Posted by Editoress on 09/15/11
Canadian mountain bike World Cup organizers Patrice Drouin and Chantal Lachance were inducted into the U.S. Mountain Bike Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Wednesday, September 14th at the Interbike trade event in Las Vegas. It crowns over thirty years' work in the world of mountain biking. Well-known and well-liked by their peers because of their commitment to promoting the sport, they are following in the footsteps of the likes of Gary Fisher, Alison Sydor, John Tomac, and Thomas Frieschknecht.
The streak of races at Mont-Sainte-Anne was one of the factors that caught members' attention. For over twenty years now, Gestev has put on either a UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event or a World Championship, a record unequalled by any other stop on the circuit: "Managing to bring all the teams together to North America for a race year after year is a feat in itself," laughs Patrice Drouin. But the organizers' trademark quickly became their dedication to the sport's development, while also keeping a close eye on the fun events surrounding the races. "We've always been keen to put on technically superb but unique events, where everyone from athletes and volunteers to partners and mechanics has a great time," says Chantal Lachance.
Few people are aware that Patrice and Chantal both played a very active role in the discipline really taking off. In 1983, back in Québec after three years out west, Patrice brought home the first mountain bike to ever touch Québec soil. He then went on to open the very first mountain bike store in the province. The next step was to develop a network of mountain bike trails and why not a few competitions between friends while they were at it?
Then came the creation of the first mountain biking association in Québec (AQVM), while Patrice's close ties with National Off Road Bicycle Association president Glenn Odell forged solid relations between Americans and Quebecers when it came to developing the sport in North America. Shortly after, Patrice went on to work with the Québec federation of cycling sports, the Canadian federation, and then Union Cycliste Internationale.
UCI quickly recognized the expertise being honed in North America and invited Patrice to come up with rules for the new sport so that it could be integrated into the international federation with a view to the first-ever world championships, in Durango, Colorado, in 1990, and the start of the World Cups in 1991. UCI also tasked Patrice with training commissioners and organizers around the world.
It marked the beginning of Gestev and a winning partnership with sidekick Chantal Lachance. Together they went on to organize mountain bike races all over the world. The races ran like clockwork but just as importantly they were accompanied by parties and a memorable series of fun events. UCI still considers Gestev races to be a benchmark today and year after year World Cups at Mont-Sainte-Anne receive some of the best ratings by industry insiders.
In 2005, the Québec Cycling Federation recognized Patrice and Chantal input in the sport as pioneers and inducted them to the Provincial Hall of Fame.
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