As 2015 transitions into 2016, Revelstoke’s Kellen Viznaugh is focused on achieving a pretty big dream: raising the money he needs to make a credible bid to compete in the Cyclocross World Cup and other European races.
“I will be racing for the Giant Langley/Smartsavvy+ p/b Wounded Warriors Canada cycling team,” he told The Current. “The money that I raise will be put towards equipment, race/travel fees. I will be applying to Cycling Canada to go over to Europe next Christmas to represent Canada at a Cyclocross World Cup, and a few other European races.”
All told, Kellen is hoping to raise around $5,000 to cover “travel to the Coast to meet up with the team, race fees, and equipment.” (Please click here to visit his Go Fund Me page.)
Viznaugh has been racing for five years. He got his start with mountain bikes but slowly progressed into the road side of things.
“This year was my first year really being fully committed to racing,” he said. “This is a big step up for me as I will be racing with a fully supported team. In the past, I was racing by myself and it was tough because I was racing against teams of 6-7 guys who could all work together. Now that I am graduated I am focusing on being a full-time athlete, I am training six days a week at about 15-17 hrs a week. I also have a training camp in Palm Springs in mid February.”
Getting picked for the team is a huge step for Kellen. Giant Langley / SmartSavvy+, is a U23-focused road race team, based in Langley. The team has applied for a National Trade Team license for 2016, and, according to Canadian Cyclist magazine, “looks to make their mark at events across Canada and NW USA. The team focus is to build leaders on and off the bike, so they can be champions in all they do. The partnership with Wounded Warriors is a tremendous way for our student athletes to learn the importance of giving back and serving others. Throughout the year the team will be raising awareness for the Battlefield Bike Ride, as well as funds to support Wounded Warriors Canada.”
Kellen’s cyclocross season went very well. He won the overall Interior Cross Series, collecting two first-place and two second-place finishes and never finishing out of the top five. “In the first race of the BC Premiere Series I went first and second on back-to-back days and got upgraded to the Elite Men Category, from there I had a second place in the series finale and two other top 10 finishes,” he recalled. “Cyclocross Nationals went very well, I was in the lead group for the first lap and was as high as fourth. In the end I finished in ninth place, just over one minute off of the podium. It was a very good result for me. The next day I raced the Category 2 race and was leading by quite a bit. I was feeling good and then I punctured and had to run for almost two kilometres to the pit to change bikes. In the end I finished eighth at 1:53 back. I even went all the way down to Seattle, in my race there were about 100 starters, I squeezed my way up to the front row and got the hole shot, I led for the first lap and a half until some mechanical problems got to me, I struggled for a couple laps and then threw down the fastest lap of the day by 18 seconds. The final race of the season were the Provincials in Squamish, I had to battle through a last-row call up on the start, fought my way through 30 racers and ended up finishing 16th in the elite men’s category and fourth in the U-23.”
Kellen also finished fifth in the Provincial Road Championships and second in the Alberta Road Provincials,.
Kellen has a way to go before the World Cup Races but he is very grateful for the support he has received from his parents, his coach Keith Wilson, and his sponsors —Skookum, Sessa Studios, and Speers Construction.
“Without their huge support, none of this would be possible,” he said.
Kellen would be very appreciative if his fellow Revelstokians would support him, too. He has set up a Go Fund Me page to help you do just that.