Breckenridge’s Nico Konecny captures third national title at USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in Winter Park
Shortly after the celebration that comes with winning a national championship, the thought of capturing back-to-back titles often pushes its way into the minds of competitors and spectators alike.
After winning the 15- to 16-year-old cross-country national title in 2021, Breckenridge’s Nico Konecny entered the 2022 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in Winter Park looking to become a two-time national champion himself.
“It was the expectation and belief in a goal to win, but the competition in the 15- to 16-year-old category is very strong. I knew it would be a good race,” Konecny said. “I had to be prepared to give it my all.”
Instead of Konecny just defending his title, the 16-year-old endurance junkie won both the 15- to 16-year-old division’s cross-country title and the short track cross-country title. Now a three-time national champion, the titles show Konecny’s dominance in the sport.
Konecny, who competes as part of the Bear National Team, dominated in both races. In the cross-country race on Friday, July 22, Konecny beat out second place by a span of almost two minutes.
Konecny finished the course in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 58 seconds, making him the only competitor in the division to break 70 minutes.
“Before the race, I was definitely nervous because you have those expectations and that goal to defend it again,” Konecny said. “In the race, I tried to keep myself as calm and composed as I can to tactically play it smart and take it to the finish.”
On Sunday, July 24, Konecny geared himself up again, this time for his second national title of the weekend.
Konecny powered his way through the short distance course, setting himself apart from Luke Mosteller of Gravity Academy Racing. Konecny finished in a time of 28:01, 10 seconds in front of Mosteller, who placed second.
“I don’t know if it has set in yet, but I am extremely excited,” Konecny said of his double-national-championship performance. “I am not only happy with the two wins but the journey of the whole season to get there.”
Like any national title, a lot of hard work — often unseen — went into Konecny’s pair of national championship performances. Konecny was quick to note the massive support system around him, which includes his parents, brother, Lasse and coach, for his success throughout the season.
“I have just an amazing support crew,” Konecny said. “Being able to achieve your goal for the season, knowing how much hard work everyone has put in is so rewarding.”
It is because of Konecny’s parents that Konecny found his way into the sport. Inspired from an early age by his father, Thomas, Konency has been riding bikes for as long as he can remember.
“He was doing a whole bunch of local races, and we would travel to watch him,” Konecny said of his father. “It sparked an interest and love, in me, for the sport.”
Konecny says he grew more serious about the sport in 2016 when he attended his first national championship in Mammoth, California.
For the last six years, Konecny has tirelessly been putting in work — biking at least six days a week with one or two hard efforts built into the week. One of the favorite training routes of the Konecny brothers is Peak 9 Road in Breckenridge, which prepared both for the national championship course in Winter Park.
The Konecny brothers are ideal training partners for one another. The duo train together the majority of the season and work hard to push each other’s limits.
“My brother has a really big impact on me and cycling,” Konecny said. “I look up to him in so many ways and follow what he does. He’s basically my idol. We are super close. The brotherly competition between each other definitely keeps us pushing each other, and it is why we are where we are in the sport.”
With three national titles under his belt, Konecny will graduate to the 17- to 18-year-old age division next season. Konecny says he is done seriously racing for the rest of the season but may race the Breck Epic mountain bike race from Aug. 14-19.
Even though Konecny’s season may be over, he already has several goals outlined for next season when he competes in a new age division. His goals include getting the opportunity to compete in world cup races and competing at world championships.
In the long term Konecny hopes to rise to the upper echelons of the sport and continue to be an ambassador for the sport of mountain biking.
“I see all the amazing places cycling takes me,” Konecny said. “We go to all these beautiful and amazing places, and I want kids to have the same opportunity I have. I want people to enjoy the world we live in and do it while on a bike.”
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