Exploring Malaga and Tangier by BMX
MEET FORREST RIESCO. Like many riders, Forrest grew up with a dream of racing at the highest level - Downhill World Cups. At 24 years old, he is living that dream and is committed to becoming one of the best athletes and ambassadors of the sport. Whether racing a World Cup or filming with sponsors, Forrest never seems to let off the gas.
The 2018 World Cup calendar concluded with the World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Shortly thereafter, we caught up with Forrest while roaming the streets of Paris before an early morning flight back home to Canada. Over some good ole' French cuisine, this up-and-coming World Cup racer and Kali Protectives rider gave us an inside look at what its like to race the world with something to prove, and what makes him, well... Forrest Riesco.
[Kali] First off, congrats on your top 50 finish at World Champs in Lenzerheide yesterday!
[FR] Hah! I thought I was definitely on pace for better but lost pressure in my front tire halfway down as I burped it in a corner. But thanks!
[Kali] Well, good work! Alright, so... Who is Forrest Riesco?
[FR] Well, I guess that depends on who you ask (haha). To me, I am just a 24-year-old kid who loves racing bikes and traveling the world. I'm from Gibsons, a small town on the Sunshine Coast in BC, Canada... not a bad place if you like riding bikes!
[Kali] When did you know you wanted to become a professional DH racer?
[FR] Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be a professional athlete. I grew up riding bikes and that just naturally lead me to downhill racing. I love everything about it so I thought if I could spend my time doing one thing it would be racing bikes. And that's what I set out to do.
[Kali] What were some of the first steps that you remember taking as you began your journey towards being a professional athlete?
[FR] I started training at the gym... A LOT. That is a huge part of racing and something I really enjoy and take an interest in. Then I sent my rider resume to a lot of companies looking for sponsorship support. Eventually, I got support from brands in the form of parts, bikes, and gear. It helped out a lot since all the money I earned working a 'day job' went to traveling expenses. I just tried to do as many races as I could to get as much experience as possible.
[Kali] Every athlete seems to have their own diet. What is your ‘go-to’ breakfast of choice?
[FR] Anyone who travels with me knows its oatmeal with lots of fruit and peanut butter, I eat a lot of peanut butter, (haha).
[Kali] We all start with our local spots, and often they remain some of our favorite trails no matter where in the world we are. What would you consider is your local riding spot?
[FR] Sprockids park in Gibsons has been my local spot since I started riding. I used to spend all of my summers at the dirt jumps there. And I still ride my trail bike up there weekly during the winter. I love it. There are a lot of old classic trails but then lots of new stuff gets built every year.
Coast Gravity Park is also really close to where I live and I spend a lot of time up there. They have some of the best jump trails. So after a season of racing rough and rocky tracks, it's fun to just ride something smooth and flowy.
[Kali] When did you make the jump from privateer to professional?
[FR] I’ve always been a privateer racer so as I gained more support from sponsors I could work less during the winter and spend more time training. This past winter was the first time I didn’t have to work another job, so I guess I could say this year was my first as a “professional” and the fulfillment of that lifelong dream... now I just want to keep getting faster!
[Kali] Heck ya!
[Kali] Since your racing career began, what are some highlights that stand out as you look back?
[FR] I was pretty excited the first time I went to race in Europe as a Junior at 2012 World Championships in Leogang. That was a big step up from only racing Nationally before that. It’s also probably what got me hooked on the traveling part of racing. Since then I’ve had lots of ups and downs in racing, but I have learned to always enjoy the experience regardless of the result.
[Kali] How many World Cups have you raced in?
[FR] I've been fortunate enough to race in 21 World Cup finals.
[Kali] How do you manage the pressure of racing and the expectations from both yourself and your sponsors?
[FR] I have some really good sponsors that I’ve worked with for a few years so they are very understanding and don’t put any pressure on me for results. The pressure comes from me. I know what I can do as a racer, but its tough to always maintain that belief. I’ve learned to be more patient with myself and trust the process. I know if I put in the work and keep building, it will pay off eventually.
[Kali] How long have you been a Kali Protectives rider?
[FR] I've been riding and racing in Kali helmets for 4 years now. My friend Jeff Bryson was the first one who introduced me to Kali. He gave me a good recommendation and that's how I got started with the brand. I’ve always liked how upfront Kali has been with their product innovation and testing. Some brands focus so much on what new colors are coming out and they don’t mention if the new helmet is even safer in any way. I liked the value and focus Kali puts on protection and I felt it was the best move to keep me racing my bike. I'm currently riding in their Shiva 2.0 Carbon full face for DH, and an Interceptor or Maya for trail and training rides.
[Kali] So, what are you out to prove? What gets you to take that extra pedal stroke when you're exhausted?
[FR] Bottom line, I just love to be challenged. But also to prove to myself that I can do whatever it is that I set my mind to. I set goals and maintain the confidence to see them realized. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone except myself. I know that success is not going to make my family love me more or my friends like me better (haha). So honestly, my drive just comes from my inner will to prove myself right, that I can race at the highest level.
[Kali] So what's next?
[FR] I want to consistently be on the start list of Finals at each World Cup stop. While gaining enough support to cover my expenses, I would still consider myself a "privateer" on race day. I'm scrounging around the pits looking for service parts, doing my own basic mechanic work, and kept to a very budgeted diet of oatmeal and peanut butter. I do have some awesome friends that help tremendously, but I would love to race my way onto a Factory team. And the only way to really do that is to put down consistence times that compete amongst an already insane field of competitors. So I guess what's next is to just get faster... haha!
[Kali] How do you decide where you are going to race each year and if a race is worth making it to?
[FR] I always start by looking at the World Cup schedule and then that determines where I’ll be and which other races I can get to. I usually like to stay in Europe if there are a few weeks between World Cups. I’ll either do some of the Crankworx events or IXS Cups if they are good tracks. Then I usually spend the time between races in Morzine, there is so much good riding around there.
[Kali] Who does all your travel planning?
[FR] Lucky for me, my Mom is a travel agent. So she books all my flights, accommodations, and van rentals for me. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do without her. Its a huge amount of work to figure out all the logistics of a race season overseas. I usually get a debriefing on the car ride to the airport of where I’m flying into, where I’m staying, and how to get there (haha).
[Kali] When do you have the most fun on your bike?
[FR] It would have to be at World Cups. When you're pushing your limits on a track such as MSA or Fort Bill, there’s nothing like it. I love it!
[Kali] If you could go to one spot in the world right now, with only one bike, what spot would that be and what bike would you choose?
[FR] Probably the Chilcotin mountains in BC with my trail bike. I’ve never been there and have always wanted to go. I haven’t ridden my trail bike all summer too, so it would be nice to do a few days of riding mellow tracks. Might have to make that happen later this month.
[Kali] Any shout-outs to friends, family or whoever else before we close?
[FR] Definitely my Mom and Dad for always encouraging me to follow what I am passionate about. I’ve put them through a fair bit of stress with my racing, but they know how much I love it and always support me in whatever way they can.
Be sure to follow Forrest this offseason and keep an eye out next season for all that's to come!
Photography: Ale Di Lulli Photography, Andy Vathis
Riding Discipline: Downhill Racing
Gear: Shiva 2.0 Carbon, Interceptor, Maya 2.0
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