Durham Region has produced some of the world’s best mountain bikers in recent years.
While the pandemic has affected the sport, an Uxbridge racer is gearing up to head to Europe next week to compete.
“Your race result is really a combination of the work you put in and then your motivation to get there,” said professional mountain bike racer Tyler Orschel.
Orschel is racing at the highest level. Mountain biking is in the 23-year-old’s blood.
“(My parents) threw me on a bike when I was four or five and I was already doing races when I was five or six,” said Orschel.
The trails in Durham Forest, south of Uxbridge, is where Orschel cut his teeth mountain biking, spending countless hours there growing up.
“He just loved getting out on the trails riding his bike, he gravitated naturally to mountain biking, he loves the forest,” said Eric Orschel, Tyler’s dad.
Eric was the one who introduced Tyler to the sport, and he’s watched him develop into the competitor he is today.
“It’s become some much more technical, and that’s probably one of Ty’s greatest assets is his ability to adapt to the rock gardens, the log overs and the really technical elements that have developed in the sport,” said Eric Orschel.
Competing on the world stage doesn’t come cheap. It starts with the equipment then there are the travel costs, and the pandemic hasn’t helped.
So Tyler, who’s wrapping up college in North Carolina, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help cover expenses for the 2021 season.
“I didn’t see another way to make this season happen. I couldn’t work any more hours, and I couldn’t ask for any more from my parents and I thought that maybe the local community would help me out and I was super overwhelmed by the support I received,” said Orschel.
Uxbridge is known as the Trail Capital of Canada and has a total population of 22,000 people.
Orschel credits the community with helping him surpass his $10,000 goal.
“If you create world-class mountain biking in a community, you will start to see some incredible riders come out of those programs,” said Dave Barton, Uxbridge mayor.
Orschel heads to Europe next week, his first race taking place in Germany.
“The work I’ve done is done, so now I’m just going to give it everything and whatever result I get is what I deserve,” said Orschel.