Krasny earns sixth in Italy 

Melamed injured in Val di Fassa

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - CARTING ON Carter Krasny placed sixth in U21 men's at the Enduro World Series race in Val di Fassa, Italy.
  • Photo submitted
  • CARTING ON Carter Krasny placed sixth in U21 men's at the Enduro World Series race in Val di Fassa, Italy.

Whistler enduro rider Carter Krasny acquitted himself well in his first international Enduro World Series (EWS) race in Portugal this spring, placing 14th, and he made several strides forward in his second outing.

Competing in Val di Fassa, Italy on June 29, Krasny earned a sixth-place finish in the U21 men's category, finishing a minute and 2.74 seconds (1:02.74) back of champion Antoine Vidal of France.

Krasny, who won his age division on the Canadian National Enduro Series tour in 2018, said he grew as a rider in the time between the Portugal and Italy races, especially after he absorbed what the European contests are like. Prior to the Madeira, Portugal race, Krasny's only EWS experience came here in Whistler.

"I've spent a lot more time on my bike since the last EWS race, and getting to do some Canadian races, focusing more on racing definitely helped. I feel a lot more confident on my bike and the setup is really good right now," he said.

In Italy, Krasny's best results came on the two longest stages, which happened to open and close the day. The first stage was the most similar to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park's technical offerings and allowed him to start strong with the third-best time.

"The first stage was the most similar to the Whistler bike park, so that definitely helped me on that one," he said.

Stage 5, in which he placed fifth, was Krasny's favourite on the day as it gave riders several different experiences in the nearly 14-minute descent (Krasny finished in 13:48.41).

"It started with alpine up top with the most insane views, then it was just very fast alpine riding until the treeline, where it got more technical and switchbacky. Then it went into, at the very end, we got to race through the city and they set up wooden ramps and features through the city," he said. "The whole town was there. The mayor came out. It was a really big deal for the city of Canazei."

Krasny explained that during the offseason, he focused on cross-country riding in order to build his fitness and endurance, and he saw it pay off in spades.

"The fitness part of enduro races is quite important on the longer stages because you can make up a lot of time," he said. "I'm definitely focused on fitness in the offseason, so I find longer stages are just better for me."

There were some challenges to the contest, as Krasny noted that the biggest changes he had to adjust to were the tight corners that were commonplace throughout the race.

"They have 90-degree corners on the trails," he said. "Once I got the hang of those, and hit those well, then you can go pretty fast.

"You had to brake early for the corners to go fast. You had to slow yourself down to go faster, because if you're just bombing down into the corners and messing them up, then you'd come out with no speed.

"That was definitely an adjustment from the corners in Whistler, where the trails are built more (with the) fall line and you can carry speed more easily, even when you have to really work to carry speed out of them."

With all the speed changes along the course, Krasny said, it was all the more important that he was fit and prepared to find his quickness again after a corner.

"You wouldn't think in training that (the corners) were so physical, but then when you're actually racing without stopping, with all the corners, you're definitely draining a lot of energy working to hit all those tight corners well," he said. "You don't think about it, but during the race, it definitely tied you up, for sure."

The Val di Fassa race had scorching temperatures, which challenged Krasny in a way that he hadn't been so far this year, with Whistler not seeing similar highs when he's ridden here.

"It was definitely an adjustment getting used to the heat and racing, and with the longer stages, it definitely was really tiring," he said.

Krasny was speaking from France, where he'll take on the fifth EWS race of the season in Les Orres. Early forecasts suggested one of the two race days would bring some rain, which would suit Krasny just fine.

"I'm quite excited for that because we haven't had a muddy race yet this year and I like riding in the rain," he said. "I'm kind of hoping it rains for that one."

In the pro event, Whistler's Jesse Melamed saw his promising season abruptly halted. Melamed, who placed third in two of the first three races, injured himself in a crash. He said it was all the more frustrating considering he was riding conservatively.

"I wasn't taking chances and I was riding happy and within myself. I knew exactly the section I was in, I slowed up to make the corner like I wanted, and then a rock rolled on me and it sent me careening off the side. I managed to avoid the trees but my ankle took the brunt of the impact when I did hit the ground. I'm pretty pissed off. I was putting together a consistent season and I was fully confident I could keep it going. So I don't know what else I can do but heal up and try again," Melamed posted to his Instagram account.

On the women's side, former Whistlerite and current Squamish resident Andreane Lanthier Nadeau posted her best-ever EWS finish, taking second to France's Isabeau Coudurier. Other local finishers included Georgia Astle in 14th and Leonie Picton in 29th.

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