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Cycling BC XC High Performance Team Hardwood Hills Canada Cup Race Recap

The XC High Performance team athletes spent the week at Hardwood hills taking part in the Cycling Canada XCO Development Camp lead by Ian Hughes, reviewing this years course.  We had several stormy days out on the track, with few other racers out there pre-riding–we knew we were going to have an edge up on the rest as the conditions were drastically changing to less than favourable.

During my second race here in Ontario, everything went somewhat to plan, despite a couple tough moments towards the end of the race.  Overall, I did feel solid throughout the day. One lap into the race, I was riding with a group of 4 riders that had broken from the pack right from the start.  I felt I could make a pass on them and did that as we came into the first feed zone by launching an attack.   After the attack, I managed to drop all four riders and held onto the third position consistently throughout the remaining two laps.  That 50 m in the feed zone where I launched the attack proved to be the most important and effective move of the race for me.  These last two weeks in Ontario competing against some of Canada’s best U17 Athletes has proved to a total different style than at home, I feel much more confident in my ability to ride at my limit, and explore this sport to a whole new level.

– Holden Jones

Come race day we saw a torrential downpour, making several of the wooden features unrideable and dangerous. Some minor track changes shortened the race and reduce the riders’ (and support staff’s!) time spent battling the cold wind and rain.  The BC athletes had a strong showing out there, keeping their heads high and battling the tough conditions to finish with three bronze medals (U17 Holden Jones and Juniors Emily Handford and Sean Fincham) and several other top ten finishes, proving to be one of our most successful National XCO projects yet.

I had a tough start to the race with a chain slip through the first section taking me from 4th to 8th.  Needless to say, I started the race in a tough place battling some tough weather. However, it appears I was able to use the weather to my advantage and slowly climb my way back, closing the gaps one racer at a time. By the time we started our third lap I could see third, going into the last feed zone I made an attack and didn’t look back.

– Emily Handford


This was by far one of my favourite tracks, having raced this to a bronze medal at last years Nationals.  Race day saw torrential ran, turning the course into a slip’n’slide with several mud pits, seeing riders spinning out and having to run their bikes up the slope

– Sean Fincham

For more photos and full results check out Canadian Cyclist.

Emily Handford stoked its over and to be walking away with a bronze medal!
U17 Cadet Men's Podium with Holden Jones
U19 Men's Podium with Sean Fincham
U19 Women's Podium with Emily Handford
Mike reviewing the days Go Pro footage with Shance
Development Camp with Ian Hughes
Reviewing some of today's lessons
Catching the days last light at BC MTB HP Team HQ
It was wet...