Heading into the final race of his competitive season, Peachland mountain biker Evan Guthrie took a different approach.
He put no pressure on himself, no expectations and no stress as he entered the Canadian Cyclo-Cross Championships, held in Vancouver late last month.
And he had a great result, finishing in second place in the event, his first podium finish at the cyclo cross nationals since 2009 and one of his best results of the season.
Guthrie says it may have been that lack of expectations that led to such a great result and something he’d like to transfer over to the competitive mountain bike season when it gets going early next year.
“I definitely need to transfer that to the mountain bike,” said Guthrie this week. “I usually have a pretty good mindset but you do put a lot of pressure on yourself. I did everything different than what I normally would do and I came out faster. I need to transfer that over. Too much stress and too much in your head doesn’t always help.”
Guthrie will be heading into his final season as an Under-23 cyclist next season. After racing internationally on Team Canada projects for the past four years, the 22-year-old now will be looking to end his U-23 career on a positive note and set the stage for his senior career.
And he plans to go into the year with his new philosophy in tow.
“I’ll try not to put too much pressure on myself but it’s a very important year,” he said. ‘It’s going to be another year of racing but it will be my last year at U-23 so you are able to put all your knowledge over the years together and put in a good season.”
Guthrie is amongst a solid crew of young mountain bikers in Canada who will be challenging over the next three years to gain a spot in the 2016 Olympics. He knows he is at a cross-roads where many amateur athletes choose to move on to school or work and give up the Olympic dream. But Guthrie says he is committed to his sport and his dream.
“Now is the point in a lot of people’s careers where it’s make or break,” he said. “It comes down to financial issues. That’s the barrier we have in Canada. Things are getting stronger with our sport and with the Own the Podium program but a lot of people pull the plug and hang them up. But now is when the hard work pays off. Hard work, passion and desire to do something is what makes the difference.”
Guthrie plans to compete in most of the Canada Cup mountain bike series next year and depending on results, may compete at World Cups with Team Canada.
His season begins in the spring.