Tamatea Westby has poked his feet into the competitive waters of cycle racing over the last two years.
His entry into the 2017 Hayman Classic was part of him taking the full plunge. The Summerland resident, the only South Okanagan entry in the event, has done triathlons, BMX racing and skied with the Apex Ski Club. He made the difficult decision to make this past downhill ski season his last to concentrate on cycling.
“I really love skiing. I love cycling too. I feel like cycling is the way to go right now,” he said, after completing the third stage, which was a criterium race on Riverside Drive in Penticton. “I really love endurance. Getting a sweat going and getting my heart rate up.”
Westby, 15, said it will also take up less of his time, which he can spend with his family and focus on school.
Westby competed in the under-17 age group that was joined by under-19 riders and he said the race was fast.
“I have only had about six weeks of training, it’s pretty brutal,” he said. “This year is kind of just getting lots of experience. Getting to figure out how to race well. Next year I’m training throughout the winter and I will be fitter coming into the season. I will be more competitive.”
Westby acknowledged the cyclists he was shoulder-to-shoulder with pushed him to do better.
“It really gets you motivated, especially after you get the first couple of races of the season done,” he said. “You get really motivated to train.”
Part of his off-season plan is to train by cross-country skiing. He also rides a lot with his father Lloyd, who is nearly 60 and is an inspiration to him.
In the first stage, a hill climb, Westby finished one minute, 34.3 seconds behind the leader, who won in 20:39. At Area 27, he finished in 8:32.57 behind the leader, who clocked in at 2:02:17.43. Westby was unable to finish the fourth and final stage.