A local ski guide went to Switzerland last month to compete in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
Luke Stevens didn’t have a podium finish, but says the experience was still worthwhile.
“My only goal was to qualify and I did, ” says Stevens.
Even though Stevens was sent to the race, he still had to qualify. In the qualifying race, competitors had to finish in top 80. Stevens got 68th.
“And it was a very poor run. I was very relieved to get in,” says Stevens.
Stevens just became an assistant ski guide, works on the maintenance crew for the Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA) and as a bike guide at Wandering Wheels. Because of his busy schedule, he says he didn’t have much time to train.
“By the time of the race, I had all these issues. I wasn’t prepared.”
Between the qualifying race and the actual race, Stevens took his bike for a tune-up. Instead of being helpful, he says it did the opposite.
“It’s just me that does the suspension. There, they took my suspension to these fancy folks that actually make the suspension. I then tried all these new settings. And it didn’t work. I lost a day of practice. Then my confidence fell down.”
“I got into the race on my regular bike and then everything changed. And I couldn’t recover from it,” says Stevens as he laughs.
Stevens still managed to finish 70th out of more than a 100 competitors.
Stevens says racing in Europe is different than Canada. The race tracks are wider and each competitor can chose their own path. It’s faster pace and the jumps are bigger. By comparison, the bike season in Revelstoke is much shorter.
“Bike races start in May, but we still have feet of snow in town then,” says Stevens.
The last time Stevens competed in the World Championships was in 2011.
“I thought I’d try again. I hadn’t done it for a long time and the opportunity came up. Thought I’d give it ago,” says Stevens.
Earlier this year, Stevens competed in four other races, one of which he won.
“I won a B.C. Cup, which was nice. I haven’t won one for awhile.”
Without support from Flowt, a local bike shop in Revelstoke, Steven says he wouldn’t be able to compete.
Steven says he loves to race because of the challenge.
“In racing, there is no path. At least compared to becoming a ski guide. It’s not like ‘OK to be a guide you need to do this and then that’. Racing isn’t like that. It’s more chaotic. You train on your own. Just show up to the race and have the right mentality.”
Future goals for Stevens include qualifying for a World Cup race.
“Last time I internationally raced, I got crushed. So I’d like to try again and do better.”