On a recent trip to Belgium, Airdrie’s Abygale Reeve wasn’t looking to sample chocolate or explore the architecture – her objective was to compete at the 2019 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) BMX World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, July 23 to 27.
Racing at her second world championships, the 13-year-old, Bert Church High School student competed to a top-20 finish in her age category.
“I was very proud of myself that I made it all the way to quarters – top 20 in the world – against 75 very fast girls,” she said. “It was very competitive, and you have to push yourself past wherever you’ve been before.”
Reeve, a member of Team Alberta, has been racing for eight years.
“I started when I was six years old, and I’ve loved it ever since I first hopped on a bike,” she said.
“I think it’s because it’s an individual sport, so I can just depend on myself and not other people. I also love the competitive atmosphere.”
Her first time competing on the world stage was in 2017, when she raced at the UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Unfortunately, her run ended prematurely when she suffered an injury in her first moto (race).
This time around, she stayed healthy throughout, and managed to race in five motos in Belgium, not bowing out of the competition until the quarterfinals.
“In 2017, I fell and had to go to the hospital, so I was a little disappointed,” she said. “So, for these world champs, I was going as hard as I could because I didn’t want that to happen again.
“I was proud of myself that I could race with the best of the best, and actually compete with them.”
Her father, Ryan, said he was pleased with how Reeve handled her second shot at world championships.
“We had high expectations, but because of what happened in 2017, we were cautious of our goals,” he said. “She definitely achieved them and showed a lot of determination.
“She was battling from the back in a lot of the races, and she was getting past these girls and putting herself in a position to make the next race.”
Reeve is no stranger to elite competition – she won her first national championship when she was just seven years old. She is also the current N4 plate-holder, having finished fourth at the recent Canadian BMX National Championships, held July 6 in Etobicoke, Ont.
On the Alberta circuit, she’s the undisputed racer-to-beat for her age group, and is aiming to secure her eighth-consecutive provincial championship when she competes in Cochrane Sept. 7 and 8.
Another of her goals, she said, is to make Cycling Canada’s NexGen Development Program.
“It’s the team they put together that represents [Canada] at the world championships,” she said.
Reeve is also training for the 2020 world championships, which will be held next May in Houston, Texas.
“The mental game is the most important in those big competitions, because you’re thinking about how you’ll compare to all these other riders,” she said. “I think the experience [in Belgium] will help me out.”