Mountain bikers from all over the world come to Cumberland to ride the trails.
Now a Cumberland native is preparing to take on the world in another cycling discipline.
Aleasha Wiebe has just completed another successful season of BMX racing in Canada and the United States, and says the next step is becoming an elite pro rider and tackling the world circuit.
She certainly has the credentials to take that step.
This past year Wiebe was No. 1 in Canada for her age group (17-20 girls) on both her 20–inch bike and 24-inch cruiser. She was national No. 5 for all female cruiser BMX racers in Canada, and has been in the Canadian top 10 for the past two years. At Gold Cup races in Chula Vista, Calif. Wiebe was first in Cruiser and second for 20-inch.
She recently was in Las Vegas for the U.S. nationals where she made finals in both of her events.
“I placed second on my Cruiser and sixth on my 20-inch,” she recalls. Wiebe finished ninth in the U.S. National Age Group (NAG) for all U.S. BMX girls in the 17-20 class last year.
Wiebe already has an appearance on the world stage on her racing resume. When she was 17 she competed at the 2014 UCI World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Racing in the 17-29 age group Girls Challenge Class, she made quarter-final mains on her 20-inch bike, finishing top 20 in a field of 70 riders. On her Cruiser, Wiebe made semifinal mains, finishing top 12 in a field of 40 riders.
“She made her coach, teammates, parents and her home track Coal Hills very proud of her,” said her father Mike, who accompanies his daughter when she goes racing.
BMX is very much a family affair for the Wiebes, who live right across the street from the Coal Hills track. “I’ve been racing since I was three,” said the 19-year-old Wiebe, adding her older brothers Travis and Jacob both raced at the Cumberland track.
“Usually just me and my dad go to the races. My mom will come to a couple,” said Aleasha, adding that the travelling is expensive. “My team I ride for, UFO, has helped with bikes and parts. When it comes to financials it’s usually just my parents. I’ve been handing out sponsorship letters to local businesses.”
Wiebe doesn’t have a coach (she gives back to the sport by coaching and training younger riders) but her success comes from serious dedication.
“I’ve done a lot of research and some coaching clinics and picked up a few things over the years. I kind of taught myself.
“I train in the (Cumberland Rec Centre) gym five to six days a week…lots of weightlifting and high-intensity training. I just make my own workout plans.”
Wiebe graduated from G.P. Vanier (where she played basketball) in 2015 and is now taking online business courses. Those courses might come in handy when she steps up to the elite pro ranks and can earn money while pursuing her passion for BMX.
“It gives you a big adrenaline rush,” she said of why she has stayed with the sport for 16 years.
Wiebe says it is not necessary to qualify to become an elite pro rider.
“I can sign up any time I want. I’m…focusing on hitting the world circuit again. I want to give that a shot as an elite. I’m aiming for the 2017 Worlds in Rock Hill, South Carolina.”
While the elite pro ranks are a year away, Wiebe has definite goals for this season.
“I want to place higher than U.S. NAG 9. I want to make the top five for my age group on my 20-inch. I want to make top 10 for NAG.”
She feels she has a good chance to reach those goals as she is in her racing prime. “At this age the riders that are still riding are the ones that are still serious about it,” she said.
Along with all the hardware on her trophy shelf, Wiebe has accumulated some hard knocks.
“I’ve broken a few bones and had a few concussions. It’s all part of it,” she said.
When not in the gym training or on the track racing, Wiebe works at Home Depot. Anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities is welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org