It may be winter and there’s still snow on the ground, but that hasn’t stopped the Team Squamish mountain bike racing club.
Training occurs year-round and membership has swelled to 17, the most ever in the eight-year history of the club.
Jan Toom, the new president of Team Squamish, was working up a sweat with the rest of the team at the Howe Sound Secondary School gym last month and said it should be another big year for the club.
“We’ve got some big goals this year and it all starts with the Sea Otter race in April,” he said, of the California-based race that traditionally kicks off the year for the club. “And then we’ve got our regular B.C. Cup races and the other local races as well.”
Toom said some of the returning riders to look out for are Rhys Verner, Ethan Toom, Luke Di Marzo and Quinn Moberg.
“Ethan and Rhys did really well last year,” he said, noting that both fared well in their respective B.C. Cup divisions. “And Luke is great at bike handling, when he’s on — he’s really on.”
He said Moberg will be another rider for locals to keep an eye on.
“He’s an elite rider and we expect big things for him this year,” he said.
Team Squamish head coach Mike Charuk said he keeps the team busy, with several weekly workouts focusing on all different aspects of the sport, both on and off the trails. Team members hit the gym at the Squamish Athletic Club a couple of times a week, spin at HSSS and also working on mental training with Sylvia Rayner.
Charuk said that Rayner is a new part of the team and every Tuesday they work with her to help ease pre-race jitters and dealing with the stress of intense competition.
He agreed with Toom’s assessment of the team, but also pointed to new team member and experienced BMX rider Sean Fincham as a strong new rider. There will also be an international flavour to the team this year, as Charuk said one student from Spain and another from Mexico have signed on with the team.
“They came here to ride with Team Squamish and decided to go to HSSS as a result,” he joked.
The Sea Otter Classic takes place April 18 to 21 in Monterey, Calif. For more information on the team, visit www.teamsquamish.ca.