The Canadian Mountain Bike Championship is not for the squeamish. This became very clear to West Montrose resident Lisa Hutson, who trekked to Hardwood Hills north of Barrie last weekend, where she finished second in the competition.“This was a three-lap race of a course that was very technical,” said Hutson of the 30-kilometre mission. “A lot of downhill, rocky [terrain] that a lot of people crashed on – which was an advantage to me, because my strong suit is the technical riding.
“You basically expect some people are going to crash in some areas, because it’s so hard. People crash in front of you, and you just go around them and … try not to crash yourself,” she said with a laugh.
“But it’s fun. That’s what biking’s all about – the technical aspect of it.”
It’s attention to detail that separates a champion biker from a mere journeyman, she notes.
“You can tell by the way someone rides how well they handle the bike. The lines they ride, and how fast they’re able to go, dictates their overall fitness.”
Hutson started competitive road racing as a teenager in high school, and then switched to mountain biking in university. In one form or another, she has been racing competitively for 25 years. Now, all year round, she and her husband regularly train, both with endurance and intensity riding, the latter amounting to “riding really hard,” laughed Hutson.
“You can barely keep up with the people who are riding. It makes it more fun to see how fast you can go.”
For those of us more likely to bike into a car door than a silver medal, the prospect of competitive cycling seems daunting, but Hutson says success comes from hard work and satisfaction.
“It’s easy when you enjoy it, so just do what you enjoy,” she said. “Some people are more comfortable riding on the road, others like to get out in nature on the trails. Just focus on those areas that you enjoy the most and you’ll get better.”