It has been barely eight years since Nicholas Knight entered his first mountain biking race as a five-year-old sporting a Spongebob Squarepants “uniform.”
But the 13-year-old Qualicum Beach youth is already making waves in the sport, and recently completed the 2016 Island Cup cross-country series with a runner-up finish in the intermediate U-19 division.
“I remember we were helping run the Hammerfest (in Errington) and we were looking at each other like, what are we going to do with this little kid?” said Val Burton. “They let him enter, but a couple of the club guys went out with him, to kind of act as chaperone because they don’t know how he can ride. Well, he rode the whole thing like it was nothing, and he never shut up the whole time. Chatter, chatter, chatter.”
Val and her husband, Rod Burton, would later sponsor Knight by providing his first full-suspension bike about a year and a half ago. He’s hardly been off it since.
“I used to play soccer, but I gave it up because it conflicted with my riding,” said Knight, who rides twice a week with the Arrowsmith Mountain Biking Club.
“I like the competition, because it pushes me harder to train. It was good to see how well I did this year because I’m a year younger than the guy who beat me (in the Island Cup series).”
Knight will take a break from racing, but continue to ride and train in preparation for the fall racing season.
“His oneness with the bike is unreal,” said Burton. “He enjoys his time with the bike and he’s a fanatic. This is his life.”