Evan Guthrie is hoping his best race as a professional mountain biker leads to even bigger things as he gets set to take on the best riders in the world.
Guthrie is in Champery, Switzerland to take part in the 2011 World Mountain Bike Championships, competing for Team Canada in the Under-23 division in the cross country event.
This weekend’s event will make the close of an up and down season for Guthrie, who at 20, will be one of the event’s younger riders.
“I’m just trying to go in with no pressure and hoping for a top 30 placing and if it’s muddy maybe top 20,” said Guthrie. “You never know what can happen. It can be the day of your life or other stuff can happen. You just have to go in with an open mind.”
A lot of stuff has happened to Guthrie in the past couple of years. After riding to the top of the sport as a junior, Guthrie lost most of a year of training and competing in 2010 after suffering a long bout of mononucleosis.
This year he is back healthy but has had varying results.
After finishing in the pack at World Cup races in Quebec and in new York, Guthrie was fourth in the Under-23 at the Canadian National Championships in Canmore. He then followed that up with what he called the biggest win of his career, placing first in the pro men’s division at the final Canada Cup race in Edmonton.
“Everything fell together; it was one of those days,” he said of the Edmonton Canada Cup. “I was pretty excited.”
Following the Canada Cup Guthrie returned to the Okanagan to begin preparations for the World Championships. The Switzerland event will close out his mountain bike season, one that Guthrie says was pretty good, after losing much of last season to illness.
“I’m definitely satisfied,” he said. “At this point I’m not absolutely thrilled. It’s tough because you have big expectations. But getting over last year I’m excited to be back riding. I lost a years worth of training and fitness but I’m hoping to start a nice curve over the next couple years and keep climbing to the next level.”
Following the World Championships Guthrie will return home and jump to another riding sport as he takes up the sport of cyclo cross where he has also found success.
Despite varying results Guthrie continues to enjoy his sport and is taking it all in as he continues to travel and ride and meet new people.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “There has been more travel than I ever thought I would do as a young person. You never want to take it for granted because you never know when it can end.”