Knolly’s Little Rippers

December 14, 2018

With the holiday season approaching, it makes us think about family and the things that we love to do. If you’re reading this story, you’re likely a mountain bike enthusiast. Many of us first jumped on our two wheeled friends in our youth, these days I see little rippers hopping on their run bikes and riding their local urban pathways just after they learn how to walk. On the trails, I’m super stoked to see more and more kids getting out and tearing it up in the dirt. There’s nothing better than watching the pride and smile of a kid’s face after they rip down a trail or hit a drop that was beyond their dreams of completing. On top of that, they’re getting fresh air, building skills, gaining confidence and checking the exercise box all at the same time… truly a parent’s dream sport.


It’s no surprise that more and more youth are getting into mountain biking and at Knolly, we’re stoked to have a pool of young talented riders on our Grassroots Racing Team. Our little rippers were first introduced to the sport by their parents and were nurtured to build their skills and endurance so that they could compete in their local race scene.

 

During this holiday season, we wanted to share their stories with you, and give every youth rider a big high five! We hope that all kids get the opportunity to ride in a way that makes them smile, charges their soul and provides them with incredible adventure.
 

Top Photo: David Blucher "Talentspotter on Flickr”

Right Photo: Rob O'Brien

 

Rider: Emily O’Brien

Rides: Delirium & Warden

Community: Canberra, Australia

IG: @downhill_chick

 

How did you get into the sport?

I was around 9 years old when I first started mountain biking, beginning with XC. My mom wanted me to try something new, I was game and we made riding a sport my whole family could do together. Shortly after, I started racing XC locally. In December 2014, I remember chatting with the new Junior World Champ, Tegan Molloy, and she suggested that I try Downhill racing. It took me two full years before I could convince my parents to let me try DH but I finally raced my first Downhill course in December 2016. I haven’t looked back and love it! I now ride a Knolly Delirium and a Knolly Warden for downhill and enduro.

 

Favorite Trails and Races

My all-time favorite local place to ride is Mount Stromlo in Canberra because it offers a variety of XC and Downhill trails. My overall top favorite areas would be either Greenvalleys MTB Park in NSW or the Redwood forest trails in Rotorua NZ. In relation to top races, I look forward to the Rockytrail Entertainment downhill and the flow races every year because I get to ride with close friends and it’s always super fun! I also love racing our National Series.

 

Inspiration

What truly motivates and inspires me are all the amazing people involved in the races, whether it’s the people I race with or the race organizers. My mentor and role model is Tegan Molloy because she is an amazing person on and off the trail. I hope to follow in her footsteps and be as successful as her. In addition, many other riders have helped me along the way with key support coming from Jenney (nee Fay) Blair, Tracey Hannah, Sian Ahern and Claire Whiteman.

 

People ask me what I love about riding most? I love it when after climbing a slog of hill (when my legs are throbbing) and then I get to hit the bermed corners at high speeds and pop off super fun jumps. I am still learning and getting better with the steeper technical parts of the track and each time I conquer something tough, it excites me to ride and try more.

 

Looking in the future 

I hope to be racing on the world circuit in 2020, starting with Crankworx Rotorua and chase the EWS selection further down the track. I just finished the Gravity Enduro National Series and took the Overall Series Win for U17 Female! I want to continue training hard and improving my skills and speed to become a solid all around rider and competitor.

 

 Photos: Dale Mikkelsen

 

Rider: Nick Mikkelsen

Rides: Warden & Delirium

Community: Whistler, BC

IG: @nick_mikk_mtb 

 

How did you get into the sport?

I started riding when I was 3 years old. I was always chasing my sister around and couldn't wait to get my training wheels off my bike.  As soon as I did, I started riding my local trails with my mom and dad, with my skills and love for mountain biking growing each ride.  Every Sunday we sat around the computer and watched the World Cup DH, inspiring me even more to just get on my bike and ride.

 

Favorite Trails and Races

I live in Whistler, BC, so I have so many amazing trails to choose from, and some of them right out my back door.  From my house, my favorite trails are Marakesh to Business Time, as it's the perfect combination of steep technical flow into pumpy all mountain, and it ends right at my backdoor.  My ultimate trail combination in the valley is Rockwork Orange, Korova Milk Bar and Wizard Burial Ground, which were used as the hardest stage on the 2017 Crankzilla EWS.  They are super burly and scary, but so awesome at the same time.  In the Whistler Bike Park, I always find myself riding trails like Goats Gully and In Deep, as I love the gnar but I usually find myself riding non-park trails on Whistler like Dark Crystal and Kashmir as they are long and technical, but without the bike park crowds.

 

My favorite races this year were Vedder Canadian National Enduro and the Pemberton Enduro.  I missed the Gryphon EWS Qualifier and the Harper Canadian National Enduro due to a broken hand on A-Line in the Whistler Bike Park.  I love Enduro's like Vedder and Pemberton because they are all pedal powered and reward riders that can ride hard singletrack while tired.  Once climbing gets over 1300m and the day goes over 35km, I start excelling and finding my groove.

 

Inspiration

I enjoy riding and racing because I love pushing myself to my limits and seeing how fast I can ride trails, especially when I've been cranking hard for 3 or 4 hours. I really like learning what my body and mind can do over a long day filled with fun downhills. 

 

My role models are Yoann Barelli and Jesse Melamed because they are Whistler locals and both have fast aggressive styles, but they’re also always having fun while riding.  Yoann has coached me last season through the Strand Training program and his attitude and energy make me love the sport even more.

 

What gets me charged when I’m riding are the steep and technical sections. I find them extremely challenging and am stoked when I can clean them.  I keep going back to trails that challenge me, wanting to ride each one smoother and faster.  I'll take a trail with steep chunder and technical drops, over flow and jump trails, but I still love all kinds of riding.

 

Looking into the future

Next year my biggest goal would be to finish in the top 5 in the Canadian Enduro Series and top 10 in any of the Enduro events that have a U16 or U18 category, as I'm just 12.  My long term plans would be to make it into the EWS, even as a privateer just to have the experience of racing at that level and traveling to cool places to ride my bike with cool people.

 

Photos: John McDonough

 

Rider: Meghan McDonough

Rides: Delirium & Endorphin

Community: Golden Colorado

IG: @meghan_bikes

 

How did you get into the sport?

I started racing BMX right before I turned 7 years old.  My Dad took me to a local BMX race, we borrowed a bike from a friend and I started racing immediately.  It was scary at first, but I had so much fun. Over the next 5 years, we traveled all around North America racing the USA/BMX National Series with the Blaze Factory BMX team.  It was awesome!

 

Favorite Trails and Races

One of favorite places to ride is in Fruita and Winter Park. Top trails are the Horse Thief Loop and Joe's Ridge because the trails are fun and it’s very scenic. I also love the Trestle Bike Park (in Winter Park), where Rainmaker is my ultimate top trail because it’s super flowy and features big jumps. For races, I love the Revolution Enduro Series and the Colorado Freeride Festival.

 

Inspiration

Ashley and Emily Hayes have been my role models and inspired me a lot.  I have known them for a very long time and enjoy watching them race and rule the BMX world. They encourage me and inspire me to push hard and succeed.  

 

When people ask me about what I love about riding most, it’s definitely all about the jumps. I love to fly!

 

Looking into the future

They just announced the USA National Championships for 2019 at Winter Park, the bike park in my backyard.  I want to win a Stars and Stripes jersey next year and be the National Champion here.  Afterwards, I want to ride professional as a downhill and enduro racer. 

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

Trailbuilding in Knolly HQ’s Backyard

October 12, 2018

1/3
Please reload

Recent Posts

November 22, 2019