It was a cool day for BMX racing in Airdrie, Alta., but Joey Matzelle didn't need any hot air to rise to the top.
He let his legs do the cranking and captured the biggest prize of his 11-year racing career -- a No. 1 plate he'll be sporting on his bike all next season.
The 16-year-old Supertrak BMX Club member was untouchable on a hilly hard-packed course, winning the cruiser (24-inch wheel) title at the Canadian Cycling Association national championships on Sunday. Taking on seven riders from across Canada, he won all four of his cruiser motos.
"I knew it was going to be close, I won by about a bike length," said Matzelle.
"It was weird, because I've never won anything big like this before. It felt great. I knew eventually I'd get it."
Matzelle, who will start Grade 11 classes next week at College Heights secondary school, also placed fourth in the nation in the 20-inch wheel class for 16-year-old boys.
A growth spurt now has Matzelle standing six-foot-one, and that extra length is coming in handy on the track. He won the cruiser title both days when Prince George hosted its American Bicycle Association national races at Carrie Jane Gray Park last month.
"I'm still growing and it feels like I'm going faster," he said. "I just started practicing more."
In other Supertrak club results from Airdrie, six-year-old Damien Georgyev pulled off a miraculous finish in his last moto to emerge as national champion of the six-year-old boys 20-inch class.
"He came out of the gate last because he unclipped (from the pedals) but he came in and got first," said Matzelle. "He's done pretty good this year."
Tyler Pierce of Prince George also competed in the pro rider class but did not advance to the finals.
Matzelle and several other Supertrak club members will be in Stony Plain, Alta., this weekend for the CCA Western national championship races. Matzelle also plans to enter the final ABA grand national races in Chilliwack, Oct. 8-10.