In his first year competing at the senior elite level, Evan Guthrie was determined to make his mark—to be a rider that his peers not only noticed but respected when he climbed aboard his mountain bike.
And based on his results in 2014, it’s safe to say the 23-year-old from Peachland doesn’t look a bit out of place alongside Canada’s best cross country racers.
Among the highlights during his rookie season of elite cross country racing was winning the Canada Cup Series overall title. He reached the podium in all four races against top-end competition.
“In a sport where so many things can go wrong, mechanical issues, things that can happen during the race, that was really positive for me to get on the podium every time,” said Guthrie. “I did consistently well in all the events, so that was big for me.”
After two somewhat underachieving seasons in the U23 category—by his own standards—Guthrie wanted his rookie season on the senior tour to mark a new and productive beginning.
Re-focused, with a new coach and bolstered attitude, Guthrie lived up to his own expectations.
“I wanted to make a splash, I didn’t want to do this just to be average, because I know I’m capable of competing at that level,” Guthrie said. “I thought I was back to my potential for the first time in years and if felt good. I made a coaching switch, we did some brainstorming and I came out ready to race. I still love doing it, so that’s half the battle right there.”
Another high point in the season came July 19 when Guthrie placed a solid fifth at the national championships in Hardwood Hills, Ont.
“I rode at the front for a lot of it and set the pace, and I think I surprised everyone with how aggressive I was,” said Guthrie. “To ride with guys who have been Olympians and have won World Cups was a nice confidence builder for me.”
Guthrie also rode for Canada at the world senior cross country championships in Norway and placed a respectable 48th out of 130 riders. As a late add to the national team, he only found out just over a week prior to the race that he would be competing.
“I would have liked a little more time to prepare, but it was a good experience,” he said. “I felt like I deserved to be there.”
While the cross country season is over, Guthrie will continue to hone his mountain biking skills this fall in Italy, as he competes in the Enduro World Series. He will also continue his studies in the business program at Okanagan College.
Then he’ll begin ramping up for his second season on the cross country circuit, which is slated to begin in the U.S. in February.
As for the ability to pursue the sport he loves with complete conviction and commitment, Guthrie said the journey wouldn’t be possible without the support of so many.
“I am thankful and always overwhelmed by the unbelievable support I receive,” Guthrie said. “I am able to pursue this passion with the help of Norco Bicycles, Granfondo Axel Merckx, Pro Source Irrigation Supply, Tree Brewing, Gorman Brothers Lumber, The Bike Barn, Okanagan Health and Performance and many private supporters.”