Comox Valley trails are a breeding ground for international calibre mountain biking talent.
Hornby Islander Geoff Kabush helped pave the way. This well-decorated competitor is a three-time Olympian, has tallied up 15 Canadian national titles, stood on World Cup podiums multiple times, and is a 2-time winner of the 7-day BC Bike Race.
He’s also a strong advocate for clean sport and helped launch the “Race Clean, Own Your Victory” initiative with Cycling Canada.
Other locals like Leon May made a big splash in the earlier days of the downhill racing scene.
In recent years, a new crop of young racers has been putting the Comox Valley on the world mountain biking map.
Nineteen-year-old Emmy Lan started riding mountain bikes on the Cumberland trails at age seven. Last year, she took top honours in the Under-21 Enduro World Series. Lan, who races for Cumberland-based brand Forbidden Bike Co., is now two races into the 2023 enduro season and sits comfortably in the second spot.
“A big part of my success is being able to ride Cumberland trails and have other riders to look up to,” Lan says, referring to athletes like Carter Woods and Emilly Johnston.
Woods, 22, is a Cumberland-raised cross-country racing phenom and current Canadian National CX champion. He currently rides for the Giant Factory team and has seven World Cup podiums to his credit, including three first-place finishes.
Johnston is a cyclocross and cross-country crusher who cut her teeth on the Cumberland trails. She recently signed with the Trek Future Racing team and took third in a recent Under 23 World Cup race in Nove Mesto, Czechia. It’s her first World Cup podium finish.