To say that Gracia’s demeanor changed would be lying, because it didn’t, he remained quite smiley, which is what made what he said next all the more intense.
"For fourcross (bikercross) it’s always hard to go to a semi-final because you have to fight," said Gracia who is one of the world’s top mountain bikers in town this week for Crankworx.
"But the thing is you can see them (the other riders) and I can fight with them and I don’t give a shit how big they are because I’m always the skinniest in the group anyway.
"When I ride with Brian (Lopes) and all these massive dudes from Quebec I look like a goof ball at the gate.
"But I don’t give a shit though because I just want to kill them.
"In the down hill it’s the same.
"Around the gate everyone is super serious but I just try to avoid this and say ‘well these guys don’t know yet, I’m just going to kill you’.
"I just get stressed maybe 10 seconds before the beep stops, but out of the gate I just go crazy, I don’t care about anything, I don’t think about anything, I just pedal.
"On the slopestyle I just have a hard time making up my mind what I want to do.
"Through qualifying I don’t go too crazy, just try to be smooth, but when I make it to the final you better watch out because I want to go big.
"I always think about stuff I’ve never tried before and just do it, like flips and stuff.
"I try to make some ski jumps into bike jumps like a rodeo (trick), but that’s what I’m going to try and do this week, some sideways flips."
So there you have it, that’s the mindset the rest of the best riders will be competing against this week and the kind of mindset that, somewhat graphically, describes why Gracia will probably win a lot, like he did last year.
Gracia competes on the World Cup circuit but he said he enjoys competing in Whistler just as much.
"I almost like better to win races like this than winning World Cups because it’s more relaxed and the crowd is better and we’re here in Whistler in the mountain bike scene, which is sick," he said.
In addition to his mountain biking, Gracia was also a top ski racer when he was younger.
"I used to do FIS racing but I stopped because I was thinking it was kind of gay to go training everyday in a ski suit and I wasn’t earning any money — that’s gay."
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