A group of young riders with the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association are in their final days of preparation before heading to Quebec for the Canadian Track Cycling Championships March 31 to April 2.
Four U17 riders who train with the club at the West Shore Velodrome in Colwood are heading to the event with their eyes set on medals. For Isla Rendle and Kimberly Chen, this year’s event marks their return to national competition and a shot at earning a ticket to the world championships.
“I think there is always nerves going into an event like this, but I’m feeling really excited as well,” said Rendle, with Chen adding she feels ready for competition.
While Rendle is staying close to home until closer to the event – spending Friday (March 24) morning at the velodrome to work on her starts – Chen is already on her way to the Bromont National Cycling Centre to familiarize herself with the track before competition.
As both athletes are no strangers to the national stage, Rendle and Chen have areas of their performance they hope to improve on. For Rendle, it’s her timing out of the gate and ensuring she is on her mental A-game.
“I want to work on my mental preparation and really being able to read my opponents to see who the big guns, the people who will really drive the race, are,” said Chen. “Nationals is one of the few opportunities where you get to have a whole field of riders with the same ability and age as you, which is really tough to get out here in Western Canada.”
Both athletes say they are already well-prepared for the high-level competition, thanks to their involvement with the association and coach Lister Farrar.
Rendle has been training with the association since 2019, and cites it as the reason she fell in love with track cycling. Chen started in 2018 and credits how accessible the track and the association are as a place to learn and develop as a key to her success so far.
Farrar said this year’s young athletes are following in the footsteps of many highly successful association alumni.
“We’ve had more than 10 national team riders come out of our youth program over the last 10 years, so it really matters to have a facility like we have, even if you can only use it half of the year,” said Farrar. “There are 10 athletes from B.C. going to nationals this year, and four of them are riding here … we expect all of our riders to be on the podium at some point in national championships.”
Despite that history of success, he said competing in high-level competitions is rarely the goal of the association’s programs. Instead, the focus is always placed simply on healthy training and social group training.
Joining Rendle and Chen at the nationals are fellow association riders Oscar Wong and Amos Scott-Bouris.
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