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Athlete Spotlight: Riley Pickrell

Riley Pickerel started riding in 2014, and now trains and races with Triple Shot Cycling. Though 2015 was his first year racing seriously, he came away from the race season with an impressive haul of championship titles. On the track, he won the provincial titles in the Omnium, Kieren, Individual Pursuit; at the 2015 BC Youth Road Championships, he dominated the podium in his age category, winning the Individual Time Trial, Criterium, and Road Race. And finally, at the 2015 BC Cyclocross Championships, he came away with silver in the U17 race.

Riley also made an impact nationally this year on the track: at the 2015 Canadian Track Championships, Riley was first in the Sprint, second in the Team Sprint, fifth in Team Pursuit, second in Individual Pursuit and Time Trial, and came away as the Omnium champion.

Going into 2016, Riley has his sights on national titles on the track. Below, he recaps his year, with advice for other young riders beginning to compete.

It’s been an incredible breakout season for me as a U15 rider, competing alongside some strong U17’s and U19’s this year in Road, Track and Cyclocross, so it’s been a VERY busy year of bikes.

I haven’t really had an “off” season this year.  From the road season I transitioned almost straight onto the track. After a long, hard and extremely fun track season capped off with Nationals, I probably should have taken a bit of time off, but I decided that jumping right into cyclocross was a good idea.

However, after the first couple races I realized track legs ≠ cross legs. I would get ten minutes into a cross race and be like, “phew, good race guys, good race….” then I would see the lap board, “6 more laps!”  Needless to say, there were some awkward first races as I found my CX legs.

After CX Provincials, I’ll probably take a couple weeks off, then jump right into training for Track Nationals, which will be in early April for Juniors and U17’s. From there, I’ll start training for Road Provincials, Rimouski, BC Superweek, and the Northwest Juniors Classic Stage Race in Elma, WA–combined with any stage races and other training and race opportunities that present themselves along the way.

My main goal right now, however, is National titles in both the 500 m and the Individual Pursuit, both of which I came in second by a very, very slim margin. I’m also hoping to compete, and medal, in the BC Winter Games for short track speed skating.

A piece of advice I would offer up to others would be that many people exaggerate or embellish. For example, going into Track Nationals, I was starting to believe that the other provinces’ riders were gods. “So-and-so can do an 11.0 flying 200m,” and “that guy over there can do a sub 2:20 2 km.”  None of the statements were actually true, but I thought they were.

I was a little distraught, scared, and my nerves were through the roof, but I then realized, they’re 2 years older, I’ve got two more years for redemption! So I decided to have as much fun as I possibly could and it was by far the best weekend of racing I’ve ever done and I think my results speak for themselves!  What I realized was, no matter how strong people say they are, if you believe you’re stronger, you are stronger–the mind is a powerful thing.

I’d like to finish up with by thanking my parents, my incredibly talented and supportive coaches, Kurt Innes and Lister Farrar, my Tripleshot teammates, friends, and anyone else who has helped me along the way.

To stay up to date with Riley’s training and racing follow him on Instagram and Facebook.


My mom and I after my first National Title
U17 Omnium Podium
Stalking Je'Land Sydney
Respect for other riders