Cochrane's Cody Matechuk keeps raising the profile on the sport of snow biking.
Defending his gold medal title, Matechuk claimed another first-place finish at the Aspen X Games last weekend (January 24-27).
Stoked to walk away in first place, Matechuk says this year was a tough one, and the pressure was on. "There were a few things that added up; both having the pressure to repeat, as well as, all the brand new big sponsors on board with Scott and Monster, there was definitely some pressure there. I know we had the speed and I had an amazing team behind me to make it happen, the package was there, I just couldn't mess up."
A mechanical issue in about lap three, had Matechuk thinking he would be relegated to a second place finish but the race quickly turned in his favour. "We started making some ground on first place. When the time came to try and make something happen, I hoped to pull through with the win, but it was a very stressful race."
Although snow biking is still a low profile sport, things are starting to pick up, and more and more competition is coming out. "There is a lot of riders that were new this season. In the two years previous they brought in a lot of celebrities to fill in the spots, and now we're getting into the point where we almost have a full pro-grid of riders that are specific to snow bike. It is good to see everyone catching up and taking it seriously; it's pretty cool."
Matechuk had to make some difficult decisions over the past few months and none which came easily to the gold medal athlete. "This summer I had to let Motovan go which was a long time sponsor of mine for the past ten years when I started with street bikes; they gave a lot, and we had a great run, but sometimes you've got to move on. We have a sweet crew now and basically the program we built this year will be what we look like for the next three or four years with Monster, Scott, Yamaha, and Yeti being long-term players. I am excited to get some roots down and build off of this. It will make next season a lot easier; we don't have those contract negotiations, we are ready just to move forward and get into prep."
Getting ready for this year's competitive season took Matechuk to Quebec to train on some groomed tracks, which he feels was extremely beneficial. "I learned a lot; it was nice to be able to have that time on a track. It is so hard to have a track in BC and that snow is high up, so we find ourselves riding fifteen to twenty k up into the mountains to build a track and it's just too hard. So I decided to go out east and got the testing I needed, and it all worked out. Being able to ride that almost every day and put in the time on my bike was a huge benefit."
Competing in the Soaring Eagle Snocross National Series at Mt. Pleasant in Michigan today and tomorrow (February 1st and 2nd), Matechuk is doing this one old school. "It was a last minute decision to do this series so I had to get my bike into this other racer's trailer and he's bringing it out for me, but I am definitely not going to be in the same level. I don't have my mechanics or my trailer with me; I am just going in there with my rental car and gear bag while hoping my bike doesn't break down. It's going back to the days of racing out of the back end of a pickup truck."
Continuing his quest to raise the profile of the overall sport, Matechuk will once again do a little filming and spend the next few months training and touring the backcountry. "I am trying to look at the long-term plan and what will help expand the sport and expand my program. I think doing some of these races and getting into the spotlight is going to help in a big way. I believe we're not that far off from having our own race series, factory teams, and everything here. So I am just putting in the time and show that I want to be there, and hopefully, some things come out of it."
Matechuk is looking forward to coming home to Cochrane for a few days before his ride continues.