Shortly after the celebration that comes with profitable a nationwide championship, the considered capturing back-to-back titles typically pushes its approach into the minds of opponents and spectators alike.
After profitable the 15- to 16-year-old cross-country nationwide title in 2021, Breckenridge’s Nico Konecny entered the 2022 USA Biking Mountain Bike Nationwide Championships in Winter Park trying to turn into a two-time nationwide champion himself.
“It was the expectation and perception in a aim to win, however the competitors within the 15- to 16-year-old class may be very robust. I knew it will be a very good race,” Konecny stated. “I needed to be ready to provide it my all.”
As a substitute of Konecny simply defending his title, the 16-year-old endurance junkie received each the 15- to 16-year-old division’s cross-country title and the brief observe cross-country title. Now a three-time nationwide champion, the titles present Konecny’s dominance within the sport.
Konecny, who competes as a part of the Bear Nationwide Crew, dominated in each races. Within the cross-country race on Friday, July 22, Konecny beat out second place by a span of virtually two minutes.
Konecny completed the course in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 58 seconds, making him the one competitor within the division to interrupt 70 minutes.
“Earlier than the race, I used to be positively nervous as a result of you will have these expectations and that aim to defend it once more,” Konecny stated. “Within the race, I attempted to maintain myself as calm and composed as I can to tactically play it sensible and take it to the end.”
On Sunday, July 24, Konecny geared himself up once more, this time for his second nationwide title of the weekend.
Konecny powered his approach by means of the brief distance course, setting himself aside from Luke Mosteller of Gravity Academy Racing. Konecny completed in a time of 28:01, 10 seconds in entrance of Mosteller, who positioned second.
“I don’t know if it has set in but, however I’m extraordinarily excited,” Konecny stated of his double-national-championship efficiency. “I’m not solely pleased with the 2 wins however the journey of the entire season to get there.”
Like all nationwide title, a number of exhausting work — typically unseen — went into Konecny’s pair of nationwide championship performances. Konecny was fast to notice the huge assist system round him, which incorporates his mother and father, brother, Lasse and coach, for his success all through the season.
“I’ve simply an incredible assist crew,” Konecny stated. “With the ability to obtain your aim for the season, realizing how a lot exhausting work everybody has put in is so rewarding.”
It’s due to Konecny’s mother and father that Konecny discovered his approach into the game. Impressed from an early age by his father, Thomas, Konency has been driving bikes for so long as he can bear in mind.
“He was doing a complete bunch of native races, and we’d journey to look at him,” Konecny stated of his father. “It sparked an curiosity and love, in me, for the game.”
Konecny says he grew extra severe concerning the sport in 2016 when he attended his first nationwide championship in Mammoth, California.
For the final six years, Konecny has tirelessly been placing in work — biking at the least six days per week with one or two exhausting efforts constructed into the week. One of many favourite coaching routes of the Konecny brothers is Peak 9 Street in Breckenridge, which ready each for the nationwide championship course in Winter Park.
The Konecny brothers are ideally suited coaching companions for each other. The duo prepare collectively nearly all of the season and work exhausting to push one another’s limits.
“My brother has a very huge affect on me and biking,” Konecny stated. “I look as much as him in so some ways and observe what he does. He’s mainly my idol. We’re tremendous shut. The brotherly competitors between one another positively retains us pushing one another, and it’s why we’re the place we’re within the sport.”
With three nationwide titles beneath his belt, Konecny will graduate to the 17- to 18-year-old age division subsequent season. Konecny says he’s carried out significantly racing for the remainder of the season however might race the Breck Epic mountain bike race from Aug. 14-19.
Despite the fact that Konecny’s season could also be over, he already has a number of objectives outlined for subsequent season when he competes in a brand new age division. His objectives embrace getting the chance to compete in world cup races and competing at world championships.
In the long run Konecny hopes to rise to the higher echelons of the game and proceed to be an envoy for the game of mountain biking.
“I see all of the superb locations biking takes me,” Konecny stated. “We go to all these stunning and superb locations, and I would like youngsters to have the identical alternative I’ve. I would like folks to benefit from the world we stay in and do it whereas on a motorcycle.”