Comox mountain biker Emmy Lan bracketed a 2021 European tour with a pair of national titles.
In July, she won the Junior Expert women’s division (17-18) at the Canadian Downhill Mountain Bike Championships in Golden, B.C. In October, she battled through wet conditions — more than 100mm of rain on race day — and a crash to win the Under-21 race at the Enduro National Championships in Whistler.
“It was a tough race for me as the weather conditions were rainy and freezing, and not my ideal course,” said Lan, 17, a Grade 12 student at Isfeld Secondary. “I started out my race with a crash which had me in seventh place, but I managed to make a comeback and push hard for gold, and I ended up two minutes up from second place.”
Lan had been a member of the Comox Valley-based Gravity MTB Youth Development Race Team, coached by Chad Hendren. She now rides for Commencal Canada, and works with former national team member Adam Walker.
After the win in Golden, Lan spent the rest of the summer racing in Europe. She finished ninth at a Downhill World Cup event in Maribor, Slovenia, 12th in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and 10th at the DH World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy. In her last European race, she placed third in the U21 category at the Enduro World Series (EWS) in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
She said the trip to Europe was an unforgettable experience, racing against top riders from around the world in the World Cup circuit.
“It was definitely a big jump from the national races to international races with much more difficult tracks and tougher competition,” Lan said. “As it was my first year racing world cups, I took it as a learning experience and just tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could…I’d worked really hard all year and my goal was to podium at the World Cup level, which I managed to achieve.”
Back in Canada, Lan competed early fall against a professional field at Crankworx — a multi-stop mountain bike festival that features dual slalom, pump track and other disciplines — held over 10 days at various spots in B.C. She landed herself a 10th-place finish, an eighth, three seventh-place results, a sixth and a second.
“Being only 17 and invited to race among some of the highest-level athletes from all around the world was an unbelievable experience,” Lan said. “I was racing the girls who I have looked up to over the years, and even managed to place second in the psychosis DH event, beating some of my heroes in the sport.”
Of the two mountain bike disciplines, she prefers enduro (timed downhill stages), which will be her main focus next year, along with a few downhill races.
After graduating high school, Lan plans to take a gap year to focus fully on training, racing and travelling, though she will still apply to programs at UVic, UBC and other B.C. schools.