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Meet Gracey Hemstreet: Canada’s first junior women’s World Cup winner

Catching up with the speedy Sunshine Coast rider after her gold in Lourdes

Gracey Hemstreet Lourdes World Cup Photo by: Andy Vathis / Norco Bicycles

When Gracey Hemstreet crossed the line in Lourdes, France at the 2022 World Cup season opener, she became Canada’s first junior woman to win a World Cup. So, who is this young racer from B.C.’s Sunshine Coast?

Hemstreet stormed onto the scene in 2021 when, even though she missed half the season due to injury, she landed every spot on the World Cup podium except gold. This included an incredible third-place finish in the junior women’s downhill at the 2021 world championships in Val di Sole, Italy. Off the strength of those results, she was signed to Norco Factory Team for 2022.

Before her World Cup debut, Hemstreet grew up riding the Coast Gravity Park, a year-round bike park above Sechelt, and racing around B.C.

Gracey Hemstreet Lourdes World Cup
Gracey Hemstreet on the top step in Lourdes, France. Photo: Andy Vathis / Norco Bicycles
Canadian MTB: First off, congrats on your win. How did the weekend go for you?

Gracey Hemstreet: It was went smooth. We didn’t get many laps so practice was a little stressful, but not really. I got all my lines, it was good.

How did your actual race run go?

It was really good. I changed a line right before my race run, like the practice run before. My race run was pretty perfect. I did everything I wanted to, so it was good.

After hitting every other spot on the podium last year, how did it feel to get this first win?

It felt insane. It didn’t really hit me until that night. I guess I was just in shock, but it’s so cool.

How does it feel a few days later?

Um, I don’t know. It kinda just makes me want more.

It was a big season for Canada too. Did change your win having Finn Iles and Jackson Goldstone on the podium, too?

I felt it made it more special. We all did so well, and we’re all from the same area.

Gracey Hemstreet Lourdes World Cup
Sending the final drop towards the Lourdes finish line, and victory. Photo: Andy Vathis / Norco Bicycles
Does this win change how you approach your season now? Is there any more pressure now?

I’m not going to change anything. Just keep at my regular schedule and go for it.

What have you been up to since then win?

I’ve been on my bike everyday. I’m in the gym four times a week. just riding and having fun.

Last year, you were racing with support of Commencal Canada basically as a privateer. How was your first race as part of a full factory team?

It’s way better, it’s crazy. My bike is dialed 100 per cent of the time. Thanks to Lewis, my mechanic. It’s great.

You had impressive results last year. Is there anything you changed to your training over the winter after seeing the World Cup pace that helped to get this win?

I was just on my bike a lot more and riding downhill tracks. And obviously the new bike, just getting used to the Range.

World Cup downhill racing resumes on May 21-22 at Fort William, Scotland. Until then, here’s  throwback to Hemstreet riding her local trails at Coast Gravity Park when she was just 16 years old.