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Geza Rodgers wins U-21 Enduro Nationals in Whistler

October 3, 2022

Liv

Following a strong XC season racing across the country and cumulating podiums, Liv Canada Off-Road Team athlete Geza Rodgers recently took the win at Canadian National Enduro Championships in Whistler BC. After climbing on the podium in 2021, the young athlete was eager to come back and tackle the technical course. We caught up with our new U-21 National Champion to learn more.

Liv: Congratulations on your win! You’ve been concentrating on XC most of the season. How did you prepare for the race? What were your expectations/goals?

Geza: Although I primarily concentrate on XC, I always try to do at least one enduro race a year. I enjoy changing it up and enduro is the perfect way to do that! There wasn’t a lot of preparation going into this race at all, I came home from Canada Summer Games at the end of August, had a break, then went right into cyclocross. I was racing cyclocross the weekend before enduro nationals. The only preparation I had was going for fun rides on my enduro bike with friends, and a couple days of bike park during the summer. I didn't actually decide I was going to do the race until a few weeks before. I always treat enduro as a fun endurance weekend with friends, and a chance to try new things. Of course, I still have expectations of myself and want to perform well! In 2021 I placed 3rd at Enduro Nationals and had a blast and knew I would be back next year. This year, I didn't know what the competition would be like as I hadn’t raced any of these girls yet this year. My main goal was to stay smooth and fast on all the stages, and to come away with a podium. The outcome was far from what I was expecting!

Liv: What was your favorite stage on the course? Your biggest challenge?

Geza: I have two favorite stages! The first one is stage #5: Microclimate. My time on Microclimate was 7:52.2, the second fastest time on this stage. When I dropped into this stage I was sitting in second place, but when I finished I came out in first. This stage had some of the most descending, a lot of holes and compressions, and way too much dust. I dropped into the stage and immediately knew it was going to be a good one, I felt so smooth right from the get go. One thing I came away with on this stage was, I need to do more pushups. Because this was the 5th stage of the day, I was getting tired, and if you’ve ever raced enduro, you know that you get to the point where your hands and arms just give out and you can’t shift or touch the brakes anymore and you’re just holding on for dear life. I kept going into compressions and then almost over the bars because my arms were so sore they couldn't support my weight anymore! Managed to hold on to the end though!

My favorite stage was the 6th and last: Golden Boner - Roam in the loam. I took the stage win on this one. Almost the whole stage is the XC Whistler Canada Cup descent so I had already ridden a bunch of laps on it this year at race pace but on an XC bike. I think the fact that I had only ridden it on an XC bike made it feel a lot smoother than it actually was. I knew I was in the lead so all I had to do was hold on. Also, lucky for me, there is a long road sprint right in the middle. I knew that this is where I was gonna put some distance between me and second place so I decided this is where I was gonna empty the tank and just destroy myself. The highlight of the day was having all my friends and family on that hill chasing after me and screaming. No better feeling.

Liv: Last year, the weather was extremely challenging. What role did this year’s dry and sunny weather play on your performance?

Geza: Strangely enough, I actually LOVED last year's conditions. Quite often I find that I can perform better in terrible conditions. People kept talking about last year and how this years conditions were way better, but I was praying for rain when I saw the dust on the trails. I think part of the reason why I was able to podium last year was because of my attitude towards racing in the rain and just awful conditions. I’m from Vancouver so I get excited when I get to ride on some slippery roots! On the long exposed climb to the highest stage (Microclimate), I was definitely in need of some rain. The nice conditions this year were great but I’m indifferent, sometimes the hot weather makes it tough for me to push harder! Both years were great for me.

Liv: Will the national title influence your next season on the bike? What are your plans for the next few months? Next year?

Geza: For the fall season I have a pretty heavy block of cyclocross racing planned! I plan to go to the states for some UCI Junior series races, all over the island, on the mainland, and then to Nationals. One of my biggest goals for this year is to qualify for Junior CX worlds. The new title has definitely inspired me to do some more enduro races! Next year I will still continue with XC, but hopefully, throw some more enduros in there.

Liv: Is there anything else you want to share about the event, your bike, your season?

Geza: The smoothest thing all weekend was by far my bike. The Intrigue Advanced Pro 29 was the perfect amount of travel for this course, fast and flowy on the descents, and light on the climbs. It had been a really tough XC race season with injury, struggling with mental toughness while racing, and more. This win just means so much to me and it really is the perfect end to my mountain bike season. A huge thank you to everyone in my corner who supports me in the many disciplines I compete in, you have all helped me become the athlete and person I am today.

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