Marie-Hélène Prémont (Rocky Mountain Business-Objects) and Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) repeated as national champions at the Canadian Mountain Bike Cross-country Championships on Saturday, July 15 at Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops BC.
Held at the Sun Peaks Resort north of Kamloops, the circuit proved to be more demanding than anticipated. The 5.4 kilometre course was similar to that used in the past, with two major climbs and lots of technical, rooty descending. Riders had praise for the course, calling it both physically demanding and technically challenging The women did four laps (plus a start loop), with Prémont and team mate Alison Sydor moving into the lead by the end of the start loop.
Marie had stretched her lead to over 20 seconds when she took a wrong turn, missing a course change. "The course changed a bit after I pre-rode it the day before, so I didn't realize that I was going the wrong way at first. But once I got back on course it was okay, I wasn't too worried." Prémont quickly realized her mistake and rejoined the race in fifth place.
After that initial confusion, Prémont took her predictable place at the front and gradually rode away to a comfortable three minute winning margin. Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Objects) finished second. Kiara Bisaro (Team RACE.com) finished third.
Geoff Kabush almost lost his iron grip on elite Canadian cross country racing. He crashed in the first lap, coming down hard on one side and suffering, as determined later, a grade one concussion. Kabush shook off the crash and managed to maintain his lead throughout the rest of the race despite a strong push from both Ricky Federau (Team R.A.C.E.) and Seamus McGrath (Felt), who came second and third respectively.
For full results from the Canadian MTB National Championships, click here.