Team BC had a very successful day at Bison Butte Mountain Bike Park with a gold and bronze in the mountain bike relay event. The sun was shining but the soaring temperatures experienced over the past few days were cooler and the athletes showed their speed on the course designed specifically for the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
In the relay event, teams of three riders complete one lap each of a 6km course making for an exciting race.
In the women’s race, Team BC started in fourth place and Julia Long (Whistler) rode strong to keep the pack close. Lucy Schick (Gibsons) then reeled in third place rider on lap two and created a lead over the fourth place athlete. Emily Unterberger (Revelstoke) worked hard on the final lap to catch second but, at the finish the team was extremely satisfied with their bronze medal finish.
The girls finish provided some confidence and inspiration for the men’s race that followed.
On winning a bronze medal
Emily Unterberger (Revelstoke)
“It is exciting to win this competition as a team."
On comparing this competition to others
Julia Long (Whistler)
"Last year at Nationals, I came second in an eliminator race, similar to what we will race on Thursday. The relay event is new, and I haven't done anything like this before so it's pretty exciting."
On the course conditions
Lucy Schick (Gibsons)
"It was not as hot as our last race which was really nice and also just one lap so you have to go pretty hard."
In the Men’s race, Team BC started out in third with Rhys Verner (Squamish) keeping pace with the individual gold and silver medalists from Team Quebec and Team Ontario. Holden Jones took over for the second leg gaining and passing the rider from Team Ontario. When he tagged off with Sean Fincham (Squamish), Team Quebec had a 14 second lead over Team BC. The determined look on Fincham’s face as he headed out on the course told the story as he slowly narrowed the gap. His teammates came out to the top of the climb to join family and friends cheering and adding some extra motivation. Fincham finally passed Team Quebec on the last turn before the sprint to the finish where he crossed the line for gold where the three friends from Squamish celebrated their win.
Sean Fincham (Squamish)
On staring out 14 seconds behind the leader on the last leg:
“I thought oh no...I have a gap to close. I was a little worried; it was a pretty big gap to close especially on a course like this where it is really close racing. But I thought I can do this and worked on sections and tried to pick up a few seconds on each section.
On hearing his teammates and family cheering on course
“I could hear them cheering for me, it was definitely extra motivation for me going up those hills.”
On crossing the finish in first place
“It feels good to win with the team because they have all put in an awesome effort and to be able to close it feels really good.”