Luke Hubner (middle) celebrates his gold medal win on the podium when he won the omnium title at the Western Track Challenge at the Burnaby Velodrome, Jan 18. (Filip Funk photo)

Qualicum Beach teen sprints to top in track cycling

Luke Hubner makes big strides in only six months in the sport

Qualicum Beach’s Luke Hubner learned track cycling just six months ago and in that short time, he has already made big strides in his newly discovered passion.

Track cycling is a racing sport held in a velodrome featuring banked tracks. As Parksville Qualicum Beach and even the neighbouring communities don’t have such a facility, the 16-year-old Hubner overcame the challenge and was able to hone his cycling skills and technique to make quite a good impression on the track.

Recently, he competed in the Western Track Challenge at the 200-metre Burnaby Velodrome, Jan. 17-19.

The event, which also served as the regional championship for Western Canada, attracted competitors from across the province, Alberta as well as from Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

The Kwalikum Secondary Grade 11 student had a strong impressive performance when he took home the challenging omnium crown in the men’s junior category. The men’s omnium is called the pentathlon of cycling and it features four to five different races every competitor must complete.

Aside from that, Hubner, who is a member of Dr. Walker Sports Chiropractor Cycling Team from Qualicum Beach, also took gold medals in the points race, the scratch race, and the team sprint. He added a bronze medal in the keirin to his medal tally.

“It’s pretty insane to have achieved this in a short time,” said Hubner, who only started track cycling last August, when he tried it out during a youth training at an outside track in Victoria. He loved it.

“I really enjoyed it,” Hubner recalled when he tried it out. “I met a guy there who used to be a professional cyclist. He told me that I had the potential to be good in the sport. So I went back a few other times.”

Hubner entered his first competition at the B.C. Provincial Track Championships at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre in Colwood in August.

He drew the attention of a coach who took him under his wing.

“He got me to go to Vancouver to train,” said Hubner. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Hubner has been cycling since he was a child. He did some mountain biking and BMX racing when his family lived in Cumberland. When they moved up north, Hubner occasionally did some road biking. It was when his family moved here to Qualicum Beach that he found his true love for cycling.

“I became a member of the Ravensong Swim Club,” said Hubner.

“I started training and I got fitter. My dad got me to try triathlon and when I did it, I really liked the biking part of it. It was my favourite. But I only started to race seriously at the start of 2019.”

Following his success at the Western Track Challenge, Hubner has been motivated to do well and will have a chance to compete in the Junior Nationals in April. He does most of his strength training here in Qualicum Beach.

“I bike most of the time here and then I go to Vancouver two to three weeks to train at the Burnaby track,” said Hubner. “I am looking forward to competing again.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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