At-a-girl!

Warkentin Finishes Impressive Cycling Season (re-posted from Steinbach on-line)

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Haley Warkentin holding the MCA Provincial Women’s Mountain Bike Championship trophy

Haley Warkentin continues to advance up the female cycling ranks in Manitoba.

The Steinbach native received the Sport Manitoba Order of Excellence and was recognized as Manitoba’s top female mountain-bike-rider at the Manitoba Cycling Associations annual banquet this past November.

Warkentin says it’s very rewarding to get recognized in something that your so passionate about.

“It’s just so awesome,” explains Warkentin enthusiastically when asked why she loves the sport. “It’s thrilling and it’s so challenging. There are so many attributes, you can always be working on something, getting faster and improving. It’s not always simple – it’s good!”

She had a a very successful 2012 campaign getting first in four different events: Manitoba Provincial Critirium, Brandon Mountain Bike Cup Race, Stoney Mountain Critirium, and the Sandilands Mountain Bike Cup Race.

Warkentin also competed in the United States, traveling to Callaway, Minnesota to race in the Laddies Loppet (stage race – three different styles of race back-to-back over a weekend). Despite the higher level of competition, racing against other professional women, she still had a top five finish.

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Competitive female cyclists are far and few between in Manitoba. Warkentin says it’s been a challenge at times staying enthusiastic about the sport when there is very little competition.

“It would be sweet to have a strong female mountain bike community. It’s growing and there are events that are being held. There are also ‘Kids of Mud’ programs that are working on upping the number of girl athletes in the sport. That’s all really good, but it is pretty sparse in the sport right now.”

Warkentin says any young female rider who is considering the sport should get out on their bike often and she encourages them not to be afraid of riding along side the boys.

The competition will be significantly higher for Warkentin since her days growing up beside the boys, as she trades in her mountain bike for a road bike, when she travels to Victoria, British Columbia in the new year to join the Russ Hay’s Elite Racing Team.

She noted that her mountain bike will be close by, as she takes many breaks from the smooth pavement to rip it up in on the real mountain bike trails; on the Rocky Mountains.

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