My name is Rhys Verner and I’m from Squamish, BC. I have been riding bikes for as long as I can remember and have raced many disciplines. This year I have decided to pursue enduro as my main focus, whereas the last few years the main focus has been XC racing. This switch is something I am very excited about. I feel enduro is the best for me as I can pull all my skills and experiences from years of racing XC and DH. I grew up in Squamish but am currently going to university in Victoria, BC, where I’m in my third year studying economics. I also grew up skiing, hiking, running, playing soccer, and many other sports – and still try and do all of these things to cross train throughout the winter. I’m pretty much always down for any sort of activity.
RIDER NEWSMORE FROM THE COG
DISCIPLINES / RIDING OR RACING FOCUSEnduro, XC, DH, CX and some road
KONAS IN YOUR QUIVERProcess 153, Hei Hei Trail, Hei Hei Race and a Super Jake
DATE OF BIRTHJuly 2, 1997
RIDING WITH KONA SINCE2015
PERSONAL TOUCHES ON YOUR BIKES
Suspension set up is typically stiff and fast, lots of things I am still learning and adjusting on how I set things up, but I’ve been known to color coordinate my bikes, components and gear pretty well.
I like to try and get myself excited to get out there for a race or a ride. Instead of focusing all about the race, focus on maybe a great section of trail that I’m just pumped to go ride. I really like riding with music and definitely use that in my pre-race warm up to get myself pumped.
FAVORITE PLACE TO RIDE
Squamish, Mount Prevost, Vedder Mountain
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
I am from Squamish and spend my summers there. Currently I am going to school in Victoria so I spend about 8 months of the year there. I love Squamish, though, and if I could choose where I wanted to live I think I would pick there or definitely somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. I just love all the possibilities to do things outside.
GOALS FOR THE 2018 SEASON
Consistently finish EWS races with top 20’s
Maintain my fitness from the years racing XC
Become a more whole athlete that can race any discipline and do decently well
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU
My Grandpa has the world record for most people to take part in a shot ski.
I love mountaineering and backcountry skiing, and do that sort of stuff whenever I can fit it in as cross training.
I have been in school throughout my entire cycling career with a fulltime course load.
FAVORITE MOMENT OF 2017
Canada Games Double Gold Medal & Finale Ligure, Italy EWS
This was a great memory for me because Canada Games is just such a cool event. It’s essentially a mini Olympics. All the Olympic sports are there and we all stay in an athlete’s village and get to meet lots of cool people and watch different sports and all that. It happens every 4 years and I was fortunate enough to have gone before, so this time I knew what was what and was hoping for results. The first result came in the Team relay, where teams are the 3 male athletes from your province- in my case BC. BC has typically finished 3rd in these events behind Quebec and Ontario because these provinces just have such depth of racers and are always consistently fast. Our BC team was all from Squamish and we were all super close friends and we just rode a great race and ended up taking the win with my teammate passing Quebec in the final minute of the race. It was just such a surreal experience to win that race, especially with such close friends and against every other province in Canada. We are all from a town with less than 20000 people. Two days later I also won the eliminator gold medal so it was just an awesome trip for me and really added to it that I could do it for Team BC as well as everyone else.
This was the last race of the year for me and really the first time that I was able to train specifically for enduro for about a month and a half. I was fortunate enough to get some time on the new Process before the race and I loved the bike. The whole week leading up to the race I knew I felt great and was just having such an amazing time on the bike. I think including the race I ended up riding 30 hours in the week I was there, which is a massive week. But everything just went perfect for me in the race. Everything just clicked for me and I was able to ride consistently fast without really feeling out of my comfort zone, I didn’t crash at all in any of the seven stages and just was having such an amazing time. The result was more than I could have hoped for with a win in the U21 Category and 13th place overall with a top 5 overall in a stage. It just really was such a surreal experience, especially knowing all my friends were in cold rainy BC studying for midterms. But ya, that one really was just a huge result for me in realizing that I really could compete at that level, and that having fun while doing so is incredibly important.
THIS OR THAT?
NETFLIX OR YOUTUBE?
Tough question. So different, YouTube has lots of really cool sports videos, but I also could care less for “youtubers” and things like that.
Netflix is cool to wind down and get into shows, I really like the documentaries and shows based off true stuff, like Narcos.
FLIP-FLOPS / SANDALS?
Flip Flops till I die. Just so easy to slip on and I think they’re super comfortable. I take pride in the flip flop tan I get in the summer
LAUNDRY OR DISHES?
Dishes. Because I end up doing my roommates dishes to keep the kitchen clean, where no matter what I’m not doing their laundry.
WOULD YOU RATHER BECOME A NINJA OR A PIRATE?
Ninja. Would be pretty sweet to know that you could just do a bunch of cool ninja stuff if you wanted to and would always be safe. Even cooler is the fact that no one would know that you could do that stuff.
PHONE CALL OR TEXT?
Text. Cause I’m 20 years old and it’s just what we do haha.