A local BMX racer is gearing up for the 2021 UCI BMX World Championships in the Netherlands.
The racer, Teigen Pascual, will be competing in the junior category of the competition in Papendal from Aug. 21 to 22.
“I'm racing junior women, so that's ages 17 and 18 of everyone in the world,” said Pascual. “I'm excited to race junior.”
Pascual said this is her first race since competing in May in Italy where she competed in the elite level. In that competition, she said there wasn’t a junior level, which is typically situated between amateur and elite.
But, because of the pandemic, Pascual said that it has been some time since she’s raced against the other junior-level competitors.“I haven't raced these girls for the last two years since worlds in 2019, so it'll be interesting to see where everyone’s at because we don't really know because no one's been racing,” she said.
Amber Pascual, Teigen’s mother, said the pandemic has disrupted some of Teigen’s trajectory when it comes to racing in these different divisions.“She raced one junior race… before COVID hit,” she said. “Now she also races in this elite pro level, with very little practice at the junior level, so she really had no time to develop that experience on that big hill, which she normally would have.”
Despite only having one junior race before the pandemic, Teigen did win that one.
Teigen will be aging out of the junior level within the next year and will move into the elite level.“So that's a bit daunting, but she's doing great and trying to manage the pressures there," her mom said.
Jesse Bifano, Teigen Pascual’s strength coach and co-owner of Squamish Barbell, had no doubt of her capabilities as an athlete.“She’s an incredible athlete,” Bifano said. “She's phenomenal regardless of her being 17. Her numbers are some of the best numbers that any of our women produce in the gym at any age, including some of our best lifters.”Bifano further said that her attitude, demeanor and motivation reminded him of other athletes who compete at a high level, including Justin Medeiros who he just coached to the Fittest Man on Earth title.
As far as her future goes, Bifano didn’t hold back in his prediction.“She'll be at the next Olympics,” he said. “She is 100% capable of representing Canada at the Olympics. She has all the pieces of an athlete and a person to be there.”
For now, Pascual said she is focused on the upcoming race and a race in Calgary, Alta. just one week after the Netherlands. She’ll have one more race in the U.S. and perhaps one in Turkey, but she hasn’t committed to that one yet. She said she also needs to figure out her plans at Quest University.Despite her full plate, Pascual said she’s been grateful for the support in Squamish, especially from Bifano and the Squamish BMX Racing Club.
“Everyone's just super supportive and nice and it's fun just having everyone there to come home to and to have support from.”
**Please note, this story was updated since it was first posted to correct the spelling of Teigen's name.