sAt that point, his 2016 outstanding achievements in the sport of cycling included over 15 racing events and a number of first- and second-place finishes.
Now Hewins is getting ready to compete in two sports at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg July 28–Aug. 13. But first, he’s off to national competition in Ottawa for the Canadian Road Championships, which run June 24–28.
When he gets to Winnipeg, Hewins will be there for two weeks in order to take part in road racing and mountain biking competitions. He’s excited to think of being involved in both the opening and closing ceremonies. His nabbed one of the three mountain biking and five road-racing spots on the Nova Scotia team.
Time in Spain
Ahead of his stint in Manitoba, this goal-driven athlete of 21 has many miles to put on his Garneau lightweight carbon bicycle with its quiet electric gears.
Hewins has been focused. His biology degree on hold, he spent the winter in Girona, Spain training with other international team members. Girona is home to many Tour de France riders and they inspired him.
“The best cyclists in the world were there,” he says, “and the café culture there allowed me to connect. It was really cool.”
He had four roommates in Spain, two males and two females, who are all professional athletes, so Hewin says he had plenty of role models and advice.
The mountainous terrain north of Barcelona gave him some heights to tackle and good winter temperatures to train in, he added.
Hewins arrived back in Kentville on April 26 and says it was “Kinda nice to be home.”
His first Canada Cup race last season provided him with some national experience. Hewins enjoyed a couple of top five finishes in Men’s A, but he wanted to gain that national experience. It made him aware that Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia riders lead the country.
“The Maritimes lack a little behind them,” he said. “The pool is massive.”
Preparing for Winnipeg, Hewins has two coaches – one of whom he has never met and who advises him online, using the readings logged by the monitors he wears as he rides, tabulating a variety of information like his heart rate.
According to Hewins, building to a peak at competition is the crux. For example, while in Spain, he rode 15 to 20 per hours a week, but now he’s only logging five to 10 hours. When not on the road he works on core fitness and does yoga.
He believes that mountain biking makes him a better road cyclist through the handling skills he’s developed.
“It’s not unusual to do both (sports),” Hewins said.
His second coach is John Burgess, who is also a teammate and mentor. He says the Bedford rider is a very good cyclist and a fellow member of the Oakley Atlantic Racing Team.
When not training, Hewins works two shifts a week at Banks Bikes in Wolfville. Colin Banks, who got him into mountain biking, is another supporter, along with his parents.
Hewins trains every day, pretty much 365 days a year. He will often ride 100-150 kilometres every Sunday with a group in Halifax. He calls the 160-kilometre road race his favourite event.
That’s race he’s looking forward to in July. Hewins will also race the criterium circuit around a city block and a timed trail race.
In mountain biking, he has three events to prepare for, including a team relay.
Hewins grew up playing elite hockey in Kentville, but then gravitated to mountain bike racing. He found support in the local cycling community, including Acadia University sociology professor Jim Brittain, who helps in his mental preparation.
In 2014, the year he graduated from Horton High School, Hewins was the 2014 recipient of the Adrian Campbell Scholarship.
Winnipeg should be hot, so Hewin is anticipating the weather and all the other factors that could affect his racing this summer.