Top 21 Canadian Mountain Bike Moments of 2021: Part 3 (Jordie Lunn Bike Park Feature)
021 was a banner year for Canadian mountain bikers, with World Cup wins and world championships titles going to Canuck athletes and some major developments at home. With so much going on, and because it just seemed fitting, we’re counting down the top 21 moments in Canadian mountain biking this year.
Part 1 and part 2 covered some big wins from young riders and a historic Canadian moment at Red Bull Rampage. Our final installment focuses on an iconic retirement, a next generation win and a host of incredible performances that might have flown under your radar during a busy year that seemed to drag on, then just fly by.
Are we dragging this out? Sure! But there were so many amazing thing that happened this year, on and off the race course, that we think deserve attention that capping it at 10 would have swept some amazing performances under the rug.
Top 21 Canadian mountain bike moments of 2021: Part 3
Catharine Pendrel’s amazing return and retirement
First Catharine Pendrel inspired us with her incredible return to top of World Cup racing after giving birth to her first daughter, going from delivery room to Olympic start line in less than six months. Then the accomplished Canadian announced she, like her Clif Pro Team, would call it a career at the end of 2021. Pendrel’s hardly resting on her laurels, though. She’s already signed on as a coach with Cycling Canada to help guide the team towards Paris 2024.
Carter Woods World Cup win
Before this year, Geoff Kabush was the last Canadian man to stand on top of a World Cup podium back in 2008. The intervening decade has seen the women deliver incredible victories, of course, as well as inspiring performances from our XC men. But no World Cup wins. Then Carter Woods came along and started his season with a big victory. Two of them, in fact. First in Albstadt, Germany, then again in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, the Vancouver Island racer out dueled a stacked under-23 men’s cross country field.
Gracey Hemstreet’s world’s bronze
2021 world championships saw not one, but two Canadian juniors standing on the podium after the downhill races were done. Jackson Goldstone’s win may have stole the show, but Gracey Hemstreet’s bronze medal is an incredible story on its own. The Sunshine Coast shredder was forced to sit out the first half of the season due to injury. That meant her medal winning run at Val di Sole was only her third race back. Hemstreet would go on to add a World Cup silver before the year was out. We can’t wait to see what she can do with a full season in 2022.
AMTB makes its debut at Dunbar Summer Series
Adaptive mountain biking isn’t new, but it’s growing rapidly. The sport notched a major milestone in 2021 when its inclusion at Dunbar Summer Series marked the first occasion aMTB had its own, non-exhibition category included as part of an existing series. And aMTB wasn’t just included, it was centre stage. The adaptive athletes took on three downhill races, including two Canada Cups and DH nationals, racing largely the same course as the able-bodied athletes.
BC Epic 1000 record
Megan Hackinen didn’t just set a new women’s record at the BC Epic 1000 this year, she did it as B.C.’s now notorious heat dome loomed over the province. What’s more, the Okanagan endurance racer almost beat the overall record, too. That’s 1000km from Merritt, B.C. through the Rockies to the finish line on near the Alberta border in Fernie, B.C. as temperatures soared to record highs!
Short Track XC debuts at Canadian nationals
Short Track Cross Country is now a world championship race category and a separate World Cup category. Canadian nationals stepped up to include the new race format in national championships for the first time in 2021, making sure we’ll be well represented in the future. Sandra Walter and Quinton Disera walk away with the first-ever maple leaf jersey’s for XCC.
Enduro World Series U21 podiums
Under 21 racers tend to fly under the radar at the Enduro World Series, but Canada’s next generation are among the best. 2021 saw several Canuck’s score podiums and even more land top-10 results. Jack Menzies, Nathan Sterckx, Emmy Lan and Jackson Goldstone all stepped onto the podium. Elliot Jamieson and Emmett Hancock were both close to adding their names to that list.
U23 World Cup XCO results
Woods wasn’t the only one putting in a good showing, though that stole the spotlight. Several Canadians put in promising results in the under-23 races this year. Roxanne Vermette, Emilly Johnston, Gunnar Holmgren and Marianne Théberge all put in impressive races at different points of the World Cup season. Whether that was top 10s or moving up the ranks in this competitive category, it bodes well for the future of cross country racing in Canada.
Canadian enduro national championships
Canadian enduro champs made their return in dramatic fashion in 2021. After several years at Panorama, the NCES made its first stop in Whistler to hand out maple leaf sleves to the nations fastest. Riders were greeted with epic weather, making for a physical and mental battle for the titles. The tough conditions may have left some riders wondering if this was a high point or a trying low, but it sure was memorable.
Jordie Lunn Bike Park opens in Langford, B.C.
There are new trail centers opening all across Canada this year, but Langford, B.C.’s new park stands out. It’s dedicated to the memory of late-Canadian freerider Jordie Lunn. Built in a newer part of town, the park is already developing into a community hub for riders of all ages and abilities, from fresh bikers to old pros. It’s a fitting tribute to a man that put so much energy into getting more riders out on bikes!
Cory Wallace’s Leadville / SBT Gravel double
We like seeing riders try new things and mess with the status quo. Cory Wallace may not be the first rider, or Canadian, to take on a mountain bike race on a gravel bike, but the Leadville 100 isn’t just any mountain bike race. The infamous epic is long, sure, but it also has really technical sections. Wallace modified his Kona just for the race. Then spent the night reverting it back to full-gravel mode for the equally epic SBT Gravel race the next day. That kicked off a big fall for the Jasper, Alta. racer, including winning BCBR Gravel, doubling up again with the BCBR Mountain Bike race before heading off to South Africa for the Cape Epic and several other endurance events capping off a big year for the Canadian diesel engine.