Portage la Prairie's own Soren Weselake is proud of his performance at the 2022 Canada Summer Games. The cyclist competed in three separate events in Niagara, Ontario, two individual races as well as a relay.
While he was unable to reach the podium, Weselake is very happy with the effort he put forth.
"The first thing that I noted was, I've been racing across the country doing Canada Cups, and those events are usually with kids under 19, but this Canada Games was under 21. So, it was a bit of an older category I was competing in," Weselake explains. "It was very cool to see the level of competition and see where I'm at compared to that."
The local biker was satisfied with his placement of 10th in the race he was most looking forward to, the cross country event, but he had a few obstacles to overcome during the 30-kilometre trek.
"I was having a good race for the first couple of laps, and then on one of them, I crashed, and I broke my break, so I had to do the last few laps with only one of my two breaks working. To do that, and still have a decent finish, I was very happy."
He says when one of the brakes is blown it's very hard to get traction, especially when the weather isn't cooperating.
"It was a five-lap race, and for the first two laps, it was so rainy that you couldn't ride up most of the hills. Some kids actually put spikes on the bottom of their shoes, so when they hopped off their bikes, they had traction to run up the hills. The sun came out for the last three laps, and the brake affected me a little less then because I could trust my tires around corners. I think I was 30 or 40 seconds off of 6th place, so I think if I hadn't had the brake blow up on me, I could've done a little better."
Weselake notes, despite finishing tenth overall, he placed sixth among his usual age group of cyclists under 19, and he says that would be his best finish yet.
The Grade 12 student at Westpark School says he will definitely be adding spikes to his shoes at the next national event he takes part in. Weselake outlines what else he will do differently going forward.
"Train a little harder. I've already started training for next year, whereas I usually would start in November. So, I'm hopefully going to be pretty fast next year," Weselake continues. "Next year, I hope to qualify for the World Championship. You get selected by the big organization that runs all the races in Canada. That's the goal right now."
Weselake says he is waiting to see what next season has in store for him but adds he is very grateful for the learning experience that was the 2022 Canada Summer Games.