2021 was a big year for mountain biking in Canada and for Canadians mountain biking around the world. After a year of disruption, domestic racing started to return. Internationally, Canadian riders had more opportunities to race and took full advantage. This year’s best moments mix race results and other milestones.
With so much going on in 12 months, we’re breaking this down into four parts. In week one, we cover downhill, Olympic cross country, women’s freeride and a little racing here at home.
Top 21 Canadian mountain bike moments of 2021: Part 1
Jackson Goldstone’s world championship season
Jackson Goldstone’s debut World Cup season was simply stunning. While the Squamish phenom is already a decade into mountain bike stardom, his 2021 race results were incredible. Junior national champion, then World Cup wins and podiums all summer. All capped off with a junior downhill world championship title at Val di Sole in August. Goldstone is the first Canadian to earn that title since Finn Iles in 2016, coincidentally also in Val di Sole. Italy seems to be a good omen for young Canucks.
Long Live Chainsaw released
Steve Smith remains an icon and influential figure in Canadian mountain biking, even five years after his untimely passing at age 26. Anthill Film’s first documentary, Long Live Chainsaw tells the full, untold story of Smith’s life on, and off the racecourse. The incredible 90-minute film is emotionally gripping and inspiring in equal parts. Grab some tissues and go see this now. (Long Live Chainsaw is touring, and also available to buy and watch at home)
RELATED: The making of Long Live Chainsaw
Casey Brown’s Darkhorse Sessions
Revelstoke, B.C.’s freeride pioneer Casey Brown put together the inaugural Darkhorse Sessions, a women’s freeride session. Held on a massive, purpose-built course at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the event brought together different generations of female riders from Canada and abroad, some as young as 12 years old for a progression session. The results were inspiring and the future of the women’s freeride movement is bright.
Tokyo Olympic Games go ahead as (re)scheduled
The Olympic Games are the pinnacle of cross country mountain bike racing. A chance, once every four years, for cycling to be broadcast to a broader audience as the best racers in the world battle for victory on the Olympic stage. And, for a while, it looked like it might not happen. After being postponed from 2020, the rescheduled 2021 date was in serious doubt. The Games did go ahead, on an excellent course, allowing three Canadians to race. Catharine Pendrel, in her final Olympic appearance, and Haley Smith and Peter Disera in their Olympic debut.
Racing returns to Canada
After a year largely on the sidelines, Canadian riders of all levels were back at the races across the country this summer. In everything from Canada Cup downhill to local cross country and marathon races, this country’s mountain bike community was able to gather once again and ride together. A huge thank you to all the organizers that worked harder than ever – often trying to navigate moving goalposts of provincial health regulations – to make these events happen!