We are trying to something a little new with my column. While I will continue to explore a variety of timely and interesting topics, every couple of weeks I will talk to Canadians who ride bikes to gain further, varying perspectives from other cyclists of different levels of racing and involvement in the Canadian cycling community. To begin, I’ve interviewed up-and-comer Riley Pickrell of Victoria who will be racing alongside (ahead of) me on Trek Red Truck Racing this year. In 2018, he won three stages of the Tour d’Abitibi.
Oliver Evans: How old are you?
Riley Pickrell: I am 17 years old, I think.
How long have you been racing?
I’ve been racing track and road for about four years now with a single year attempt at cyclocross before moving back to the higher speed pelotons.
What’s your favourite discipline?
I am torn between road and track. I think it really depends on whichever discipline I’m racing next and the quality of the field. Hard racing is fun racing and both disciplines can be difficult.
Where are you right now?
I am currently attending a warm-weather camp in Oxnard, California.
Even though Victoria is one of nicest places to ride during a Canadian winter, California has been over 20 degrees for the majority of the camp. The 20 to 50 minute climbs here are hard to replicate back home.
Who is your coach?
I am coached by Richard Wooles. Who is a fantastic coach but also a massive supporter of me and cycling in Canada.
Why did you decide to apply to race for Red Truck?
Red Truck has been a very clear launch pad for a lot of B.C. juniors. They have a great program and support school and a life outside of cycling while still moving athletes onto the next level consistently. They were the next logical step for me.
What, if anything, do you feel has been missing in terms of support as you’ve developed as a cyclist?
I have a really good support system around me. My family and friends, teammates, school, coach, sponsors and the cycling community in general all do their part to help me along. With so many people behind me, I really feel I am well supported.
Other than cycling, what do you do to find balance?
I do my best to have other hobbies outside of cycling to ensure that I have another hobby to fall back on if my cycling isn’t going as well as I’d like. I can always escape to another hobby such as baking (which is why I’m not a climber), painting bikes, playing board games with friends, or hiking and climbing if I can fit other physical activities into my training plan.
What’s one of the hardest lessons you’ve had to learn as a cyclist?
It can be really easy to chalk up a result or a situation to be out of your control, like getting caught up in a crash or being caught out in a crosswind. Sometimes it isn’t your fault but accepting the partial or complete responsibility for those situations has really helped me correct my mistakes.
Any tips for other young, ambitious cyclists?
Enjoy riding, training and racing as much as you can. Training isn’t always fun, but it can be enjoyable. Find ways to make training as enjoyable as possible. For example, while I’ve been training down in California I have been strapping a speaker to my bars like a bar bag. That way I can listen to music while still being able to hear traffic.
What are your goals for this season?
I’d like to do well at BC Superweek, Tour de l’Abitibi, and junior world’s, as well as the stage races in the Pacific Northwest during the early season.
Where would you like cycling to take you?
I would like to make a career in cycling, win some big bike races and enjoy riding my bike as a professional.
Will you be nice to me this year and not drop me too often?
I think we can come to a, “do not drop each other” agreement with a little negotiation for some lead-outs.
Who’s your favourite teammate named Oliver?
Well, within the very specific parameters, I’d have to say Oliver Evans will have to do.
Thanks to Riley for touching base from the warmth of Oxnard while it snows here in Victoria. Now you know who his favourite teammate named Oliver is. Keep an eye and an ear out this season as this kid really knows how to ride a bike. I’ll be gossiping lots about him.
Oliver Evans 20-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, currently living in Victoria. In 2019, he will race with Trek Red Truck Racing.