A man hailed as the “heart of mountain biking” in Fernie is on track to compete in the Western Hemisphere’s largest mountain biking stage race.
Johnny Shaw has been shortlisted for the Kazlaw Deserving Rider Award, which gives one cyclist free entry to the 8th annual BC Bike Race in recognition of their contribution to the sport.
The seven-day stage race from North Vancouver to Squamish will be held from July 6-13 and is described as the “ultimate single track experience”.
Shaw has worked tirelessly to promote mountain biking in Fernie through his involvement in the Fernie Trails Alliance and Mountain Bike Club, as well as trail maintenance and youth work.
“Johnny’s the guy you call when the event you’re hosting is coming up and a tree has fallen or you’re worried about one section. He’s the guy who already thought about it, fixed the issue and any others you didn’t notice, is there the day of to participate, and of course to lend a hand where he can before or after competing,” wrote Fernie Trails Alliance board member Krista Turcasso in nominating Johnny for the award.
The nomination caught Shaw completely by surprise.
“It’s super flattering,” he said.
“I’ve put a lot of time into the bike community for sure.
“I got the men’s night on Thursday going quite a few years ago and I’ve been a big part of the trail maintenance community for several years now.
“I also have been really involved in getting kids cycling, doing Little Critters races and lots of kids events for the bike club as well as coaching youth cycling at the College of the Rockies.”
Shaw’s passion for mountain biking doesn’t stop at home.
Last year, he took his then 10-year-old son Wes to Banff where they cycled the nearly-completed Trans Canada Trail to Fernie over five days in a completely self-supported ride.
“I just love to cycle and I love being outside and I like the idea of there being trails for everybody, all that really hard and challenging stuff as well as stuff I can take my young kids on and teach kids how to ride, and get people involved,” he said.
“We have a pretty special thing here in Fernie with all the trails and I think that we need to take of what we’ve got.
“That’s why I’m really big on trail maintenance, the idea of keeping things maintained, keeping things sustainable, being environmentally sensitive with trails and making sure they stand the test of time.
“We’re getting lots of traffic on our trails now, so we need to keep Fernie awesome.”
Voting closes at 1:00 p.m. local time on March 6 with the winner to be announced on March 8.
To vote for Johnny, visit Bcbikerace.com/kazlaw-contest-jonny-shaw-fernie/.