July 17, 2014 (Oro-Medonte, ON) – The best mountain bikers in the Americas will be chasing down gold as they fly down the Boneshaker, go on a Coffee Run and do the Grunt Climb at Hardwood Ski and Bike in the summer of 2015.
Known at Games time as Hardwood Mountain Bike Park, the venue will test 45 top male and female riders competing at the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games with a brand-new, adrenalin-pumping race course currently under construction.
The run features a challenging mix of uphill and downhill terrain along with highly technical sections, such as a white-knuckle rocky descent known as the Boneshaker. Over its four- to five-kilometre length, riders will tackle new and existing features such as Sidewinder, Sydor Slider, JP’s Nemesis, Big Z and Doug’s Hill.
“For more than three decades, Canada’s best mountain bikers have tested their mettle at Hardwood Ski and Bike,” said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015). “In 2015, the facility and Oro-Medonte will make their international Games debut when the best riders in the region are crowned Pan Am champions here.”
Mountain biking made its Pan American Games debut in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1995. Since then, Canada has earned seven medals in the sport, including three gold. Only the BMX events are newer to the Pan Am cycling program, which has been part of the sport schedule since 1951.
At the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games, Canada’s Max Plaxton won silver, while Amanda Sin of Collingwood, ON, captured bronze. Canada’s last gold was won by Catharine Pendrel at the Rio 2007 Pan Am Games. All medallists are still competing on the world stage.
“I’m looking forward to competing here at home in front of my friends and family and this time taking gold at the Pan Am Games!” said Trenton, Ontario’s Derek Zandstra, the current Canadian mountain bike cross-country champion and World Cup racer vying for a spot on the Pan Am Games and Olympic Games mountain bike team. “It means a lot to homegrown riders like me. We can’t wait to hit the trails and race against the best the Americas and Caribbean have to offer.”
The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), added: “Canada is always a serious medal contender in mountain biking at the Pan Am Games, and we look forward to seeing our athletes excel on home soil next summer. Our Government is a proud supporter of the Games, and our investment will result in lasting legacies for Canadian athletes for many years to come.”
As the sole Ontario facility with a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)-rated race course, Hardwood Ski and Bike has previously hosted Canada Cup and Ontario Cup events, as well as national championships.
>From today to July 20, the venue will also host the 2014 Canadian XCO/XCE Mountain Bike Championships, one of 40-plus national and international sport test events the Organizing Committee is bringing to Ontario over the next 12 months. The competition will feature some of Canada’s best in the sport as well as riders from every level, with ages ranging from five to 60.
“Hosting the 2015 Games will bring long-lasting benefits to all in Ontario,” said Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games. “Not only will athletes have the opportunity to compete at the highest level of their sport on home soil, future generations of athletes will also enjoy world-class facilities like the Hardwood Mountain Bike Park.”
Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes added: “We are pleased that the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee has recognized Hardwood Ski and Bike as a world-class mountain biking venue. Our township has a deep connection with mountain biking and has long been a big supporter of our Canadian athletes. We look forward to celebrating these athletes from the moment they arrive here to compete to when they step on the podium.”
In order for mountain bikers to compete at their best, the Games will have satellite accommodation for athletes, located nearby at Horseshoe Valley Resort in Barrie. This village is in addition to the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletes’ Village, located in downtown Toronto.