A 150 Mile House mountain biker competed up an age division last weekend to win the Prince George Otway Challenge cross-country marathon bike race.
Paul Rohner, 16, won the under-20 solo men’s category at the event, completing five laps of the 11-kilometre race course in four hours and 21 minutes.
Paul edged out Prince George’s Cody Strickland, who finished second, by one complete lap.
He travelled to Prince George with his dad, Erwin, the day prior to the race to get a sneak peak at the course.
“It was not all 100 per cent flagged by the time [we got there] and we rode anyway, so we took some guesses on some intersections, but we managed to guess correctly for about five kilometres,” Paul said.
“We met the race organizer who was working on putting up tape and he sent us in the right direction and we finished our pre run.”
Paul said on race day around 60 riders lined up at the starting line for a 10 a.m. start.
“It was a good vibe going on … after the first lap, which took me about 48 minutes to complete, things started to settle in,” he said. “I used a 29-inch borrowed hard tail bike which was not that comfortable but fairly light to ride.”
That showed after four laps as Paul battled through blisters on his hands, however, he held on for another lap of the course.
“It was my first cross country race and I was able to conserve my energy over the four-and-a-half-hour period,” Paul said.
“The race track was a fast rolling course with an elevation gain of about 330 metres per round and all single track.”
Paul’s next race will be the local Tour de Cariboo — a road race from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake — on Saturday, Sept. 6.