Canada is getting its first adaptive mountain bike race series in 2021. The Dunbar Summer Series will feature aMTB events at each stop.
This is huge for aMTB. Never before has adaptive featured in a race series, let alone integrated with a standing race series,” says Mike Riediger, Executive Director of Kootenay Adaptive Sports Organization (KASA). “For us the integration piece is the most exciting part, bringing adaptive riders into the greater community. Representation like this goes a long way to legitimize the sport.”
Race series re-scheduled and elevated
KASA’s been working hard for years to make the aMTB series a reality. Just as everything was coming together last year, it all almost fell apart. With the arrival of COVID, KASA had to cancel its inaugural race series. While the racing was put off for a year, Riediger says the crew was still very busy during last summer.
“Launching that by ourselves was the plan for 2020, but COVID really put a damper on things this year and we instead chose to have a closed event called the Gravity Series. This series hosted a group of riders as we worked with bike park staff and management to better integrate adaptive into their resorts. We also spent a great deal of time evaluating and pushing the sport so that we can further our coaching and riding curriculum.”
KASA and Dunbar Summer Series will bring aMTB to three events, including 2021 Canadian downhill national championships on July 25 at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. While the events are still months away and courses are yet to be finalized “the goal is to use as much of the standard course as possible,” says Riediger, with the aMTB course only diverging where absolutely necessary. “Having everyone come together on the same line, into the finish area is certainly top of mind though.”
While launching the first aMTB series integrated into an existing series is big, it’s not all KASA is up to. “We are working with First Nations to see which Truth and Reconciliation calls to action we can implement as an organization, as users of the land and to work with indigenous communities to bring more persons with disabilities in their communities out on trails,” says Riediger. “We are also working towards the UN 17 sustainable development goals, as an organization. And we recently launched a fundraiser! that aims to increase, equity and representation within the BIPOC community of adaptive riders and potential adaptive riders.”
2021 Dunbar Summer Series
Fernie Alpine Resort, B.C. – July 18
Panorama – July 21
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, B.C. (Canadian DH Nationals) – July 25