It’s not often you hear of someone retiring at age 19, but that’s exactly what’s happened with Carter Paschinski.
The Red Deer native, who was one of the top downhill mountain bike competitors in Canada, is calling it quits despite being at the top of his sport.
“I’m taking welding at Red Deer College this fall so this was my last year,” he said. “It’s been good … I’ve enjoyed the sport, although this last season I didn’t take it quite as seriously as I did before. I just found I wasn’t as dedicated as I have other things such as my schooling.”
Paschinski played lacrosse as a youngster, but when he lost a bit of interest in the sport started looking for something else.
“I always enjoyed riding a bike and it was a good alternative to lacrosse,” he said. “I started riding competitively when I was 13 or 14 with a development team in Edmonton. When that shut down there was a parent of one of the other kids who wanted to put together a team of more serious athletes, who were into competing.”
He was selected to the AFD team when he was 14.
The team included three girls and three boys and is also in it’s final season. It was sponsored by AFD racing/ Santa Cruz Bikes/Spy Googles/Muscle Milk/Royal Racing and competed mainly in the B.C. Cup, which included seven races. He also competed at the Canadian championships and in the U.S.
“There really weren’t many races in Alberta, so it was mainly in B.C.,” he said. “There used to be one in Grande Prairie and we used to sponsor one but not for a couple of years.”
Downhill mountain biking is different than cross-country.
“We take a ski lift to the top, then bike down the mountain,” explained Paschinski. “It’s one person at a time and you race against the clock.”
Paschinski competed for AFD for four years and enjoyed every minute.
“It was a lot of fun, very enjoyable,” he said.
He finished third at the Canadian nationals in the U17 expert class two years ago and was 0.5 seconds behind third in the junior championships last year. He won the B.C. Cup last year and also attended the Nevada State championship, finishing second.
He also competed in the Red Bull Crankworks event in Whistler B.C. for the last three years, finishing in the top 20.
“That was a tough event as you’re up against the top racers, who compete at the World Cup level,” said Paschinski.
“But it was a great learning experience to see those top riders.”
Although his downhill mountain biking career may be over there’s a lot he will take from the experience.
“You have to be very mentally strong as you sit in the starting gate and listen to the count-down,” he said.
“But you need that to be successful. And it’s also something that will help me later in life and being able to deal with everyday situations.”
It’s doubtful Paschinski will return to mountain biking, but that doesn’t mean he’s done competing. His father, Paul, raced motocross and Carter has a dirt bike and can see himself taking up that sport one day.
“I can’t say for sure but there’s a chance, once I finish in college.”
He does comes from an athletic family as his sister, Sarah, played soccer at the University of Alberta. His mother, Sharlene, played a major role in his success.
“Without her, and my family, I wouldn’t have had a chance to compete. She drove me everywhere.”