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Canadian downhill championships come to Kicking Horse

Approximately 350 athletes from across the country will converge on Golden this weekend
After hosting Cranworx last summer, Kicking Horse will now have a shot at hosting the Canadian Downhill Natioanl Championships this weekend. (Cranworx photo)

Golden and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will be playing host to Canada’ best downhill mountain bikers this weekend, when the mountain resort hosts the Canadian Downhill Mountainbike Championships.

Approximately 350 elite athletes are expected to spend the weekend at the resort for the championships, which is a part of the Dunbar Cycles Summer Series that held events at Fernie Alpine Resort and Panorama Resort over the last week.

It’s the first time that Kicking Horse has held the championships.

“It’s exciting and a refreshing return to normalcy, we’re excited to be hosting things at a national level,” said Matt Clifford, events coordinator at Kicking Horse.

“We’ve been chasing this since we hosted Crankworxlast year, it’s nice to get these larger and more recognized events.”

Preparations for the event will begin on Thursday to build the course and set up the village in the plaza, with registration opening on Friday. The course and all the hill will remain open to the general public at this time to ride.

Saturday, the course will be shut down to the public for practice runs for the event and for seeding into the Junior and Elite events. There will also be a kids event on Saturday for children 11 and under.

Event day is Sunday, with the race taking place after noon.

Crowds are allowed to gather around the village to watch. Spectators may choose to hike up to watch, which the resort is neither encouraging nor discouraging.

Masks will be mandatory in all buildings in resort grounds, with the resort asking everyone to maintain social distancing while at the events and remaining within your cohorts.

Amongst the 250 athletes, who will be coming from across Canada, Clifford says expect to see some local faces competing, with the cycling club and Derailed sending athletes up to compete.

As well, there will be an adaptive race held alongside the championships, the first time that such a race is held at both the Dunbar series and national championships, as well as at Kicking Horse.

“It’s a nice step in the right direction to include all sorts of riders and giving everyone a chance,” said Clifford.

“I think it’s cool watching them rip around and how they’re able to ride even better than me, it’s fascinating to see biking open up to more people and facilitate this at the hill.”

Nine athletes are expected to compete on the course that will start on Cranky Pants and merge onto Pioneer.

It’s the ninth season for the Dunbar summer series.

Claire Palmer

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