If you’ve paid attention to the local bike race scene the past few years, there’s one name you might have noticed creeping up the standings each year.
Kellen Viznaugh has slowly moved his way to the front of the pack in local races, all the while competing and excelling in junior around B.C. and Alberta.
Now, the recent Revelstoke Secondary School graduate has been named to Team BC for next weekend’s Western Canada Summer Games.
Viznaugh is one of five men and five women who will be representing British Columbia at the games in Wood Buffalo, Alta., from August 7–11.
“It feels good,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication. Lots of riding.”
For Viznaugh, the accolade is welcome after not making the provincial team for the national road cycling championships, even after finishing fifth in the road race at the BC Junior Provincial Road Cycling Championships in May.
“I haven’t been chosen for any provincial teams yet so it’s a good way to show Cycling BC that I can actually do something in the sport,” he said.
Viznaugh got into cycling when his father Wade built him a bike. He entered a few local twoonie races and moved up from there. Locally, he’s emerged as the rider to beat in both road and mountain bike races.
Viznaugh is a multi-disciplinary cyclist. He competes in road, mountain bike and cyclo-cross races, though his main focus this summer has been on the road.
“They all complement each other,” he said.
He estimates he puts 500 to 600 kilometres a week on his bike, riding six days on the road and on the dirt. While he competes in all disciplines, his focus is on the road.
“Road bike racing is more tactical but mountain biking is just fun,” he said. “It’s something I can go do and enjoy. It’s not just about training, it’s about just riding.”
This year, he signed on with Keith Wilson, a Revelstoke native who now lives in Kamloops. He’s married to world champion mountain biker Catharine Pendrel and is considered one of the top cycling coaches in B.C.
Viznaugh said having Wilson as a coach has brought him to another level.
“Last year I was hanging in there with the kids that were my age but now I’m excelling against them,” he said.
This weekend, Viznaugh will be competing in the Tour de Bowness, a stage race in Calgary. Afterwards, it’s off to the Western Canada Summer Games. Then, he’ll shift his focus to cyclo-cross — a discipline that merges elements of mountain biking and road cycling, while throwing in a few obstacles.
Next year, he hopes to sign with a professional team and race around Canada and the United States. He said he’s been putting his name out there and has been in touch with a few teams.
His ultimate goal?
“Top step of the podium at the Tour de France,” he said.