekly rides, he also championed special events such as our Silly Solstice ride, Three Ferry Tour, and the Hurricane Ridge expedition. He also organized an annual “Backpack Ride” where club members would ride with food donations for our foodbank, as well as a summer BBQ and Christmas party/awards night.  In addition to all of this, he coordinated with our youth team on fundraising, racing support, and liaised between our club and others for racing events in the area. Martin has always been interested and available to the youth program, stickhandled the program’s fundraising, and has counselled the head coach on challenges. The Tripleshot youth programs’ success is also Martin’s success.  Now, if you asked Martin, he would say that many members of the club helped with these events and that is why they happened. But speaking as a member of the club executive, I know that many of these would never have happened if Martin hadn’t been the catalyst, sparking action from behind the scenes.

This past year (2020) was supposed to be Martin’s last year leading the club. He worked hard to put an active and talented executive team in place to take over his huge number of responsibilities then COVID-19 hit BC and everything we knew about running a cycling club and group rides changed overnight. Early in the pandemic, when club rides were cancelled, Martin worked behind the scenes to understand the requirements for “return to play.”  He tested and launched SPOND, a sport organizing app, and posted trial club rides.  He shepherded all the Tripleshot members into the app and posted weekly rides for the entire summer and fall.  Amazingly, during the pandemic, Tripleshot added 100 new members. Martin welcomed them and added them to SPOND after ensuring they signed the Tripleshot Code of Conduct, had a Cycling BC membership, and were aware of our COVID-19 Safety Plan.  

Perhaps most remarkably, when he was supposed to “retire” as president in fall 2020, Martin recognized the need for continuity in the club and agreed to stay on for one last year.  We are all grateful for everything he did this year.

~ submitted by Anonymous Nominator

Coach of the Year: Tim Sherstobitoff
As the head coach of Escape Velocity’s Devo program, Tim Sherstobitoff has been featured as a prominent force in youth cycling coaching since 2015. Tim has been voted Cycling BC’s Coach of the Year after his successful certification as an NCCP Comp-Dev Performance Coach and his actions in leading Devo through these challenging times. Tim’s preparation and patience are well-known in the cycling community and he consistently goes above and beyond to create learning environments that are safe, fun and challenging. Whether it is on the roads, on the trails or at the velodrome, Tim is ready to role-model quality leadership and foster a culture of excellence both on and off the bike.

Photo: @muddbunnies Instagram

Club of the Year: Muddbunnies Riding Club
Mudbunnies are a Canada-wide women’s-specific mountain bike club with three chapters in B.C. In a year that threw curveballs, the volunteer executive, volunteer ride leads and sweeps, went above and beyond to build club community while leading group rides at all levels that were in accordance with COVID protocols. The volunteer leads and sweeps are amazing. As the team website states, the club is more about being role models than racing and there are some kick-ass role models that know how to build even the timidest of riders (i.e. me) up to feel like they can ride just about anything.  Because there was a cap on participants, these volunteers put in even MORE hours to try to offer rides for all levels. When we could no longer meet, in order to still build camaraderie, they came up with ways for people to connect and share their riding experiences online.

~ submitted by Anonymous Nominator

Trade Team of the Year: InstaFund La Prima Racing
InstaFund La Prima Racing is a Vancouver-based UCI Women’s Continental team founded in 2019. In their inaugural year, the team found success in many domestic elite races in Canada and the USA. In 2020 the team was poised to make the big leap to UCI Continental level racing while promoting awareness of the important issue of gender equity. Despite the pandemic, this women’s team continued to engage with the community. From publishing “My First Race” a how-to guide for first-time female racers (they also donated over 100 copies to new female cyclists), promoting environmental stewardship through their Fraser River Gravel Video, to motivating the community through their 12 days of Christmas workout, this women’s team led the way on staying positive during a roller coaster year! 

~ submitted by Anonymous Nominator

Photo: Burnt Bikes Facebook

Bike Shop of the Year (by popular vote): Burnt Bikes – Burns Lake, BC
Burnt Bikes is a full-service bike shop in Burns Lake, BC offering a wide product line of bikes, parts and accessories. Visit their Facebook Page

Congratulations to all the 2020 Cycling BC Community Award winners. We thank you for your passion and celebrate your achievements that serve as an inspiration to all in our community.  

Our Judging Panel:

Emilly Johnston
Emilly is a junior racer and member of the Canadian National Team hailing from Comox, B.C. She competes in Mountain Bike Cross-Country with the Pendrel Racing Team and in Cyclocross with Naked Factory Racing. Emilly is also in her first year of mathematics and finance at Camosun College.

Parker Bloom
Parker is a multidisciplinary athlete, race organizer, member of Shimano’s Gravel Alliance and works at Victoria’s Broad Street Cycles. He is also a long-time member of Cycling BC’s board of directors.

Ben Chaddock
Ben is a former professional cyclist and now works as Cycling BC’s Head of Coach Development and iRide Manager. He is an NCCP Certified Coach and Master Coach Developer. In addition to his duties at Cycling BC, Ben also runs a private coaching business, Toque Coaching, where he helps clients reach their cycling goals.

Mischa Partridge
Mischa is a former National Team Member in BMX and Track. He is a Certified Athletic Therapist in addition to his role as Cycling BC’s BMX High Performance and Development Coach. 

About Cycling BC
Cycling BC is the governing body for the sport of cycling in British Columbia representing the full range of cycling disciplines including Road, Track, Cyclo-cross, Mountain Biking, BMX and Para-cycling. Cycling BC is responsible for licensing riders, coaches, officials, race organizers, and sanctioning over 200 cycling events annually. Cycling BC trains coaches & officials, delivers youth cycling programs in schools, and provides athletes with development opportunities to race nationally through high performance athlete development programs. Cycling BC is a not-for-profit association registered under the BC Societies Act and affiliated with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) through our membership in Cycling Canada.