When South Surrey track cyclist Jamie Shankland headed to Victoria on the Labour Day long weekend, it was far from a leisurely trip to the provincial capital.
In fact, with four races in three days, Shankland’s weekend was one of the most grueling of his summer.
Shankland was in Victoria for track cycling provincials, and though he came home with a handful of medals, it was far from easy.
On the first day of the competition, he and two teammates, brothers Eric and Scott Mulder, won gold in the team sprint competition, winning the one-km race – in which each rider races one third of the distance – by 7.5 seconds.
“We absolutely smashed it,” Shankland said.
The following day, Shankland picked up a silver medal in the spring tournament – a grueling series of two-lap (each lap is 333 m) races. He insists he could have taken first place, if it wasn’t for a mental mistake on his part.
“I made a bit of a judgement error – I was in the wrong gear, and it slowed me down,” he said.
After so many races in just two days, Shankland said he was running out of energy by the third and final day of the competition – “I was definitely feeling the fatigue,” he said – but he still had enough power left in his legs to end up on the podium twice more.
In the two-km long keirin, a six- to eight-man race in which cyclists are led for the first 1,400-m by a pace motorcycle, Shankland avoid a near-catastrophe to finish second.
“After you get pulled around by the (motorcycle), you’re rolling at 50 kilometres an hour, and eventually everyone goes out and it turns into a six-man mess,” he said. “It can be a bit of an anxiety attack.”
Partway through the race, Shankland went to pass one cyclist, who didn’t see him and instead plowed right into Shankland’s bike, sending him right off the course.
Shankland was able to recover, however, and battled back to finish with silver – just one centimetre behind the rider that knocked him.
“Bit of a close call – I’m lucky I didn’t end up with my ass on the concrete, but it still sucks crossing the line that close to someone,” he said.
Shankland won his final provincial race, taking gold in the 1,000 m kilo – his signature event.
“I was tired, so I used it more to experiment with different gears, and to test my conditioning, he said. “But it was still nice that I was able to win.”
Shankland, who works at Velocity Cycles in Langley, is currently taking a bit of a competitive break while he ponders his next move.
A rider with Team BC, he’s sorting out some sponsorships and, once settled, will likely spend the fall and winter months training in either Los Angeles or Australia.