Airdrie BMX racer Abygale Reeve will be donning the maple leaf this season, after successfully trying out for the Canadian national BMX team last fall.
“I’m super excited about it because it’s been a goal of mine for about three years now,” she said. “Just to be able to put on the Canadian jersey and wear the leaf is a big accomplishment for me, and to represent myself and Canada at the highest level.”
The 16-year-old said the tryout process for Team Canada involved going to Abbotsford, B.C. last October, where she was tasked with showing off her skills in front of the national team's coaches.
“That’s the only eight-metre hill in western Canada,” she said of the Abbotsford BMX track. “That’s the big hill that all of the pros go off of, so we had to go off of that and the coach could see if we were good enough to jump it.”
After her tryout, Reeve said she received an email from the national team in January that confirmed she had made the team.
“I think I cried a bit – just tears of happiness because oh my goodness, I had finally made it,” she said of her initial reaction to the email. “I was so happy to make the team because it was such a big goal of mine.”
The former Bert Church High School student has been racing BMX for about 10 years. She started out with Airdrie BMX, quickly ascending to become the top rider in Alberta for her age group.
Her dominance is well documented – Reeve has won the provincial championship for her age group nine times throughout her career, and she won the Canada Cup Junior Devo Division the last two years.
Last year, in order to continue her development amid COVID-19 health restrictions, she temporarily re-located to Phoenix, Arizona, where she was able to resume her training regimen and compete in American BMX races.
She added the move was beneficial to her development in the sport.
“I’ve gotten way faster, stronger on and off the bike – in the gym as well – and my skills have progressed quite a bit,” she said. “I’m happy with where I’m at right now, but there are still a couple things that need improvement.”
At just 16 years old, Reeve is the youngest member of Canada's BMX team this year. Despite the Airdronian's status as "the baby of the group", she said her new teammates have been welcoming, and have been mentoring her.
“I think all my teammates have been racing for a long time, so I listen to them about the track and the tips they give me,” she said. “Molly Simpson, a pro on the team, I look up to her quite a bit as a Canadian athlete.”
Her membership with the national team means Reeve will be racing on the international stage this year. She added she'll be travelling to the Netherlands in early June to participate in the European Cup BMX circuit.
The trip won't mark Reeve's first international race, as she competed at the world championships in Belgium in 2019, as well as plenty of competitions in the U.S. over the years. She said her goal for the 2022 season is to win the national junior women's championship, as well as qualify for the semi-finals in the world junior and European Cup races she enters.
Reeve will also be racing on behalf of a new sponsorship team this year – Northstar Bicycle Company and the Meybo Canada Team.
“This is the first year I’m with them but the support so far has already been immense, so I’m so thankful,” she said of her Calgary-based sponsors. “I’m very excited and can’t wait for the season to start.”