THE ROOF OF THE WORLD! Local resident wins world cycling race title

Wearing the stars and stripes of the United States, Seth Stevens races to victory in Gotland, Sweden.

DANBURY — Like the (brand new) 20-year-old that he is, Seth Stevens is full of adjectives — “surreal,” “crazy,” “pretty awesome” — to describe possibly the best week of his young life.

Stevens went overseas for the first time, flew only the third time, celebrated his birthday by buying his first beer, and was crowned the first Kalk One Design Race Series World Champion which took place. held in Gotland, Sweden.

The bike is an electric motorcycle made by a Swedish company called CAKE. It’s kind of a cross between a bike and a dirt bike, the two that Stevens excels at riding.

“I connected with them through my Instagram account,” Stevens said. “Their bikes looked really fun to ride. I was curious, as they were just starting out in the US, if they would be interested in sending me one of their bikes to promote it through my social media and benefit everyone. So that’s what they did. I started making videos and promoting them at “normal” bike races where everyone participates. »

Then the folks at CAKE invited Stevens to come to Sweden to compete in the first world championships using the new style of bike. The mixed event featured 16 riders from 1o different countries competing head-to-head in a round robin format. The short track was created specifically for the CAKE racing bike, which all riders competed on.

“It was their first world championship which they will start doing every year. To begin with, they hadn’t guaranteed me a place to run because they already had a sponsor who had two other American athletes to run. But one of them contracted COVID and the other couldn’t get a passport in time. They let me know about a week before the event that I definitely had a spot to race.

But there was a problem: Stevens didn’t have a passport either. But aides from State Representative Kyle Hall and U.S. Senator Thom Tillis arranged things so he could make the trip and represent the United States.

CAKE paid for travel expenses and a hotel for the week. “It was my first time leaving the country and it was kind of scary going alone,” Stevens said. “I had to stop in Paris for my connecting flight and couldn’t find anyone who spoke English, so I almost missed my flight because I couldn’t find my gate. But once I arrived almost everyone was fluent in English and very nice.

“I was the only American; the majority of the rest were from Europe. Many were Enduro (MTB) or Motocross world champions or national champions. They are all very qualified and experienced on a motorcycle. I didn’t know what to expect because I knew they were all really legit. Many of them were professionals. So I knew they wouldn’t be easy to face.

While the races were short, two-lap sprints, the format called for around 15 races each during the three-day event. “Everyone ran everyone. It was back to back, bam-bam-bam, very fast.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Stevens found himself at the top, as he’s consistently been successful in both ATV and dirt bike racing.

“This e-bike is a good mix of a bicycle and a dirt bike. These days I ride more bicycles than dirt bikes. I felt like having experience in both worlds maybe gave me a little edge.

But he suffered an early setback when he was eliminated in his first race by colliding with another driver. “After that I didn’t think I could come back with enough points to be able to win because I had lost so much in that one mistake. But I stayed consistent throughout the weekend and ended up level with one of the Swedish national champions after the very last race. The officials decided the winner based on who had the most wins that day, and that was me. It was quite a thrilling experience to see who was going to be the winner.

“I kept thinking it would be so cool to win,” he said. “So I really put my head down and I really wanted to. I had a lot of jet lag and lack of sleep so there were a lot of things holding me back. It was hard to believe when they said I I was the world champion. After going through all the hassle to get there, it was worth it.

Back in the States, Stevens rides for a downhill mountain bike manufacturer called Specialized. Its season is coming to an end and will start again next March.

He also works for his grandfather Barry Stevens at the BJ Stevens Furniture and Appliance store as a delivery and installation specialist. “I do pretty much every job they have,” he added.

Stevens has over 22,300 followers on his Instagram account (#sethstevens14). His 17-year-old brother, Noah, is also a racing champion, currently ranked 8th in the nation. Her parents are Mandy and Bryan Stevens.

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