Peachland mountain biker Evan Guthrie has once again proven he is one of the top cross country mountain bikers of his age in Canada.
Now 21, Guthrie was the second fastest Canadian and placed fifth in the Under-23 category at the recent Pan American Mountain Bike Championships, held just outside of Mexico.
The result qualified him to join Team Canada for several World Cup races: Two in Europe in May and more in North America through the summer.
“It’s really exciting, this is something that I have been waiting for for awhile,” said Guthrie. “There was a lot of pressure but I was ready to perform. I really need to be in Europe for these World Cups to prove to everyone and to prove to myself that I can be there and race at the highest level.”
For Guthrie, it was a return to form after two years of inconsistent results thanks to a bout of mono that derailed his season in 2010. It cost him a year of training and affected his entire 2011 campaign as well.
But after a winter of training that included two months at high elevation in Park City, Utah, Guthrie served notice he is back amongst Canada’s top up and coming mountain bike riders.
“Our team coach said that was the best he’d seen me ride in two years,” said Guthrie. “It’s been a lot of hard work and it’s shown in my results. I think I’m a different athlete now.”
And one of those differences is Guthrie is trying to make the step to full-time athlete, not the easiest thing to do in a sport that is an Olympic sport but outside of Europe is not mainstream. Guthrie will spend about $15,000 in 2012 flying himself to Europe and back, to Montreal and back and all over the continent as he chases his dream of one day competing for Canada at the Olympics.
Part of that cost will be covered by his various sponsors but he will still pay thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to make it work.
Guthrie says as he matures, his focus changes.
“Now I’m at a point where it’s serious,” she said. “When you are young it’s fun but now it’s more serious. Trying to be a full-time athlete just makes you jump up a level or two. As you get older you start to figure out your body and what works for you.”
Guthrie is looking to add to his current sponsors which include Rocky Mountain Bikes and the Bike Barn. Like many athletes trying to make the Olympics, Guthrie needs to find financial support to try and make it happen.
But in this day and age it’s not easy.
“It would be great to be with a local Okanagan company,” he said. “I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing unless I could take it somewhere. I’m really confident and I have the desire to make it happen. I’m just trying to find the right fit with a sponsor. I would do everything in my power to make it worthwhile for them.”
So as Evan Guthrie continues to try to pedal to to the top of the Team Canada, he is also fighting the financial battles that Canadian athletes face as they pursue sports and represent their country.
Neither is easy, but will power and talent can go a long ways.
If you would like more information on Evan Guthrie you can e-mail him at email@example.com.