By Andrew Mitchell
The cycling season is well underway, and Whistler riders are right in the thick of it with appearances at 26Trix in Austria, the Race the Ranch B.C. Cup in Kamloops, at the Pre-Test Test of Metal qualifier in Squamish, and at the Atomic Road Race in Abbotsford.
Two up and coming Whistler freeriders, Alex Prochazka and Kyle McDonald, distinguished themselves at the 26Trix slopestyle contest in Austria last weekend while facing some of the top European riders. Neither qualified for the finals, but they will be remembered just the same.
Prochazka broke out a double backflip over a gap jump in the qualifier, only the second one ever landed in a mountain bike contest according to some websites. Pro rider Andreu Lacondeguy landed the same trick later in the contest, but on his third attempt.
Prochazka took the lead-in jump cautiously, then threw the huge double while a disbelieving crowd looked on. He didn’t have enough speed to carry himself over the next gap, and by the time he picked himself off the dirt he was swarmed by other riders. The video is online at www.matchvideozine.com .
Unfortunately he did not finish that qualifier run and finished just out of the top-15 in 17 th place, just ahead of McDonald. They watched the finals from the sideline, but were not disappointed by their showing.
Pique caught up to Prochazka by e-mail, and asked where he picked up the double backflip.
“I worked on it sporadically for like a month or so last year in the Air Dome, but I didn’t do it this year before I took it to dirt,” he said.
“I didn’t call it to a lot of people at the contest, so not a lot of people knew that I was going to do it, but I didn’t want to wuss out right before the jump and let those people down. It was hard because the only things that were running through my head were all the bad things that could happen, so that really made me nervous.”
The previous weekend, Prochazka placed second in the amateur class in the Wheels of Speed World Downhill Challenge in Willingen, Germany. He also placed 23 rd overall in a field that included all the top World Cup racers.
When asked what his plans are for the summer, Prochazka said he was going to keep working on tricks, as well as his downhill skills.