Mount Prevost may be on the verge of becoming a world-renowned centre for mountain biking.
The Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society and its hundreds of volunteers are focusing their energies this year on creating 10 sanctioned and highly competitive downhill mountain bike trails on Mt. Prevost that are expected to pique the interest of the global mountain biking community.
Rick Martinson, president for the society that oversees trail operations on Mt. Prevost, Mt. Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain, told North Cowichan council at its meeting on Aug. 17 that, along with other mountain biking projects taking place in nearby communities, Vancouver Island could become the destination for mountain biking for all of North America.
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Martinson said he had only come to realize how special Mt. Prevost is to the global mountain biking community over the last year.
He said it’s the mountain that Canada’s most famous mountain biker, Nanaimo’s Steve “Chainsaw” Smith, did all his training on as a youth, and where World Cup rider and Maple Bay resident Mark Wallace learned to ride.
“Last month, 40,000 spectators watched Wallace race down a mountain in France while television commentators talked non-stop about Mt. Prevost,” Martinson said.
“The commentators came here last year and Wallace took them on Mt. Prevost’s trails and they had nothing but fantastic things to say about them. It’s a bit of an eye-opener about how special this mountain is considered all around the world.”
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Martinson said during the spring, mountain biking teams from Whistler came to Mt. Prevost and spent several days training on the mountain’s trails in preparation for the upcoming World Cup races that were held in Europe.
He said the society wants to get 10 sanctioned trails on the mountain completed before the end of the year and have them ready to go.
“We believe this will bring a lot of attention to the mountain because the trails’ high standards will be known across the world’s mountain-biking community,” Martinson said.
“We think Cycling Canada will probably take an interest and get involved, and our far-off dream is that Cycling Canada will move their headquarters here from Whistler. As well as the great trails, people can mountain bike here all year round. This initiative could provide great economic development opportunities for North Cowichan and the Cowichan Valley.”