There is no other way Max Scharf could dream of spending his weekend, than riding down the steep rough terrain that makes up the down hill mountain bike trails in the area.
That was especially true for Scharf this past weekend as he raced to a bronze medal in the 2016 Canadian Downhill Championships held at Sun Peaks.
“I was really, really stoked, it was a great feeling. Going into the race my goal was to finish in the top five, so getting third was beyond what I thought I could achieve,” said Scharf.
The fact that he was the third fastest down the mountain is an impressive feat when you consider the competition he was up against in the 46 racer field.
Racing in the Pro Elite category, Scharf was matched up against seasoned veterans and Mark Wallace, ranked 15th in the downhill mountain biking world cup standings. Scharf finished a mere eight seconds behind.
This was not Scharf’s first year racing in the event, but it was his first time racing in the Pro Elite division.
“It was a bit surreal racing against some of the world cup guys, especially Mark Wallace, but I held my own out there.”
Mountain biking since he was five, Scharf says his competitive nature has always been at the forefront of his sporting endeavours.
In his earlier years he was a competitive ski racer, but he made the transition to competitive downhill mountain biking four years ago, and hasn’t looked back.
“I have a lot of competition racing experience and I think that played a big role this weekend and will continue to as I go forward,” said Scharf.
Next weekend on Aug. 6 to 7, he will compete in the world cup event at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec, the last competition before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
This will mark the second time for Scharf to race at the world cup event at Mont-Sainte-Anne.
“The first time was a huge learning experience since it was my first time at that level.”
Following the event in Quebec, Scharf is hopeful he will be able to qualify for the next world cup event at Vallnord in Andorra at the beginning of September.
Despite the prospect of races in Quebec and Andorra, Scharf has his sights firmly fixed on the world championships which will take place in Val Di Sole, Italy in mid-September.
“If I put down some good rides in the next few races, then anything is possible,” he said.
Scharf will continue to train throughout the summer on the trails at Silver Star and in the gym working on strength and conditioning to reach his goal, without a coach.
He has never had a day of formal mountain bike coaching in his life, which makes his accomplishment all the more impressive.
Looking into the next few years, Scharf is hoping a string of good performances this season will lead to being picked up by a trade team and racing on the world cup tour full time.
“My goal is to make a career out of mountain biking, and always work in the bike industry in some capacity,” said Scharf.