I love riding my bike. I think a lot of people reading this do and maybe they can identify with the fact that riding mountain bikes has let me escape from certain struggles in my life and find success. Success by way of results can never be controlled and this 2018 season has proven that. I haven’t had the best results or results that I’ve wanted. But having a great coach, Spencer Paxson, who has navigated racing at a higher level has been super helpful. Just being able to talk to him about my internal struggles and how to overcome setbacks has been incredibly valuable.
This season was supposed to be a team effort with my riding friend, Declan Ervin, who podiumed at last year’s USAC nationals. His dream was to qualify for the world’s team this year and so was mine. We were planning training and race schedules to reach that dream. Our whole community was devastated when Declan tragically died in a snowshoeing accident February 25. I had a really hard time with the will to continue after Declan was gone. He wanted to race world cup races so badly and I know he is with me every time I race. So I count success as just being able to throw a leg over the bike and take off through the woods.
I had a plan, I stuck to the plan and then I crashed. I’ve crashed quite a bit this year, more than I have in the past and I think that’s part of becoming a better downhill racer. Knowing how to ride the line, and then push the line to get faster is the secret, isn’t it? When I found out that I was selected for the USAC JR DH world’s team, I thought it was a mistake. But then I go back to the fact that I have trained for this and I have a whole team of people behind me who know I can ride fast. So even though I’ve crashed, I get back up. I won’t quit. I ride for Declan and I ride for myself.
I love riding my bike and the joy that it brings me is success.
You can follow Gideon on Instagram: @gideon_bender
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Video by Reilly Kintzele
Categories: Mountain Bike Racing