Posted by Editoress on 07/18/23
Nova Scotia will host the Canadian Mountain Bike Championships for the first time this week, with riders from across Canada competing for the maple leaf jersey in the Short Track (XCC), Cross-country (XCO) and Team Relay (XCR). Kentville, on the Bay of Fundy coast, has held Canada Cups multiple times, leading up to the Championships.
"We are thrilled to bring the Canadian XCO and XCC Championships to Nova Scotia for the first time," said Cycling Canada Director of Events and Marketing, Josh Peacock. "This event promises to showcase the best of maritime hospitality alongside years of trail, venue and event development by the local organizing committee, Trailflow Outdoor Adventure." *
The XCC will be held on Thursday, with Under-17 and Junior titles being awarded for the first time, alongside the Elite category. Both defending champions - Laurie Arseneault (Liv Factory) and Carter Woods (Giant Factory) will be in attendance to defend their titles, with Woods coming off World Cup XCC and XCO wins a few weeks ago.
The XCO races will be held on Saturday for all categories on the 5.2 kilometre circuit - from Under-17 through to Masters. Peter Disera (Pivot OTE) will be looking to defend his Elite men's title, as will Woods in Under-23 Men, but there will be new champions for both Elite and Under-23 Women, with the retirements of Emily Batty and Marianne Theberge, respectively. Haley Smith (Maxxis Factory), fresh off a Canada Cup win in Dieppe, New Brunswick, last weekend, has to be considered one of the favourites for the Elite women's XCO, and has raced at Kentville previously.
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Photos by Tim Foster of Dose Media
Haley: "The course is very fun. It has a nice mixture of buff flow trails and extremely rooty, twisty single track. It will reward a rider that understands how to work the bike, but also has the fitness and muscular durability to be relentless for 90 minutes.
"I can't say that it's like other courses, to be honest. I'd say it has more roots than Nove Mesto (though I didn't go out and count each individual one...) and doesn't have a ton of climbing. The elevation profile looks like it's essentially one long, meandering climb up and a descent down, but in reality it feels like many smaller, punchier climbs strung together and separated by technical sections.
"It will crown a worthy national champion, in my opinion. It feels like "real" mountain biking (or maybe it's more accurate to say natural or organic mountain biking), as opposed to being a sprint for the next human-made feature. The Trail Flow crew from Nova Scotia has done a really good job building, refurbishing, and maintaining the trails to really showcase what the region has to offer."
Former Canadian national team member [1995 Cyclo-cross Worlds] and Annapolis Valley local Marc Kazimirski, through his law firm KazLaw, has signed on as the title sponsor for both 2023 and 2024.
"Kazlaw Personal Injury Lawyers is proud to welcome competitors and fans to Kentville, Nova Scotia for the 2023 Canadian Mountain Bike Championships. Nova Scotia has an incredible cycling community with a rich history, dating all the way back to Clifford Shand, who was a world champion and advocate for the sport in the 1890s and early 1900s. Kazlaw would like to thank TrailFlow Outdoor Adventures, the Town of Kentville, and all of the organizers for hosting these Championships, as well as the many dedicated volunteers who have made it all possible. Kazlaw wishes every participant the best of luck at this amazing event."
On a final note, I have already experienced the local hospitality. When I went to book a vehicle at Halifax Airport, I quickly found out that there was not one to be had anywhere (including the local rideshare that I signed up for), since the Indigenous Games are going on at the same time (well, I did find one at $1800+ for five days...).
So, I posted a note on our social media, asking if anyone would be able to give me a ride from the Halifax airport to Kentville. I was quickly flooded with offers, and now have a ride to Kentville, plus the use of another local's vehicle to get around in Kentville. Thank you to everyone for your generous offers.
* This is actually the 2nd time MTB Nationals have been hosted by Nova Scotia. Last time was in August, 1995 at Martock (near Windsor). Winners of the XC were Alison Sydor and Andreas Hestler.
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