Canadian mountain bikers had big success at Crankworx: meet the mechanic supporting them
3 athletes on Rocky Mountain Urge BP Rally Team had top 5 finishes in event
Two Canadian mountain bikers are finding major success on the international circuit, and for the North Vancouver mechanic who keeps their equipment in top shape, it's been one heck of a ride.
Jeff Bryson is the head mechanic for Rocky Mountain Urge BP Rally Team which saw three of its athletes have big days at the Crankworx event in Whistler this weekend.
"This past weekend, for myself, having to keep calm in certain situations … and just trying to keep on their page is emotional," he told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot."
"For them, they're into it with way more than I am. They want to win just as bad. They're trying just as hard."
At Crankworx, an event in the Enduro World Series of mountain bike racing, the men's team — for which Bryson serves as a mechanic — earned a fifth place showing from Remi Gauvin.
Whistler's own Jesse Melamed took home first place.
The Rocky Mountain's women's team got a top-five finish from Canadian Andréane Lanthier Nadeau.
Races take a toll on bikes
Enduro World series events like Crankworx consist of alternating uphill and downhill races that see cyclists fly over obstacles like jumps, tree roots, boulders and more.
Predictably, those obstacles can do a number on cyclists' rides, which is where Bryson comes in.
"[The races] take place, sometimes, over two days, and the ups and downs over those two days can be quite high, and then all of a sudden quite low, especially if there's a crash, or injury or bike malfunction, God forbid," he said.
"A lot of planning goes into it beforehand, making sure I have the right tools, the right supplies, the right parts, the right connections with people who can help me."
Bryson says with tensions high among his athletes, he has to be a stabilizing force and keep his emotions in check, which isn't always easy.
Listen to the full interview:
Former racer himself
As a former mountain bike competitor himself, Bryson may understand the pressure his athletes are under better than most.
"A huge part of this is the personability behind the mechanic, getting along with the riders, understanding that side of it," he said.
And in an odd twist of fate, he once raced frequently against Gauvin.
"He used to put me in my place."
Crankworx was the seventh of eight events in the 2017 Enduro season. The final event is Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 in Finale Ligure, Italy.
After Crankworx, Melamed is the highest-seeded Rocky Mountain athlete, fifth in Enduro's men's division.
With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast