Born and raised in Jasper, Magnus Stenlund knows a thing or two when comes to mountain biking.
The 15-year-old has been hitting Jasper’s grueling uphill, rock-filled, root infested trails since he was just a little tyke trying to keep up with his dad and now he’s leading the pack amongst his peers.
“I’ve always liked the challenge that comes with the sport,” Stenlund said. “You’re not always going to have the best rides or the easiest rides, but for me I always feel good when I get back from a ride.”
Stenlund was recently selected to compete in this year’s Alberta Summer Games, July 14-17.
“I have no idea what it’s going to be like I’m just honoured to be going,” said Stenlund, adding that he’s nervous and excited all at the same time.
The Alberta Summer Games, which are being held in Leduc this year, includes riders from eight different zones across the province. Each zone has an under-13, under-15 and under-17 category for girls and boys, respectively. Two riders are picked from each zone for each category.
Stenlund qualified for one of zone five’s U-17 spots after winning the qualifying race in Devon, June 14.
“There was a bit of a climb, but it wasn’t very technical. The middle section had a lot of weaves and you had to find your way through a lot of trees but it was pretty smooth,” said Stenlund about the qualifying race. “It wasn’t at all like riding here, but it was a lot of fun.”
Despite years of experience, this will be Stenlund’s biggest race to date.
“I’ve raced against other people, but nothing ever like this,” he said. “Until last year I didn’t really think of this as a competitive sport it was just something I liked doing. Then I started doing a couple of races and realized I liked that and now I guess I’m going to the games.”
In preparation for the big event, Stenlund said he’s been out biking on Jasper’s trails almost every day.
“Not only does it prepare me physically but also mentally,” Stenlund said. “I’m kind of expecting the worst but hoping for the best, but overall I’m just going to enjoy the experience and whatever happens, happens.”
In the future, Stenlund said he’s hopes to continue biking competitively and eventually start competing in 24-hour races.
By Kayla Byrne fitzhugh.ca
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