Portage's own Soren Weselake is riding his way to Niagara, Ontario. The Grade 12 student at Westpark School is representing Team Manitoba's cycling team in three separate events at the Canada Summer Games.
Weselake says this event had been on his radar all year and notes he was ecstatic when he found out he qualified. He says a local organization is the main reason why he became so passionate about the sport.
"It was a pretty local thing for me. The Portage Junk Yard Dogs club got my parents into it, and they got me into it. So, the town got me really into it."
Weselake has been racing for nearly a decade but adds he has only been competitive for about four years. He talks about what things will look like for him at the Canada Summer Games.
"It's about a four-kilometre course. So, we'll probably do five or six laps of it. It's over rocks, roots, and through the trees," Weselake continues. "That's just one of the events. They also have cross country eliminator, which is new to me. For that, you're on a course that lasts about a minute, and you race against three other people. The top two advance to the next round. They also have a team relay."
The Portager says he's extremely excited to have three opportunities to get a gold medal and adds he will have at least a day in between each event to rest up and refuel.
The cyclist has been training for the better part of a year for the games and adds it can be tougher for Manitobans to get ready for events like this. He outlines some of the challenges presented for bikers in this province.
"There's a lot of cold and dark days. I like to ride either in the early morning or late at night, and in the winter, that can be in -40 weather. Otherwise, it's suffering on an indoor bike."
Since qualifying for Team Manitoba, Weselake has been trying his best not to overtrain.
"You can't really do anything wrong at this stage because the work is all done until the event starts," Weselake explains. "It's just about making sure you don't do too much now and go overboard. I've been tapering pretty well for these races so I can do my absolute best in them."
Weselake will compete in his first event on Monday, August 8 and says he's ready for all the challenges that may come his way.