McTavish feels the gravitational pull

Local cross-country racer switches to downhill and enduro for 2015

When Jennifer McTavish travelled to Monterey, California last month for the famous Sea Otter Classic, for the first time she wasn’t there to compete in her usual discipline of cross-country mountain biking.

“It was kind of tugging at me last year, I was a bit jealous of people going off and doing enduro rides and stuff and (me) having to go on road rides,” said McTavish. “I decided this year I would focus on enduro and see how it goes, see whether or not it’s something I want to continue doing and just test it out.”

The new direction is looking positive for the young Whistler mountain biker. McTavish raced in the competitive the Pro Women category of the Enduro, placing 14th behind riders such as North Vancouver’s Micayla Gatto and world 4X champion Anneke Beerten.

A minor mechanical in the first stage cost McTavish crucial seconds, something she made up for later in the week in the Category 2 Women’s Downhill, where she placed third.

“The first stage of the enduro was the downhill (course),” said McTavish. “I’d only had one practice on it and my bars rolled on me. It was nice to get a really solid race run in for the downhill. I was pretty stoked on it and I hit all my lines. I would have been happy with that race run even if I hadn’t podiumed, but the fact that I did made it that much sweeter.”

With a time of 2 minutes, 53 seconds, McTavish was within reach of the top five in the Category 1 division, but her family had to leave for a vacation in Mexico on the last day of Sea Otter when the Cat 1 races took place. Regardless, her first trip to one of the biggest bike racing festivals in the U.S. was well worth the trip.

“There’s a lot more events than at Crankworx, it’s quite a bit bigger with a focus more on other disciplines like road racing and criteriums and less freestyle stuff,” she said. “There’s definitely a more ‘cyclist’ focus on the racing, though we were camping on site and it was a party every night. They also have an incredible dual slalom course, that would have been the biggest event that everyone watches.”

For her 2015 season, McTavish will be spending more time at local events and regional races such as the BC Enduro series and like many local racers, she is currently on the waiting list for the Enduro World Series event at Crankworx. The ability to drive to most events, rather than flying to national series cross-country events in Ontario and Quebec, is a welcome change for the Whistler mountain biker.

“Fingers are crossed that I do get into the (Crankworx Enduro), it will be my biggest race for this season,” said McTavish. “I’ll be training for it whether or not I actually do it.”

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