Sunday, October 1, 2023
October 1, 2023

Local youth hits racing trails


Local student Sam Dinsdale is representing Salt Spring at Vancouver Island’s 2019 Island Cup Mountain Bike Race Series.

The 11-year-old, grade 6 student is signed up to race in several Enduro races, including Nanaimo, Mount Tzouhalem, Cobble Hill, Hornby Island, Maple Mountain and more.

Enduro is a form of mountain bike racing that involves getting to the top of a mountain or trail, then timing the descent to the bottom. In general, modern enduro races involve anywhere from three to six timed stages. The timed portions of the race are mostly downhill but can vary in steepness, length and difficulty depending on location.

Sam is getting to test his skills on the race circuit thanks to a sponsorship from Salt Spring’s Outspokin’ Bike Shop. Owner Sean Mulligan heard the young rider was racing and wanted to support him.

“Sam came into the shop for service on a bike that really was not going to help him excel in his sport. it was very heavy, with low grade parts,” Mulligan explained. “We know Sam well, and know that he is a complete bike nerd and a dedicated rider who could go pro one day with dedication and support from shops and brands. I thought it would be cool to get Sam a bike that would help him perform to the best of his abilities.”

On May 15, Sam got his new Norco Fluid FS 26 — a high end bike for youth. In return he will become a youth ambassador for the local business.

“He was shaking like a dog waiting for a treat … could barely contain his excitement. We were stoked to help him out,” Mulligan said.

Sam first started biking when he was five.  

“When I first started riding there were lots of tears. It took me a while to learn how to ride. But once I got it I loved it,” he said. “Mountain biking is super fun, there is a great sense of reward when I climb a steep hill and finally get it, or land a jump that challenges my fears a bit.”  

Mountain biking, though very popular on Vancouver Island in places like Comox, Duncan and Parksville, has fewer participants on Salt Spring. Insiders say the trend is changing, though.

“A lot of my friends are starting to ride,” Sam said. “But we need some trails.”

“We get mountain bikers in the shop every day in the summer asking where they can ride … and really there is nowhere for them to go,” Mulligan confirmed. “Most visitors find this shocking as they come from communities that have completely embraced mountain biking. So, many will end up riding in places where they shouldn’t, such as the Maxwell watershed and Mount Erskine.” 

Salt Spring biking enthusiasts would like to have some actual demo trails developed on the island, where kids and families can go and get some good fun exercise out in the woods. They want to get kids off the screens and onto trails.

Asked about his strategy for his next race, Sam said: “I don’t care how I place. I just want to have fun.”

That’s the right attitude, Mulligan said.

“Just have fun; the skills and results will follow.” 


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