My sons and I had the opportunity to attend the BC Provincial Mountain Bike Championships last weekend in Cumberland, BC.
Upon our departure from home Thursday evening, all we knew was that my eldest son was slated to compete on Saturday with the Pemberton Secondary School team and that all of us were excited at the prospect of exploring the fabled Cumberland trails, enjoying a weekend of sunshine, camping, fun, and adventure.
Cumberland did not disappoint.
Cumberland has been on my list of places to ride for a few years. I had heard nothing but great things about the riding there and now I know why. The trails are easily accessible from both town and the campground, and are a nice change from what can feel like the straight ups and straight downs of Pemberton riding. There are a seemingly endless amount of trails of different levels of difficulty and the various ones that I was able to get a chance to ride on, were well maintained and super fun. Some of the trails were marked but mostly it felt like we were riding in a choose your own adventure book.
If headed to Cumberland with the purpose of mountain biking I would definitely recommend having the trail forks app readily available. Dodge City Cycles, a downtown bike shop is also a great resource.
Our first day there we had the good fortune of running into local guide and trail builder Martin Ready out on the trails. He was kind, an excellent resource, and fun to ride with.
If you find yourself in Cumberland and you’re keen on hiring a guide to show you around you can find out more info on Martin here: Island Mountain Rides
The town of Cumberland is lovely. The pizza shop, taco shop, coffee shops and bakery seemed to be a hit with our team. The accommodations where our team stayed Riding Fool Hostel and the Stansbury’s Guest House were in a great location and our team members were well taken care of by their hosts.
I camped while I was there, along with many of the other teams who had come for the provincials. It was not exactly quiet but super fun to see the countless number of kids amped on biking, camping, and being here for the event.
Camping is by Comox lake, about a 5 minute drive from downtown or an easy 15 minute ride to the trailhead.
Friday the kids had a chance to preride the race course and Saturday was race day. Race format would include both XC and Enduro. There were many strong riders in the field including 2 teams from Squamish, a lone Whistler rider, a handful of lightning fast local riders, and 3 year consecutive reigning champs from Salmon Arm (who had brought a team of about 45 riders along).
PSS brought a small but solid group of riders.
The excitement was in the air. When Saturday came, the kids raced hard, didn’t give up despite some having to overcome mechanicals and spectacular crashes, and were able to cross the finish lines. Their efforts paid off big time.
After all was said and done, post race meals were polished off it was time for official results and awards.
Individual PSS team members had some great results. Several podiumed and most found themselves in top 10 positions.
As individual awards were being handed out results were being tallied for the overall team results, winner of which would take home the coveted championship banner and trophy.
The announcer decided it would be fitting to acknowledge the top 3 teams in the team category starting with 3rd place.
In third place we saw Don Ross from Squamish take the stage.
When second place was announced there was a sigh of disappointment from the Salmon Arm team as it was their name that was called. Their three year consecutive reign had officially been broken and left first place wide open.
When the announcer called out Pemberton as the winners it was such an amazing moment. The kids slightly stunned, but totally stoked, proudly took the stage. I couldn’t have been more thrilled for this wonderful hard working group of kids and their dedicated coaches. They totally deserved the win for their efforts and each one of them played a super important role in earning this team win for their team and their school.
Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing home the Provincial Banner and trophy and I look forward to watching you defend your title next year.
According to the PSS announcements email….
“Winning the Provincial Championships is a BIG DEAL!! The only championships that PSS has ever won are the Alpine Skiing Championships in the 80’s/90’s, the last one in 94/95… the last year that Whistler and Pemberton students were one big happy family.
Even more impressive is that Mountain Biking does not divide the schools up into ‘A’, ‘AA’, and ‘AAA.’ All schools in the Province compete for the same banner. We were against some very big schools and still came out on top.
Huge congratulations to the kids, Ms. Jean, Mr. Hargitt, Ms. Clements, and everybody else that helped out. A very exciting day in our history!!”
Full results can be found here: https://www.webscorer.com/seriesresult?seriesid=101909