Young North Saanich cyclist has eyes on high-level competition

A day doesn’t go by right now, when Megan Barnes isn’t riding her bike or working on ways to ride better, or faster.

North Saanich’s Megan Barnes is working hard to achieve her cycling goals as she enters a new level of competitive racing this year.

A day doesn’t go by right now, when Megan Barnes isn’t riding her bike or working on ways to ride better, or faster.

The North Saanich teen has her eyes on some of the highest levels of cycling in Canada and the world and she’s fully aware of the amount of work she’s going to have to put in.

Barnes, 14, got into cycling four years ago and is currently training with the Tripleshot Cycling Club’s youth team in Victoria. She has moved into a group of high-performance riders and is being introduced to a new training regimen. Her typical week consists of workouts, cycling, leg speed training and even some relaxed spin training.

“This is something for people who are planning on going to the next level,” she said, “or training for big events coming up.”

Last year, Barnes competed at the Under 15 level. She had some excellent results in last summer’s provincial junior road and cross cycling events, earning two second place finishes in the trials and criterium and a first place in the road event. This year, she moves up a level to U17, where she knows she will be challenged by older, faster riders.

That’s only a small sample of her accomplishments as a relatively new cyclist. Yet, said parents Darrell and Sherry, Megan has been an athlete most of her life.

Megan herself said that after trying soccer, baseball and other activities, she gave cycling a try and immediately liked the community of riders around her.

“I did a little bit of everything,” she said. “I’m a pretty active kid.”

When she began cycling at a competitive level (she still enjoys riding bikes with her family during her down time), Megan said she found great attitudes among other riders, coaches and adult family members. It made for a supportive environment where she is able to learn team tactics, training techniques and more — without feeling too much pressure. She credits her friend and Tripleshot teammate Erin Attwell for being her mentor and a great example to follow. Attwell, from Saanich, attends the same school Barnes does, and was one of four junior women named by Cycling Canada for the 2016 Road Cycling World Championships in Doha, Qatar last October.

“Cycling isn’t just about conditioning and training,” Megan said, “it’s about the people, your family going along with you.”

Megan’s mom Sherry is active with the Victoria Cycle Club (she’s the treasurer) and says cycling has become an activity for the entire family. Dad Darrell added they all do a lot of work — and driving — to help Megan get to her training and competitions.

For Megan, however, her goals look far beyond recreational cycling.

She’s hoping to further her education in the sport — and in athletics in general — in the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence (PISE) Ignite Athlete Development program. She has to apply for that, and keep her grades up.

In the meantime, she trains twice a day and has her sights set on reaching the Olympics one day.

“It’s a long ways away, but it’s something I can get to.”

Coming up this year for Megan are a variety of cycling competitions, including a return to the provincial championships at the velodrome at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre Aug. 18 to 20 — and the junior nationals in cycling later this year.

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