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Squamish rider takes first at BMX race

Teigen Pascual of Garibaldi Highlands wins Race of Champions in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Anyone paying attention to the BMX rider on Lane 1 during the Race of Champions in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would’ve seen a sky-blue bullet whipping through the dirt track to clinch first place.

And if Squamish viewers were to look closely enough, they’d recognize that this gold-winning racer was, in fact, 14-year-old Teigen Pascual of the Garibaldi Highlands.

Pascual’s success in the Nov. 24 race is a big milestone. 

Just entering the Race of Champions can be a big challenge, as the top riders are selected from districts worldwide to compete in a series of races organized by USA BMX until only the best remain.

“I’ve been training very hard this year, so it feels very good,” Pascual said.

She’d been putting in six days a week, at least one hour each day.

Some of the training also involved travelling to Abbotsford and Burlington, Washington, because the Squamish tracks can’t be ridden when there’s too much water.

Pascual’s gold-medal victory in her age group wasn’t the only accomplishment over that  November weekend.

Pascual managed to take fourth place during the American Grand National, which was the final event of the weekend.

Her performances earned her third place for the season in her national age group.

“Getting the best gate I could get and trying to get first out the gate” was the one thing that Pascual said was on her mind during the races.

The events pushed her to do things she never thought possible.

One of the biggest highlights, said Pascual, was “beat[ing] a lot of people that I never beat.” 

It was one of the moments where Pascual seemed to realize how far she’d come.

“I’d never thought I was going to go into BMX and one year my friend started before me, and her mom just said for me to try it,” Teigen said. “I just tried it and loved it.”

“I actually don’t think I’ve seen her this happy,” said Amber Pascual of her daughter’s performance at a semi-final race during that weekend.

Amber added that Teigen was facing stiff competition from around the globe, which made the Squamish rider’s performance all the more remarkable.

That sentiment was echoed by the man in charge of Squamish’s BMX club.

“It’s just insane, really, the level of competition that is there,” said Todd Pope, president and track operator of the Squamish BMX club. “BMX is an Olympic sport and they had some Olympians and world champions [at the USA BMX events that weekend] racing.

“Just to get there and do it is an accomplishment in and of itself,” he said.

Locally, that accomplishment wasn’t just Teigen’s alone.

Garibaldi Highlands rider Robyn Schenk also made it to the Race of Champions.

Schenk managed to clutch eighth place in the same age category as Teigen in that race. Also, Pemberton resident Erin Tierney managed to place 2nd in her age group of 41 to 45.

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