Fernie cyclist crowned North American Enduro Champion

Jennifer McHugh selected to compete in Italy for Team Canada at Trophy of Nations

Four years ago, Jennifer McHugh bought her first mountain bike. Four years later, she was crowned North American Enduro Champion.

With stomping grounds now in the mountain biking mecca of Fernie, McHugh’s acceleration of success came quickly after the 24-year-old moved from Quebec and discovered her love of the sport.

Since childhood, McHugh has tried many sports. What kept her in the bike saddle wasn’t the wind through her hair or the high fives at the bottom, although these are all good perks.

“I like the risks, and (the) extreme, (I like to) push myself, you can find it everywhere on the bike,” she said.

Her first enduro race, part of the BC Enduro Series, was in the Crowsnest Pass three years ago. She placed third in the open category and immediately afterwards jumped straight to the pro category.

“There’s no lollygagging,” said her partner, JF DesLauriers. “Her exact words when I asked her what category she wanted to race in the following year, she said ‘well, we’ve got to make a living out of it, so we’re going pro’.”

“It got me addicted to racing, I just love racing since. It’s my favourite discipline,” said McHugh.

McHugh has now achieved a long sought after dream; to be a pro athlete. She is currently sponsored by GT, but has not yet secured a full factory deal.

Recently, when biking became more serious, McHugh decided to pack away her hammer and say goodbye to her previous work; carpentry.

“I like that there’s only one way to do it, to do things, to build. It’s a lot of thinking sometimes,” she said. “I don’t know how to describe it – I like actually building something.”

This season, McHugh took gold in the Canadian Enduro Championships, gold in the EWS (Enduro World Series) North American Continental Series, and finished second overall in the Enduro World Series. She also recently finished 5th at the US Open Downhill competition.

This weekend, McHugh will take on her biggest competition to day; the Trophy of Nations world championships, hosted in Finale Ligure.

For national teams, the top three riders from each country, according to EWS rankings, are selected to compete. McHugh is one of three selected for the Canadian women’s team. Each team will compete on the same stage at the same time, and the accumulative time of all three riders will count towards their overall race score.

This competition is the equivalent of the world championships, within the EWS, and is considered by many to be the largest mountain bike team event in the world.

This will serve as the second annual Trophy of Nations, but the first year athletes from the EWS have attended. In February of this year, the EWS was lifted onto the global stage when it joined forces with Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), integrating it into its Mountain Bike International Calendar.

Comprising eight rounds in as many countries, the 2019 Enduro World Series (EWS) started in March and finished at the end of September. One week after their final series race on September 21, the Trophy of Nations serves as the grand finale.

Teams will compete for the coveted UCI Rainbow Jersey, and DesLauriers says the Canadians have a good chance of winning.

McHugh was selected for the Canadian team alongside two of the best in the sport; Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (ALN) is ranked 3rd overall in the world, Miranda Miller is ranked 6th overall and McHugh is currently ranked 16th.

One of their toughest competitors will be team France, comprised of Isabeau Courdurier ranked 1st, Morgane Charre ranked 4th and Melanie Pugin ranked 12th.

This is in addition to team Great Britain, with Becky Cook ranked 7th, Bex Baraona ranked 10th and Ella Conolly ranked 13th.

“It’s going to be a really exciting race to follow I think,” said McHugh.

“I feel really lucky, it’s going to be the best experience I have ever had, since I start (riding) mountain bike,” she added.

The Trophy of Nations will be live Saturday, Sept. 28, through Sunday, Sept. 29.

Did you know: Jennifer’s favourite trail in Fernie is Dirt Diggler

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Haze over Okanagan and Shuswap skies may have drifted from Siberia

Few active wildifres so far this summer in B.C.

Heavy rain in Okanagan results in slowest start to fire season in four years

119 hectares of land burned so far this year, compared to 991 ha in 2019, and 3,835 ha in 2018

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Province releases report on Columbia River Treaty public feedback

Reservoir levels, fair compensation for impacted communities, among many issues raised

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Shuswap resident spots waterspout near Salmon Arm

The rare weather event was spotted early in the morning on July 4.

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Seymour Arm landslide interrupts drinking water to 500 people

The July 3 slide damaged a water system and a logging road.

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read