Fernie local Joy Attalla placed first in the U17 Women Canadian Downhill Championships at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden on Sunday (July 25).
Attalla only started her racing career last week in Fernie where she came first in a downhill race before placing fourth at another race at Panorama.
“It feels amazing,” said Attalla. “It’s awesome to share the experience with all the people that have helped me throughout the way.”
With the Sunday win, the Fernie teen won the national championship, beating second place by 17 seconds, on a borrowed downhill bike instead of her own trail bike which she rode in the first two races.
“I’m really thankful that my bike mechanic lent me his bike, because the course was pretty bumpy and it was a game changer being on a downhill bike,” said Attalla.
Speaking to The Free Press Attalla says she was pleased with her performance.
“I felt like I had a great run,” said Attalla. “The course had some technical bits and I just rode those clean and smooth and then on the sprints or the flat bits I would sprint and push as hard as I can in the spot that had lower risk.”
Attalla says going into her first races she just wanted to participate, and seeing others in the community race is what really got her into racing.
“I didn’t really have that many expectations for how I was going to do,” she said. “I knew I wanted to start racing, and it was awesome to have all the local races like the virtual Enduro and all of the Fernie Mountain Bike Club (FMBC) hosted events to get me going to start.”
She says riding on the course was not like riding in Fernie.
“It was pretty different compared to Fernie because there’s a lot of rock slab,” she said. “It was different terrain compared to the perfect dirt in Fernie.”
Attalla did compare parts of the course to the Project 9 trail in Fernie, a trail she says is one of her favourites.
Attalla says she’s grateful to the Fernie community for getting her where she is.
“I’d just like to thank everyone in Fernie that kind of took me under their wing and showed me the ropes of racing,” she said. “Especially in Fernie, everyone was just looking out for me and kind of showing me how everything worked and I couldn’t have done it without everyone.”
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