Teen cyclist goes from student to teacher
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | August 17, 2017|
Videos created by Nick Emsley
Nick Emsley was keeping up with Canadian marathon champion Cory Wallace for the first five kilometres of his Canadian Marathon Championship in Quebec last month.
The two weren’t in the same race, but during marathon events, all age groups start at the same place, same time.
It was exhilarating, Emsley told The Highlander.
“He’s an inspiration,” he said. “He’s one of the best marathon racers in the world.”
Wallace eventually left the competition behind - and finished second in his race category - while Emsley finished second place with a time of just under five hours.
The small town of East Hereford, Que. was a beautiful race venue, said the 18-year-old.
“If I had more time I would have showed up a week earlier, taken in the sights, rode a bit of the track ahead of time … but it was a great atmosphere and the residents were really nice.”
And time isn’t something Emsley has a lot of.
Not even two weeks later, Emsley was in Albion Hills, Ont. racing in this season’s sixth Ontario Cup.
The 50 km race pushed Emsley and his teammates from AWI Racing – who are coached by Andrew Watson, a four-time Canadian champion – to the limit.
Emsley recalled a teammate being so dehydrated he needed medical attention and an IV.
Dehydration can creep up on you quickly if you’re not careful, he said.
“I lost three pounds during a race three years ago … it was so cold, my hands froze halfway through the race. It was a bad day,” he said.
Leading up to the race, Emsley took on the role of instructor at Sir Sam’s Ski and Bike’s Advanced Camp for mountain biking.
The camp, which went from July 26-28, teaches children ages 11-15 various mountain biking skills.
Emsley has been helping with the camp for more than four years. The program has been offered to children for seven.
“More than half of the kids from last year’s beginner’s course showed up again this year,” he said, adding most of them are from the Greater Toronto Area.
Chris Bishop, owner of Sir Sam’s, praised Emsley’s strong mountain biking and teaching skills.
“Nick is pretty much at the top of his game for his age in the mountain biking scene in Ontario,” he said. “He’s the expert.”
The final Ontario Cup event of the season will be at Sir Sam’s from Aug. 25-27.
It’s always a good feeling racing near your hometown, said Emsley.
Riders from the upcoming race have already visited the course for a pre-ride, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, said Bishop.
“Some say this is the best venue in all of Ontario,” he said.
The race begins at 9:30 Sunday morning.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.