CANMORE – Canmore is a forerunner to hosting an international level mountain bike race with all parties apparently on board after preliminary discussions.
Cycling Canada and the Alberta Mountain Bike Race Association (AMBRA) are working to lock down the mountain town to host a Continental Cup event in 2023 that will tentatively feature a series of six races in Canada and the United States with Canmore finishing the circuit in June of that year, said Ron Sadesky, president of AMBRA.
“What we said to [Cycling Canada] is “yes we are going to run an HC class race” which is a level below the World Cup so any rider who is not on the World Cup circuit and in North America would come to our race, ”Sadesky said.
“Bring an international race to Canmore – we get cross-country skiing, [alpine, and biathlon] stuff, but I’m pretty excited for an international cycle race here.
Cycling Canada has confirmed that there have been discussions with AMBRA to apply in March 2022 for the high-caliber race, which would attract elite riders – possibly even from the World Cup depending on the schedule – due to its importance in world rankings.
In 1999, the Mountain Bike World Cup came to Canmore in a rainy, muddy and extremely cold competition in early July. The international competitive racing scene has since been absent.
Sadesky said that continuing to bring top-level competition to Canmore, as the next Canada Cup October 1-3 at Canmore Nordic Center, is necessary to grow and gain exposure opportunities to local and provincial runners.
One of the concerns of the Alberta mountain biking community, especially at the local level, is that athletes are dropping out of the sport during their teenage years.
“You see this decline among 16 to 17 year olds and partly because the kids have other interests and partly because of the costs,” Sadesky said. “It seems that some clubs [throughout the province] do not focus on training and organizing these races.
To help counter the decline, local Rundle Mountain Cycling Club recently started HerO bike, a program focused on exposing young girls to a wider variety of bikes such as enduro, cross-country, track and cyclo-cross.
At AMBRA, the local group launched a scholarship for young people where runners apply for funding to help with travel and equipment costs. Last year, $ 8,000 was awarded to seven Alberta cyclists, including locals Logan Sadesky, Jack Menzies, Jacob Baggot and Eric Oulette.
Sidney McGill, Ella Myers and Ryder Knoll were also recipients.
“We decided it was an important thing,” Sadesky said. “When you look across the country, Ontario and Quebec have so many athletes and there are so many athletes at all the races and we don’t have the same kind of funding here in Alberta. “
The local racing calendar in Canmore this summer and fall includes the Ziggy Gnarly August 28-29; the Drie Zussen Super Prestige from September 25 to 26; and the XCO and XCC Canada Cup from October 1-3.