Just a couple days ago we took the chance and invited Matthias Stonig from the MS Mondraker team for a short interview. Matthias, most previously known from downhill racing made ​​it on a 5th place at the Specialized Enduro Series SRAM in Riva del Garda and then great 2nd place at the race in Samerberg. Time to talk with him about his success.

Specialized SRAM Enduro Series Matthias Stonig Mondraker Dune MS Mondraker Enduro Race Bike Check Samerberg 2014

ENDURO: Hello Matthias, please give our readers some informations about yourself:

Matthias:Hello, my name is Matthias Stonig. I live in Villach / Austria, I am 24 years old and ride for the MS Mondraker team. In the recent years you could see me only on the downhill bike, but not least thanks to the persuasion of my teammates Markus Pekoll and Max Stöckl now I start to race on the Enduro circuit in this season.

With a ranking of 5 in Riva and 2nd place at the race in Samerberg you have already earned two very good results this year. Was the change from downhill to enduro easy for you?

Honestly, after all that happened, I did not expect that. I spent almost 11 months not on the bike. I had assembled my bike just 3 days before the race and then I went straight to Riva. I actually wanted to stay out of the race action and really enjoy biking without the clock in mind this year – just having fun.
Although I used to keep myself always against Enduro, I’m there now, and I belong to it. Thus you will mainly see me on the Enduro bike in the future.

Matthias landete bei seinem zweiten Enduro Rennen der Saison direkt auf dem 2. Rang.
Matthias landed on his second Enduro race of the season directly to the second rank.

If we look at your Facebook page correctly, you have already had a lot of injuries:

Pfft, yes that’s true, when it comes to injuries I’m really up in front with it. I have destroyed both shoulders in the last two years and in between still broke my hand.

Matthias Stonig mit seinem Mondraker Dune auf dem Weg zu Platz zwei - trotz einiger technischer Probleme.
Matthias Stonig with his Mondraker Dune on the way to the second place.

Oh that sounds bad, and luck does not seem to be on your side. Just a short time ago we read that you’ve hurt yourself again. What happened and how do you motivate yourself to give full throttle after each injury again?

Yes that was a major setback again, I was training in the bikepark in Maribor. There I crashed in a right corner. I do not know why. First I thought my handlebar or rim would be broken, but then I saw that something is wrong with my arm. Then I saw that my left hand is pretty twisted and is clearly not to be used that way.

So it was time to get quickly back to the car and off to the hospital. The shoulder was dislocated for an hour and thus quite a lot of blood was collected in the hinge, a tendon also was almost completely ripped off.
I really thought I’m in the wrong movie! Now, after a three week break with a lots of physical therapy and training everything is okay!

That thing with the motivation is something I often can not explain to myself, but a major role play in any case, all my friends and the whole MS Mondraker Crew who straighten up me again and again. In the end, I think, the time has to come where it works out for me, so it is, just stay tuned!

Der erfahrene Downhiller fühlt sich auf dem leichten Bike auf Anhieb sehr wohl.
The experienced downhiller also feels very comfortable on the light bike.

We are in the middle of the season, in the standings of different races you have hardly any chance, do you still have any goals for this year?

Yes, I have lost a lot by the injury again, so for me it is important to get back to the old speed as quickly as possible. My next race will be the stop of the European Series in Kronplatz. The big goal is then to make everything right at the last Enduro World Series race in Finale Ligure.
As I said, this year is for me really still just a test.

How far can the DH and Enduro training compare and what are the biggest differences?

In my estimation, speed and power are the same in both disciplines. For me it is necessary to work on my basic endurance and the skill to handle the rhythm changes between uphill and downhill.
Riding itself is very similar, it applies to be on the track smoothly and cleanly and keep the speed. When the opportunity arises, it is then to pump all available watts into the bike.

Der Uphill aus eigener Kraft ist noch etwas ungewohnt für Matthias.
The Uphill on its own is still a bit unusual for Matthias.

Do you you train a lot with your fellow countryman and team-mate Mark Pekoll?

Oh Peki and I, we not only train a lot in common we also had actions where everything was on the limit. I would say we are pretty good homies!
In training we have a lot of thoughts together. So you can say, yes we are training partners.

Actions at the limit? Tell us more about it!

I think that should remain among us. LAUGHS

In winter in Austria you can not really go mountain biking, how did you prepare yourself for this season?

To be honest, not at all. Because of all the injuries, I was more concerned with rehabilitation and physical therapy, and had no thought to the bike. I have completed some cross-country races. In the end there were 10 races and to top it off, the Vasaloppet in Sweden with 90km length. After that race , I knew, the shoulders should be maintained.

If he isn't injured Matthias spends a lot of time in the snow.
If he isn’t injured Matthias spends a lot of time in the snow.

Are you still riding a lot on the downhill bike?

The last time I rode my dh bike was on the beginning of August 2013. Now I will put myself with the enduro bike on the downhill tracks and work there on my technique and speed.
Therefore the moment I’m still with the thoughts often on the heavy bike and brake way too late in each berm, so I do not come out with the speed I would like to have. The lightweight bike forgives simply much less!

Racing gives you the opportunity to travel a lot, what was your highlight trip so far?

For sure Canada, Whistler-Silverstar-Golden-Mountain

Do you have a favorite trail you can tell us arround your house?

Unfortunately, it is still as a semi-legal thing in Austria. By almost every ride you need to rejoice on a nice conversation with landowners, hunters or foresters.
My tip is from Villach to the Dobratsch summit then to Bad Bleiberg down – 1,700 meters of the finest trail!

Super, thank you for the interview and all the best for the next races and injury-free future!

If you want to know more about Matthias, visit his Facebook-Page or the website form the MS-Mondraker team.

Words: Christoph Bayer Bilder: Axel Brunst / Robin Schmitt / private

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