Sea to Sky mountain bikers Tegan Cruz and Jackson Goldstone have been leaving their competition in the dust this season and making a case for the best in the world in their respective age categories.
Goldstone, 17, who is in his first year of eligibility for the Junior World Cup circuit, has six first-place finishes and multiple podium appearances this season across Crankworx, World Cup and Enduro World Series events.
Despite all the success, he’s trying not to put too much stock into the results so he can stay focused on the task at hand of finishing the year atop the Junior World Cup rankings.
“I don’t really ever try to label myself [as the best] just to keep me focused on racing and not how other people label me but it definitely feels good when other people say that—[I’ve] definitely got a little bit more to prove, though,” said Goldstone about finishing the season strong, starting with the World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy this week.
“The biggest challenge is probably the other riders right now. Everyone else is doing really good this year. I’ve had a couple really close battles with this one kid named Jordan from the U.K. and another close battle with this Spanish kid named Pao, so everyone else is going really fast and I’ve been getting a bit lucky to stay on top.”
Cruz, on the other hand, while shocked that people are talking about him as one of the best in the world, is embracing it a little bit more than Goldstone.
“I still kind of think about all that stuff as unbelievable,” he said. “I’m not really thinking about that very much while I’m riding or anything, and it still comes as a bit of a shock, but it’s a really cool thing to hear and is a big confidence booster coming in to my first year of junior next year.”
However, the praise isn’t unwarranted, as Cruz has picked up four first-place finishes already this year and hasn’t missed the podium a single time in the U17 category.
“At the start of the year I was pretty nervous just not knowing how I would compare to everyone else and with not racing in 2020,” said Cruz. “But it’s going really well, and every race is just fuel to the fire for the next one.”
Cruz, who became the UCI U17 Downhill National Champion in Kicking Horse a couple weeks ago, is already setting his sights on next year when he makes the jump to the Junior World Cup circuit.
“I’m really trying to focus on my riding and just pushing and really trying to find my limit on all these tracks just to prepare me for the upcoming season and to just keep pushing to be the best,” said Cruz.
“I keep comparing my time to the category above me and it’s showing that I will be able to compete at that level, but really just looking forward to next year in junior and proving what I got at the World Cup.”
Of course, when he gets there, Pemberton’s Cruz and Squamish’s Goldstone will be going head-to-head—a challenge the long-time friends are looking forward to.
“It’s definitely cool seeing Jackson taking that No. 1 spot at the World Cup, especially just to see Canadians doing so well,” said Cruz. “But he’s always been one of my fiercest competitors, so my goal is to be on that top step at the World Cup next year and to be a big competitor with Jackson and everyone else there.”
However, Goldstone isn’t ready to give up that top spot just yet, even if it is to his friend and Trek teammate.
“He’s definitely got a lot going for him. He’s on a really good team, he’s got a really good bike, and the people around him are pretty good … He’s got all the resources, so we’ll see what he can do in the offseason,” he said.
“I’ll play king of the hill for as long as I can and try to stay with it, but I’m super keen to have him in the Junior category next year so we can battle it out as some friendly Canadians.”