Four West Shore track cyclists headed home

A group of young riders with the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association are in their last days of preparation before heading off to Quebec for the Canadian Track Racing Championship March 31 to April 2.

Four U17 riders training with the club at the West Shore Velodrome in Colwood are heading into the event with medals in mind. For Isla Rendle and Kimberly Chen, this year’s event marked their return to national competition and a chance to earn tickets to a world championship.

“I think it’s always nervous to be in an event like this, but I also feel really excited,” said Rendle, with Chen adding that he felt ready to compete.

While Rendle stayed close to home until the lead up to the event – ​​spending Friday (24 March) morning at the velodrome working on his start – Chen was already on his way to the Bromont National Cycling Center to familiarize himself with the track before the competition.

As both athletes are no strangers to the national stage, Rendle and Chen have areas of performance they want to improve on. For Rendle, it was time to step out of the gate and keep him on his mental game.

“I want to work on my mental preparation and really be able to read my opponent to see who are the big guns, the people who are really going to lead the race,” said Chen. “National is one of the few opportunities where you can have an entire field of riders of your same ability and age, which is very difficult to do here in Western Canada.”

Both athletes say they are ready for high-level competition, thanks to their involvement with the association and coach Lister Farrar.

Rendle has trained with the association since 2019, and cites it as the reason he fell in love with track cycling. Chen started in 2018 and credits how the track’s accessibility and association as a place to learn and develop has been the key to his success so far.

Farrar said this year’s young athletes are following in the footsteps of many of the association’s highly successful alumni.

“We’ve had more than 10 national team riders come out of our youth program over the last 10 years, so it’s very important to have facilities like we have, even if you can only use them half a year,” said Farrar. . “There are 10 athletes from BC going to the national level this year, and four of them are racing here… we hope that all of our drivers will be on the podium at some point in the national championships.”

Despite that history of success, he says competing in high-level competitions is rarely the goal of the association’s programs. Instead, the focus has always been placed only on healthy training and social group training.

Joining Rendle and Chen at national level are fellow association riders Oscar Wong and Amos Scott-Bouris.

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Hadwin Floyd

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