by Oliver Evans

Oliver Evans crashing
Oliver Evans taking a tumble at 2017 Cross on the Rock. Photo: Brianna Brandon

How common is crashing?

Katherine Trudel, Victoria

It would be easier to count the races in which I haven’t crashed than to count the ones that I have.

That’s a lie. I don’t want my reputation for crashing to be worse than it already is.

The reality is that crashing is a part of racing. The more you race, the more likely you are to get caught up in a crash. Last year I raced on the road for three months. I had two crashes in races. I also crashed twice in training this winter. I crash approximately 27 times every time I race ‘cross, but those are more so classified as falls and don’t actually count.

There’s generally at least one crash per race on the road. More depending on how technical the course is, how aggressive the racing is, or what the weather is like. Depending on where you’re positioned, you might get caught up in one.

Typically, crashing is much more common in racing than in training (one would hope). Both crashes I had during training were due to unexpected patches of ice or mud on a corner.

It’s part of the sport. That’s the bottom line. You’re going to crash if you’re going to race.

Do you ever ride to Sooke or over the Malahat on Vancouver Island?

Chris Ashley, Winnipeg

Yes! But to get to Sooke you have to either ride on the highway or the gravel Galloping Goose trail. I don’t like the highway in the winter and I’ll only do the Goose so many times in a given period of time. So Sooke generally waits for me until summer. I love riding out past Sooke and to Otter Point, Shirley Delicious or Jordan River and beyond.

The Malahat is horrendous in the winter. Dirty, snowy, under construction and very dangerous. I avoid it until summer and autumn. However, now that the Great Trail is open, you can get up to Goldstream Heights and Shawnigan lake on a gravel bike path and closed watershed roads. No traffic! It’s one of my absolute favourite rides now. The Malahat used to be the only way to get there.

Best road on Vancouver Island?

Ethan Glenwright, Victoria

I have so much of the island to still explore and have really only ridden on a very small portion. That said, I’m always discovering new roads, and I love them all.

I’m not going to pick one. Here are my top five:

  • Rocky Point out to East Sooke
  • Munn and Ross Durrance
  • Up Liberty then up to the top of La Bonne
  • Lindholm
  • Highland Road from the Goose, to and through the gravel section to connect to Munn.

I also love riding from downtown along the water all the way to and through Ten Mile Point via all of the little dirt connectors. It never gets old. Never.

The island has so much to offer. I don’t know the name of 90 per cent of the roads I ride. I also discover a new one almost every time I ride. Some are only a few hundred metres long and lead to a trail to connect two roads I already know. There’s so much to explore. If you’re open to gravel and a little bit of dirt, otherwise boring roads can become pretty exciting!

If you’re ever curious where I’m riding check out my Strava.

Oliver Evans is a 19-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, who is currently based in Victoria. He races on the road with H&R Block Pro Cycling.

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