Local cyclists take to the road with top riders

A trio of Summerland cyclists were competing with international level cyclists at the B.C. Youth Cycling Championships.

A trio of Summerland cyclists

A trio of Summerland cyclists

A trio of Summerland cyclists, Koen Buckingham, Heming Sola and Tamatea Westby, were competing with international level cyclists at the B.C. Youth Cycling Championships in Penticton last weekend.

Mixed among the cyclists in the B.C. Youth Cycling Championships in Penticton were Maggie Coles-Lyster and Cam Fitzmaurice.

Coles-Lyster has represented Canada, while Fitzmaurice is about to next month.

“That was amazing. I went to the U23 Cyclocross world championships in Belgium in January. It was such a crazy experience,” said Coles-Lyster, 17. “Unfortunately, I had a mechanical issue in both races. It’s such a different level over there and just the atmosphere of having 50,000 to 80,000 fans watching you, the courses are so much different. At that next level it is just harder.”

She also experienced the passion of fans who have T-shirts made up with riders faces on them. Superfans approach wanting their autograph. The next time Coles-Lyster, a member of the TaG Cycling team, competes internationally will be at the Union Cycliste Internationale Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland July 20-24. The Maple Ridge Secondary student also competes in track racing, on the wooden oval.

For riders who dream about accomplishing what she has, Coles-Lyster passes on the following advice.

“Keep loving it. If you don’t love it, what’s the point?” she said. “If you love the sport, get as much race experience as you can. Don’t specialize. Try everything. Have fun with it. Race as much as you can. That’s the fastest way you will develop. So many people focus solely on training. What’s the point if you are not racing.”

Like Coles-Lyster, Fitzmaurice, also of the TaG Cycling team, said it’s important to have fun.

“Be patient and just keep at it,” said Fitzmaurice, a member of the junior men U19 squad, who is a 2014 national U17 Omnium champ. “If you keep training and keep trying your best, eventually you will achieve all of your goals.”

Fitzmaurice said it’s going to be awesome competing for Canada.

“I’m super stoked to race with the maple flag on my back,” said the West Vancouver native. “It will be fun seeing how we stack up against the rest of the world.”

What he loves about bike racing is how fun it is to push himself to the limit.

“I really enjoy the track because it’s super exhilarating racing at the high speed,” said Fitzmaurice, who is in his third year of competitive cycling. “I like the tactics involved. It’s not always the strongest guy wins, but the smartest. I like figuring that out.”

A trio of Summerland riders competed in the championship. In the individual time trial, Koen Buckingham of the Red Devils team placed seventh in 26 minutes and 10 seconds. His teammate, Heming Sola, was 16th in 28:36.30 in the under-15 age group. In U17 boys, Tamatea Westby, another Red Devils team member was 23rd out of 33 with a time of 35:16.69.

In the criterium U15 boys, Buckingham was fourth out of 18. He completed the 15 kilometre mass start race in 27:56, while Sola was 113th in 28:05. In U17 boys, Westby placed 19th among 29 riders. He finished in 39:35. In the 42-KM road race, Buckingham was 13th among 18 riders finishing in 6:33 behind leader Nathan Bishop of Vancouver, who won in 1:15:20. Sola was 15th, 14:59 behind. Westby was unable to complete the 84-KM distance in the U17 group.