Living Life On The Track: Meet Sam Reynolds

Held in the tranquil setting at the Royal Hills Experience, Saint-Antonin-de-Lacalm, France, the Versed met British freestyle mountain biker Sam Reynolds at Royal FEST. 

Sam was one of the founding members of FEST, a totally unique event where riders build the tracks and course. We spent the weekend watching the freestyle riders express themselves in the most distinct style and gained an insight on what it’s like to be a sponsored freestyle mountain biker. 

 

A unique course

FEST is completely unique in that the riders design the jumps themselves. They therefore spend weeks carving out the perfect conditions for them to attack the trails in the best way possible.

After chatting to Monster Energy athlete, Sam, the Briton said this is why he doesn’t get nervous when approaching the jumps as he and the other riders know what to expect:

“These days we don’t just rush into them, we spend a lot of time building the jumps and then tweaking them to exactly what we want. So, by the time it gets to riding them, we know exactly how to approach the jumps; we know what will work, and what won’t work.”

 

From university to mountain freebiking 

Born in Sussex, England, Sam first came into the public eye in 2009. This was when Sam realised he wanted to be a freerider for his career and therefore rejected the chance to study psychology at university.

Sam’s success in 2009 helped him have enough money to travel the world to compete and purchase the right equipment.

Sam’s major breakthrough came in 2015 after winning the best trick award at the Red Bull Rampage event; he performed a superman over a 72’ft Canyon Gap and said it was the scariest moment of his career. However, the 27-year-old says what scares him the most is, ‘being bored, being trapped and not being able to have fun.”

 

Competing on the edge

Sam’s favourite place to ride and compete is South Africa, although he said it’s the most dangerous, the Briton explains a lot of his training is preparing for potential crashes, “I train mainly for crashing. If you’re not strong, you’re just going to get broken; I do most work on my knees. The best way to prepare is to just crash loads. I also used to train in gymnastics to learn the best ways to role and fall.”

Some of the rider’s worst injuries have included a broken back in 2012 after performing a double backflip, however, this only kept Sam away from the bike for six weeks. He stated that the most painful injuries were knocking out teeth as he had to eat ‘soup for weeks’.

One of Sam’s other big injuries was slicing his chin open after falling through his handlebars. He said the reason for this was listening to headphones and riding to the beat of the music, this led to him mistiming a jump as he was in sync with the rhythm of the song; surprisingly, he now doesn’t use headphones when riding.  

On being scared

One of Sam’s greatest fears is being constrained to a ‘normal life’. The idea of not being on the road, challenging himself to new courses and jumps is what keeps him going; the pure enjoyment and freedom of being a freerider.

It’s, therefore, no real surprise that Sam’s biggest piece of advice to anyone wanting to become a professional in his discipline to do it for the enjoyment:

“I would say, if you want to be a sponsored rider, then keep going, if you’re having fun and learning then it’s all worthwhile. If it’s boring, then give it up”.

Plenty more to come 

With Royal FEST already gaining 50 million impressions through photo and video content since its beginning five years ago, the event looks set to have a very bright future and only gain in popularity.

Sam and his fellow riders being in the secluded area of France and doing what they love is the perfect week spent for these guys looking to push the boundaries of freeriding. Sam’s love of the sport and enjoyment of being on the road expressing himself through double backflips and supermans only looks to grow in strength and following.

 

 

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