December 29, 2017

Squamish breeds mountain bike champion

— Discover Squamish
— David Buzzard

It was lucky sevens for Jakob Jewett – until it wasn’t. The 14-year-old from the Garibaldi Highlands in Squamish flew by his competition to win the first seven downhill races in Cycling BC’s 2017 BC Cup series. He needed one more win to clinch the cup for the under-15 division.

He had beat his opponents down the courses at races throughout the province. Having been on two wheels most of his life, and spending a couple of hours on the local trails most days in the year, Jewett is at home on a bike.

But when his competitors were practicing for the final race in the 2017 BC Cup, Jewett was laid up at home with a broken foot. Late in the summer, a slipup at the local skate park put the Grade 9 student out of the race for the cup that was his to lose.

The broken foot was not his first injury – he broke his collarbone when he was nine – but it did mean returning to school in September on one leg and it seriously disrupted his routine for about a month.

Seven for seven is still a proud record and the local boy didn’t have all his eggs in a single basket. He also competes in free riding and downhill skiing, and he started racing BMX when he was four. He was practically born on a bike.

“When I was two, I was riding with training wheels, but when I was three I got rid of them,” he says.

Jewett was born in Squamish, but the family moved to Kelowna, then Montreal, before returning to the Sea-to-Sky region permanently in 2011.

“That’s kind of where I got into BMX a bit more,” he says, because the opportunities for downhill racing were more limited in those places than they are in Squamish. “I ended up quitting it two years ago and got more into downhill racing.”

“It’s perfect… It has some of the best trails in the world.”

Having lived elsewhere, Jewett is glad to be back in Squamish and he appreciates what is in his own backyard.

“It’s perfect,” he says. “It has some of the best trails in the world. When you’re out riding, you find people from all around the world that just come here to ride.”

Squamish does tend to breed and nurture excellence, especially in mountain biking.

The district lays claim to hometown hero Miranda Miller, who recently took gold in the elite women’s world downhill division at the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns, Australia.

And Squamish’s Holden Jones, 16, earned a bronze medal in the international competition, placing third in the under-19 category of the UCI World Cross Country.

Squamish boasts a 189km single track trail network, most of which was built and is maintained by Squamish’s powerful, volunteer-run Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association.

The weather in Squamish means almost any day can be a training day, says Jewett.

He rides up to the trails in the Highlands most days after school, usually with friends, for a couple of hours. On the rare winter days when snow interferes, he skis.

“There are only one or two months when you can’t ride, so it’s basically all seasons.” 

© Copyright 2019 Discover Squamish

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