Konecny brothers win Colorado Junior Cup mountain bike races
DILLON — In a summer when sports have struggled to return to their traditional formats due to the pandemic, Lasse and Nicholas “Nico” Konecny of Breckenridge have made the most of the races they’ve been able to enter.
This past weekend, the Konecny brothers each won their age division at the first Colorado Junior Cup mountain bike event of a three-race series in Castle Rock.
“It’s been hard having motivation without races to look forward to and events to perform at,” Nico said. “Being back on the bike, there’s amazing competitors. It’s really awesome and enjoyable. It’s a great environment. Everyone is following the rules, wearing masks. Everyone feels safe.”
Lasse, 16, won the four-lap, 24-mile boy’s expert race in 1 hour, 42 minutes and 32.8 seconds, more than two minutes faster than the other 27 cyclists.
Nico, 14, won a three-lap race on the same course with a time of 1:23:17.9, more than five minutes faster than any of the dozen other racers. For the Konecnys, the win followed up strong finishes at the Vail Recreation District’s summer mountain bike series. At those races, Nico has won a sport men, short course race while Lasse has finished in second once and third twice in the pro division.
Both the Vail Recreation series and the Colorado Junior Cup feature traditional races where cyclists start at the same time and race together from spots that are spread out along the start line. These races have allowed for the Konecny brothers to continue to race in a traditional format while targeting next year as the season they are building up toward.
“It kind of made me feel like life’s getting back to normal given the circumstances,” Nico said. “We’ve been working and training really hard with (coach) Jim Galanes, putting in work for next year. That’s our long-term goal. … We want to focus on our weaknesses and overall build as athletes to be better for next year, so that if racing continues, we can be the best we can be.”
Lasse said the Colorado Junior Cup race features some of the top high school cyclists in the state. Lasse took the lead over Robbie Day about halfway through the race before extending his margin on the fast, turny gravel course with punch climbs. Nico rode with a lead pack through the first lap before taking a lead he’d never relinquish.
Lasse described the opportunity to race as a privilege and mentioned how he’s disappointed friends of his, such as those on Summit High School’s sports teams, can’t play in competition this fall. Looking ahead to the next few months, he’s hopeful the COVID-19 situation improves and he can travel to Europe, where he plans to race in an Union Cycliste Internationale event in the Czech Republic.
“But that’s still up in the air,” Lasse said. “There’s nothing determined or decided at all right now.”
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