Interview with Phoenix Pro Cycles Josh Banuelos
We had very good response to this interview. So I thought I would post it again for anyone who missed it.
Two years ago Tribe503 had the pleasure of having Phoenix Pro Cycles start up as our BMX sponsor. During this time I got a chance to meet a great racer, and ambassador for our sport named Josh Banuelos. Every race I have been to with Josh. He has showed great respect for the sport, it’s fans, & his sponsors. His determination & attention to the kids who are our future is nothing short of inspiring to a jaded adult like myself. Josh is the future of this sport we call BMX. Hopefully with the examples of people like Josh the future of BMX is in good hands.
1. Name: Josh Banuelos
2. Age/Class: 16 expert
3. Years Racing: 12 years
4. Where are you from? Medford, Oregon
6. What is one piece of your preparation that you feel is unique to you and no one else?
I would say one piece of preparation that is unique to me is my strength training. My legs have a discrepancy in length due to injuries, and it makes it hard to do typical gym training. I have to do a lot of single leg work so I can work each leg equally.
7. In Review: Which race was the best of the whole season?
I would say the best race of the whole season for me was the Winter Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona. It was my first win of the season, the whole Phoenix team rode great and we were able to get the Factory team win.
8. Can you guess how many tracks you have ridden in your life? Which one is your favorite?
I have been fortunate to race many tracks throughout my life from racing Nationals. I was fortunate to go overseas to England in 2012, and while I was there I got to ride at Perry Park. I have always wanted to ride a European track because the style was different to our USA tracks. It was a great experience to ride there. But my favorite track would have to be the Beijing, and London replica tracks at the Olympic Training Center. The Supercross tracks are always a challenge and I love the adrenaline rush going down the starting hill.
9. How did you get started in racing?
Well when I was 3 years old, my dad had bought me my first motorcycle. When my parents were trying to find me a helmet that would be light enough to support the weight of the helmet while riding, the shops said they didn’t have a light enough helmet for me, because my neck muscles weren’t strong enough yet to hold the helmet up. My parents decided to hold off on the motorcycle and they introduced me into BMX racing. I have stuck with it ever since.
10. What tips can you give kids who are desperate to break into racing?
You have to have fun doing it! When I first started racing, my dad would take me to the track to practice. While I was there, I always liked to ride the straights that I could jump. So my dad made a deal with me, he said I needed to practice the whole track first. Once I practiced that whole track for a while, he would let me ride the straights I liked. It made it fun, and it helped me improve on the other parts of the track. As I got better on the other straights, I enjoyed them too. So work hard, and always make it fun!
11. Do you give feedback to the Phoenix design team to build even better BMX bikes?
Yes I give feedback on the frame as much as I can, but the biggest thing for me was I needed a longer frame because I am one of the taller riders in the sport. So Tom has made me a frame they call “G22” and I have been riding one for over a year now and I love it. More riders have also been riding the G22 now and they have been giving positive feedback as well.
12. What is your training regime on and off the bike?
My regime on the track is to work on the whole track, but mainly on my weak spots. I focus a lot on my strength training. I mainly do single leg training because of my injuries. But even more, I have to focus a lot on my stretching because my range of motion isn’t what it used to be. It isn’t going to be what it was, but I push myself so I can get the most out of it, whether its 1 degree, or even more.
13. What motivates you to try and win?
My motivation is the love I have for the sport. And for those who support, and believe in me.
14. Who are your inspirations on and off the bike, and why?
My inspiration comes from my family, my sponsors, my team, and everyone who believes in me. The sacrifices they make so I can reach my full potential, whatever that may be, inspires me to not only race for me, but for them.
15. List of injuries, and how do you cope with recovery?
I have broken my wrists five times, but my main injury that I had to come back from was dislocating my hip and breaking my growth plate in my knee. I have learned the only way to get better is to not feel sorry for your self. I have learned to push myself while in physical therapy. The more you push yourself there, the better you will be. Not only in Racing, but when you are older.
16. Last race you actually got scared, and why?
I don’t usually get scared for a race. The fear is getting an injury that could jeopardize me to not being able to race permanently.
17. What is your favorite Phoenix frame that your dad painted?
I love all of the frames my dad has done for me. The last two frames he has done for me mean a little more to me. My dad and I both got to think of the design together, and I got to see how much work he put into making the frame come to life. It is easy to draw a design, but to paint it on a frame takes a lot of time and work. I am really thankful to have a dad who puts in the time and effort like he does for me.
18. A lot of cyclists switch or compete in multiple disciplines. Such as Caroline Buchanan, & Jared Graves who have both done World Cup Mountain Biking & BMX. Have you ever been interested in giving something else a try?
I would love to try Downhill Mountain Biking one day. I think by doing other disciplines it makes a more well-rounded cyclist. It amazes me see to riders like Caroline, and Jared do so well in both Mountain Bikes, and BMX. I would love to experience that one day as well.
19. What are your ultimate BMX goals?
Just like every rider, I would love to make the Olympic Team one day. But most of all, I would love to inspire other riders, and make a positive impact on the sport I love so much.
20. Has there ever been a time that you just wanted to quit cycling? If so what did you do to stay motivated, and move forward?
Yes there were times where I wanted to give up. Injuries were the main reasons. But I have been racing almost my whole life, and if I quit, I feel like a part of me is gone. I have been blessed by having people coming into my life at the right time. GHP and Phoenix both picked me up right after surgeries. They believed in me when I didn’t. Pete Loncarevich has also always believed in me and I am thankful to have those people in my life that have motivated me not just for BMX, but also to be the person I am today.
Thanks for helping me out with this interview.
Anyone you would like to thank before you go?
I would have to pretty much thank everybody that I know. I can’t name everyone at once because I would be writing a book. Whether it is someone telling me I helped their child in some way, or someone doing something to help me. Whether it’s financially, mentally, or a skill. There is so many people that have touched my life, even in the simplest ways. The BMX community is the best. It’s like a family to me, and that is a major reason why I love BMX the way I do.