Breckenridge’s Lasse Konecny puts cherry on top of successful season, places 4th at Pikes Peak Apex
After racing hard throughout the spring and summer, Breckenridge’s Lasse Konecny closed out his 2022 mountain bike season at the Pikes Peak Apex in and around Colorado Springs.
Prior to the four-day stage race that lasted from Thursday, Sept. 22, to Sunday, Sept. 25, Konecny raced both locally and across the United States. He participated in competitions such as Breckenridge’s Firecracker 50, the 2022 Union Cycliste Internationale World Cup in Snowshoe, West Virginia, and the 2022 Breck Epic.
Konecny lined up to the start line of the Pikes Peak Apex as part of the men’s professional mountain bike field, eager to race through the trails.
It was Konecny’s first time racing the event, and he said was excited to be among riders he has looked up to since he was aspiring to be a professional mountain biker himself.
On Stage 1 of the race Thursday, Konecny and the rest of the field were sent on a 11.5-mile prologue. Konecny got off to a good start by putting himself within the top 10 of the professional field in order to finish sixth overall for the stage in a time of 45 minutes, 36.32 seconds.
Konecny said he felt pleased with his performance on the first day of the race, but he was disappointed by missing two turns while out on the course, causing him to have to backtrack.
Konecny came into Stage 2 of the race with a clear mindset and was prepared to spin his wheels over the largest stage of the race, which was 37.2 miles and had 3,970 feet of climbing.
Like the day before, Konecny and his Bear National teammate Brayden Johnson got out fast with the top pack, chasing after the duo of Russell Finsterwald and Riley Amos across the trails that surround Canon City.
“We had lost contact with Russell and Riley,” Konecny, 18, said. “They were pretty much 40 to 45 seconds ahead of us at mile 13, and Brayden decided to make a move to bridge back up to those guys. I was the only one that followed so it was a group of four for the last 10 miles.”
Konecny recalls that Amos came to an abrupt stop with about 10 miles to go, his tires plagued by the many cacti littered alongside the rugged trails.
After lending Amos his carbon dioxide canister and repair kit, Konecny turned his focus back to trying to maintain his second-place position.
Konecny crossed the finish line in second place overall, with a time of 2:40:56. Finsterwald finished 89 seconds earlier at 2:39:27, while Johnson and Amos hung on for sixth and seventh place, respectively.
Konecny said he was surprised with his performance over Stage 2 of the race and didn’t expect to be able to hang on to the rapid pace set by Johnson in order to catch up to Finsterwald and Amos.
“I got that second wind of adrenaline and believed that I could do it,” Konecny said of what powered him to the finish line. “I just kept telling myself to just keep going for a little longer. I kept telling myself that until the finish. I rolled into second, it was pretty surprising but it went quick. It was pretty painful, too.”
With a good deal of confidence behind him after Stage 2, Konecny closed out the final two days of the Pikes Peak Apex with eighth- and fourth-place finishes. Konecny finished the 30.9-mile Stage 3 in 2:08:42 and the 27.8-mile Stage 4 in 1:40:02.
Konecny viewed the final two stages as icing on the cake to what he feels like was a groundbreaking performance on the second day
“For me, this was a breakthrough week in terms of riding,” Konecny said. “These past few years have been a struggle to find myself on the bike with everything that has been happening. I just didn’t give up and I just kept training and kept pushing through. For that to slowly start to pay off is monumental.”
Konecny placed fourth overall in the men’s professional field to stand atop the podium with Finsterwald in first and Amos in second.
“Fourth place for me is a super high note for me to finish the season,” Konecney said. “From Breck Epic to now, I made monumental steps in terms of my fitness so it has been a really fast and quick progress.”
Konecny recognizes that setbacks will always be part of the sport, but he is hoping to use his experience over the last few years in order to carry him to more stellar results in the seasons to come.
“I want to keep that progression moving forward,” Konecny said. “Setbacks will always happen but I know now how to deal with certain things. Just having more tools to move forward is a good thing.”
Konecny will now take a break to recover from a busy mountain biking season. After resuming serious training in November and December, Konecny has his eyes on bike races in February.
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