Bodhi Kuhn is riding high on the 2022 UCI World Cup junior downhill mountain bike circuit.
The 17-year-old Rossland athlete currently sits in eighth place overall in the standings after competing in three World Cup events in France, Scotland and Austria this year.
“It was a strong start for my first two inaugural World Cup events,” said Kuhn. “Kicking off my first season among the world’s best, my goals were to show that I can compete at the highest level and be consistent.
“I’m building towards my objective to be a regular presence on the podium.”
The first few races of the season have been challenging in terms of track conditions and weather. In March, the season kicked off in Lourdes, France.
It’s a technical course top to bottom, and while the weather was nice during the event, the wet course from rain the week prior meant it was slippery, especially for the juniors who race earlier in the morning.
Bodhi managed to qualify eighth out of 70-plus of the fastest junior racers, and finished the finals again in eighth position – an impressive result for his first World Cup race.
“Lourdes is an interesting track that is quite relentless top to bottom,” said Kuhn.
“To put down two consistent top-10 finishes was amazing. I knew I had the speed.”
On the historically long and rocky Fort William, Scotland, course, Bodhi crashed in very wet and windy conditions for qualifying, but thankfully still made the top 25 to qualify.
In his final run he was smooth and consistent despite the worst of the notorious Scottish weather, finishing an impressive fifth.
“Fort Bill is very demanding physically and emotionally,” said Kuhn. “To overcome a pretty big crash in qualies and put together a clean, albeit conservative, run and finish in the top five was satisfying.”
However, the third World Cup round in Leogang, Austria, was not quite as successful. Torrential rain turned the track into a mud fest, catching out many top contenders.
Bodhi had a big crash in practice and tried to push on but mild concussion symptoms emerged. The call was made in consultation with concussion experts from his primary sponsor, Trek bikes, not to compete the rest of the weekend.
“It was a very difficult decision but the right one,” said Kuhn. “I know I have the pace to be on the podium and am in this for the long-haul. It’s really hard to put in all the time, travel and effort to get there and not compete.”
Despite the setback, Bodhi is still sitting in eighth overall in the standings with six more races to go. He will be travelling next to Switzerland and Andorra in early July, followed by races in the US, Canada (Mont St. Anne, Que.), France and Italy.
Kuhn is supported by Trek Bikes, SRAM, 100 per cent Clothing, Starfire Lumber and a grant from the Shred Foundation based out of Vancouver.