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Local mountain biker wins gold at provincials

Hannah and Duncan va der Roest represented Mount Baker Secondary School at the 2014 High School Mountain Bike Provincials, with the former winning a gold and silver medal. - For the Townsman
Hannah and Duncan va der Roest represented Mount Baker Secondary School at the 2014 High School Mountain Bike Provincials, with the former winning a gold and silver medal.
— image credit: For the Townsman

Hannah van der Roest made it a clean sweep last weekend, winning her fourth consecutive gold medal in cross-country at the 2014 high school mountain bike provincials in Burns Lake.

In addition to her cross-country gold, she added a silver in the shorter enduro course, and she also earned an award recognizing her leadership and dedication.

"It's a complete set for me, I've won every year," said van der Roest. "As far as provincial champion goes, I've managed to hold that for my entire span of high school."

In addition to her gold medal in the cross-country race, she also was tapped for the Mark Hume Award, which is given to an athlete who embodies dedication and leadership in mountain biking.

"It was a real honour to get that award, I wasn't expecting it at all," van der Roest said. "..."I cried and it was awesome."

Hosted by Lakes District Secondary School, riders across the province had a fun four-cross track timed runs last Friday, with the main cross-country and enduro races on Saturday.

"Burns Lake is amazing trail-wise, there's an amazing maze of trails and the course was really fun," said van der Roest. "The course was perfect for provincials, it wasn't so technical that beginner riders were going to go kill themselves on the trail, but a mountain biker would win because you had to have skill."

The cross-country was a fast and challenging 10-kilometre loop for Grades 10-12, with a shorter 5 km course for Grades 8-9.

Everyone in Grade 10-12 for boys and girls line up at the same time on the 10 km course, which makes for an interesting start, van der Roest said.

"The start is always really intense and you've got the adrenaline going," she continued. "...After this tiny loop, I started to get into my legs and I refused to look behind me, so whenever I heard the squeak of brakes, I always thought, 'It's a girl, go faster, go faster.'"

She finished in just under 40 minutes, which was her goal.

"It was exhausting. Halfway through the race I thought I was going to fall over and die, but I didn't."

Van der Roest also competed in the enduro, a technical downhill race that throws a lot of terrain challenges in the path of the rider, and finished in second place.

She was joined by her brother, Duncan, a Grade 10 student, who finished in fifth in the cross-country and eighth in the enduro.

"[He] is my younger brother and he is incredible at mountain biking too," van der Roest said. "I beat him by only one minute, which is getting a little too close for my liking, but he's a very solid rider."

While there may be an element of sibling rivalry, they are also very supportive of each other when it comes to competition.

"I'm super stoked for my sister," Duncan van der Roest said. "She did really, really well. And she's fast. She's fast by almost every standard."

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