Racing through the woods, junior Ryan Sansom pops out onto a 12-inch ledge of soggy ground wet with fresh rain. His tire hits a rock and the bike slides out from under him, throwing him off the side of the cliff. A cluster of vines stops his fall down the side of a 60-foot cliff.
“They’re really treacherous and you’re jumping off rock cliffs at insane speeds, 30 miles an hour, through shoulder-wide stuff basically full of giant rocks,” Sansom said. “Essentially I can get just as much if not more adrenaline riding my bike as I can riding the Mamba multiplied by many times.”
As a mountain biker, Ryan races in endurance stage competitions and recently picked up gravel biking. His first race is on Sept. 28.
“I don’t know if I’ll win. It’s an open men’s class, so I’ll be racing with 40-year-olds and retired people and all kinds of stuff where they only ride their bikes all day so I’m going to be hopeful but I don’t know.”
Ryan picked up mountain biking when his father started four years ago, since then it has become an activity they often do together. Sansom and his father even went on a 70-mile ride while on summer break.
“[It was] a long day of just pedaling all day,” Ryan said. His favorite location overall is Eureka Springs, Ark., for it’s “extremely gnarly and rocky” terrain. He also complimented their shuttle system that takes you up and down the mountain all day.
On top of mountain biking in his free time, Sansom also works at a bike shop as a service technician.
“My dream job has always been to work in a bike shop as a service tech and so far it’s working out. I’ve met with the founder of the company that I work for a couple of days ago and the president of the company and they’re pretty cool.”
Whether riding, racing or fixing them, Ryan Sansom feeds his passion for mountain biking.