Squamish teen places second at cross-country cycling nationals

Local riders compete in the 2019 MTB XCO National Championships in Ontario

Squamish riders stood out at the recent 2019 MTB XCO National Championships in Ontario, which drew 700 athletes from across the country.

Marin Lowe, riding with Cycling BC, achieved silver in the U17's 12-kilometre race with a 45:01 finish.

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In the U23 category, Holden Jones reached the finish line in fourth place. He clocked in at 1:08:52 on the 24-kilometre course. Squamish’s Sean Fincham was seventh in the same event at 1:11:56. 

In her National Championships race, Lowe was up against more than 20 other riders — her largest field of competition to date.

It's only Lowe's second full year of competitions. She started with two races in the BC Cup one year, then followed up competing in a full series last year.

She said she knew throughout her podium-finish race that she was doing well.

"I was really proud of myself because, throughout the race, I was fifth or sixth," she said. She started in the third row, so it took some time to get into the second position.

"I made a move halfway through the race that was into second, and I just tried to keep that, because there was a girl quite close behind me."

She crossed the finish line 29 seconds behind Ontario's Nicole Bradbury, who had a time of 44:32 — and beat out the third-place rider by just eight seconds.

Leading up to competitions, Lowe said she acts almost as her own trainer. Although she's thinking of getting a set coach next year, Lowe has a mentor from Ride Like A Girl, and rides with friends, Team Squamish and does road-riding intervals. When and how she trains is mostly up to the teen.

"I knew the race would be really rocky... It was all man-made," she said of the national course. "So [training] I stuck on trails that were more like Ontario."

Once she got there, however, the heat and humidity made for fierce racing conditions. The athletes stayed cool by keeping ice water bottles in their jerseys and wore wet towels around their necks when they could. Shade was a welcome relief.

Lowe grew up with mountain biking — her parents both raced. Her dad suggested joining Team Squamish, and her racing career took off from there, her competitive spirit driving her forward.

Lowe will also be competing in cyclo-cross this year. This winter, she'll also be appearing in the BC series for cross-country skiing.

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