Bryn is a Downhill Mountain Bike racer, hailing from Wellington, New Zealand and currently travelling and riding in Europe. We sat down with Bryn for a quick Q & A, check it out!
Let’s kick things off with a bit of an intro- how did you meet the team at Select Contracts?
I met the Select Contracts team through the development of the new adventure park in Porirua, New Zealand. I live 10 minutes from the park’s location and went along to one of the information days to see what it was all about. I was introduced to Chris, Darron and Ange through a mutual friend and was really impressed with the plans for the park and their enthusiasm to create an amazing experience for riders and visitors alike to come and enjoy the area. It is a stunning location and one that has been under-utilized for years so I was really excited to hear that something was in the works!
We hit it off and stayed in touch while the park goes through the various processes before it is given the green light. It has been a massive feat to get it this far – I really can’t wait to put my bike on the gondola and shred some trails!
How would you describe the downhill racing scene for the audience that knows nothing about the mountain bike industry?
The downhill scene is awesome and the easiest way to describe it is like the Formula 1 of biking. The pinnacle of speed within mountain biking where it all comes down to one run that can be separated by less than a half a second. To be fair, we definitely don’t have the glamour of Formula 1, haha! But we are definitely way cooler!
In terms of competing as a racer, if you can imagine putting yourself in a washing machine with a brick for 5 minutes while trying to sprint the entire time and stay focused on what is coming up next. It’s reasonably full on.
What are your main motivations to race? What keeps you coming back?
I love going fast and pushing myself to improve, both in my speed and my consistency. Hearing the crowd yelling when you cross the line knackered knowing that you have put in a really good effort and being rewarded with the result you want is amazing!
Downhill is also a highly technical sport and I really enjoy the challenge of figuring out the mechanics of going faster. It is a sport where a weakness in technique is instantly highlighted and I find it incredibly satisfying finding and fixing my own weaknesses to improve my riding.
What have been your highlights?
Winning the Continental Championships in 2016 was a highlight, as was finishing top 20 at the Val di Sole World Cup in 2017 and winning a European cup in 2018. Nothing beats the feeling of standing on the top step of the podium but the top 20 in Val di Sole was the last race of a tough season for me and it was amazing way to end the year and re-stoke the motivation for 2018!
What about the low points – we never want them to happen, but they inevitably do – what was this point for you and what was your takeaway from this experience?
I have my fair share of low points over the years. I broke my femur badly in 2013 and developed compartment syndrome as a result of this. Coming back from this was a big challenge both physically and mentally. The takeaways from this for me was that regardless of what happens to you, with hard work and determination you can overcome anything. I like to think that I achieved this as my 3 main highlights of my career all came after this injury.
I am also currently coming back from double ankle surgery in the off season as a result of injuries sustained last year so I am going through the process all over again…but this time I have the experience and know what to do! Bring it on!
If we were to build you a bike park anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Right outside my house, and we aren’t far off that being a reality either! There is so much potential around where I live that there could easily be 4 or 5 parks! I think my ideal location would be a hill of about 600 vertical meters with a steep gradient and dirt that drained well, ideally with big trees too. It would definitely need to be somewhere without too much rain so most likely in Australia.
What’s your earliest memory of biking?
Building sweet ramps out of my dads building timber and jumping over my friends. Mum was always worried we would land on each other but I reckon we always had it nailed! Pun intended
If you could only ride in one place the rest of your life, where would it be and why?
That is such a tough question because I have ridden in so many awesome places! I honestly have no idea how to narrow it down so I’m going to give you a couple!
For jumps and flow it would have to be Whistler, Canada. The most incredible jumps and so much variety you just can’t beat it! If we are talking about corners and flat out speed – Schladming, Austria has both coupled with the most amazing dirt that you just don’t get anywhere else. So good!
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’m a full on sleep talker/walker, to the point where I woke myself up barking once! I’m also pretty good at speed eating.
In ten years, what do you think you will be most nostalgic about today?
Getting to focus on racing my bike at the highest level all around the world. It is something that I never take for granted and feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to spend these years pursuing my dream!
At the same time, I have plans and ideas for once I finish racing so I reckon I’ll put my energy into making some of these come to life and I’ll be more than busy!