Mountain biker joins province's team just 10 days before the Games
© Robin Short
Seamus Boyd-Porter (second from right) joined Team NL's Canada Games mountain biking team just 10 days ago after the team's third member was forced to withdraw. He joins fellow riders (from left) Jordan Hodder and Adam Parsons and coach Leon Organ
Seamus Boyd-Porter missed out on a shot, pardon the pun, at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax when his provincial biathlon team couldn’t get the necessary training because of a lack of equipment.
See, when you don’t have any guns to shoot, it’s hard competing in biathlon.
Two years later, Boyd-Porter looked to have missed out on another Canada Games when he came up short of a roster spot on the mountain biking team destined for Sherbrooke, Que.
Until a twist of fate occurred. When a family emergency forced Devon Fitzpatrick of Mount Moriah to step away from the team, the coaching staff turned to the 19-year-old Boyd-Porter to join fellow 19-year-olds Jordan Hodder and Adam Parsons of Mount Pearl.
One man’s misfortune is another man’s gain.
“Of course, it was pretty awesome to get that call,” said Boyd-Porter, who hails from St. John’s. “I figured I would be home now writing (university) exams. Thankfully I got them deferred.”
The Newfoundland coaching staff of Keith Manual and Leon Organ actually stumbled upon Boyd-Porter during a camp earlier this summer. The Canada Games team had already been selected, but Manual and Organ opted to stage a camp for 14- to 16-year-olds, sort of a look-see for potential riders in the 2017 Summer Games, expected to be staged in Winnipeg.
“He was training with the cross-country ski team, and came out with some other riders, who were also skiers, that we were looking at,” Organ said.
“He was an unknown, but we liked what we saw.”
So when Fitzpatrick was forced to pass up the Games, the call was put out to Boyd-Porter just 10 days ago.
“We knew he’d been to big competitions before with skiing, so coming to a venue like this was nothing new to him,” said Organ.
“Bottom line is he showed drive and motivation at camp. He’s been training with Jerome Brennan at the Provincial Training Centre and Jerome said there were no problems with his conditioning.
“He’s been a real good fit.”
“So far so good,” Parsons said of Boyd-Porter. “He’s been great to have around.”
While mountain biking is a fledgling sport in Newfoundland, it has been enjoying a fair amount of success. Matt Beer of St. John’s became the first Newfoundlander to win a national mountain biking championship, and earned a spot on the national team.
Last January, Beer was named the Molson St. John’s athlete of the year.
Parsons played the traditional sports growing up in Mount Pearl, namely soccer and hockey, but his outlook on sport took a different turn after his first mountain biking race.
“Mountain biking took over after that,” he said. “It just really captured my interest.
“I enjoy being outside, the fun of riding. And getting to a Canada Games is an amazing experience.”
The mountain bikers begin competition today with the cross-country discipline. Following a practice day Sunday, they’re at it again with a team relay Monday and the sprint Wednesday.