Athlete of the week: Cole Punchard

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Local mountain bike racer Cole Punchard has been soaring in his sport.

Punchard began competing with his mountain bike almost five years ago and this month placed first in an Ontario Cup race.

For the 2019 season, “Punchard has had consistently strong placements all year,” said Adam Galt, also an avid bike racer from the Huntsville Mountain Bike Association.

Most recently, Punchard and a handful of other local mountain bike riders competed in the seventh race of the 2019 MTB Ontario Cup Series, held August 11 at the Mountainview Ski and Mountain Bike Centre in Midland.

The cross-country mountain bike course was one of the more technical courses on the Ontario Cup circuit. It featured very steep and tight switchback climbs along with rock gardens that are difficult to maneuver one’s bike around at top racing speeds.

Cole Punchard on the podium at the August 11 Ontario Cup race (Photo: Christine Punchard)

Cole Punchard on the podium at the August 11 Ontario Cup race (Photo: Christine Punchard)

Punchard took the top spot on the podium in the Cadet Expert U17 category.

“This is definitely a big achievement by Cole,” added Galt. “It was great to see him achieve a first-place finish.”

Punchard also earned a fourth-place finish at the Canada Cup at Horseshoe Valley and, in what he says is his most memorable moment in his sport so far, an eighth-place finish in the 2019 Canadian National Championship back in July.

His future goal is to become a national champion in mountain bike racing.

“I am really proud of what I have accomplished this year and how much I have improved. Looking forward to what’s to come,” said Puchard.

Next up for Punchard and the other Huntsville racers on the Ontario Cup circuit is the Ontario Cycling Association’s provincial championships, hosted at Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride in Haliburton on September 8.

The five other local riders who joined Punchard on the Ontario Cup course and who also had great results and a few personal bests were: Gavin McPhee (second, Citizen Boys 13-16), Noah Galt (sixth, Peewee Sport Boys), Blake Punchard (sixth, Minimee Sport Boys), Chloe Punkari (fourth, Cadet/Junior Sport Girls), and Adam Galt (second, Master Sport 40-49).

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