Pedalling to the podium

Mattias Grunling ended the season with a third place finish at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Photo supplied

Grunling finishes season on a high 

Nerves. Every athlete experiences them. The butterflies at the start gate; the rush of adrenaline as they navigate down the mountain. Sometimes they help propel the competitor and other times they don’t. Sun Peaks athlete Mattias Grunling battled nerves all season in the U15 Men BC Cup series but pushed passed them to earn his first podium finish at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort on July 21. 

“It felt super good, especially after the whole season I was not doing so well. I was crashing or I was slipping out or messing up on my runs,” he said. 

Grunling finished the course with a time of 5:09.28. With only a few competitors behind him in the seeding he didn’t have long to wait before finding out he had made the podium. 

“The course was, I would say, the gnarliest out of the ones I did. It was probably my favourite course too. It was really fun, a lot of rock slabs, then near the bottom was super high speed. It was really fun.”

Grunling said he chose to go with the line most riders raced and adapted it to ride a few of the easier sections during training while the conditions dried up.

“For training, it was wet and raining at some points and then apparently the day before I was there it was snowing,” he explained. “Everything dried up. It wasn’t dusty or blown out. It was the right dryness so it was nice and tacky dirt so you could get some grip.” 

The race was his last of the series as he opted out of competing at Panorama Resort on July 28 in favour of attending a bike camp and decided not to attend Mt. Washington Resort’s event. He said he was happy with his performance this season and is already looking forward to next year. 

He added he’s definitely planning to compete in BC Cup next year as the up-and-coming athlete hopes to one day get to the national level. He’s recognized his weak points this season and he said he learned to find ways to deal with his nervousness on race day.

“I learned to do the course as many times as I can and then actually do course walks and watch other people on sections I’m confused on and then attempt it, and if I don’t feel comfortable on it either try it again or try something different,” he said.

As of July 23, Grunling was ranked sixth overall for his age category in the BC Cup series. He was proudly sponsored by District Bike Company this season.