Imagine dodging some of the most weathered urban terrain and challenging obstacles in the world at race speed. You’re on edge and focused on spotting the perfect line, cluttered with dangerous debris and raging fans! This is a grueling and mentally challenging course that takes all of your skills to keep your speed. Riding through the city on an unknown path is what I live for. Conquering some of the most demanding stairs while dodging stray dogs and wild fans is definitely something you must experience at least once in your life!
It’s always a pleasure to be back in Ensenada, Mexico, for the Downhill Urbano Internacional race for the third episode of the Dream Ride series. The Dream Ride goal is simple—give a young, upcoming rider in a less fortunate mountain bike community the opportunity to live their dream of riding the world’s best spots with the best professionals teaching them along the way. With help from our incredible sponsors, we are able to make sure these kids have the best safety gear and race support! We make sure their bicycle is running at its best by having the best dial in their rigs—Foust Tuning Works!
Mountain biking is a true joy. It quenches our innate thirst for nature and adrenaline! This extreme sport has introduced me to some of my best friends, taught me so much about myself and allowed me to travel the world. I constantly pinch myself getting to test ride the latest and greatest bikes in the industry for MBA for the last six years now. It’s a great honor to help young riders in less fortunate situations experience the joy I feel!
I started Dream Ride as a way to give back to the sport that has given me so much. My motive is to inspire the youth to never give up on their dreams regardless of their circumstances in life. I’m doing my best to help as many new riders as possible experience that special feeling of pure magic after you’ve just shredded your favorite trail. Our riders will get the same level of support a professional gets and training to empower them to ride their very best!
Without the love and support of our readers and sponsors, Dream Ride would not be possible! Heart of Compassion, the second-largest food bank in California, generously provided healthy snacks and drinks for our new Dream Ride riders and locals in need. They also sent us enough food, snacks and drinks to help 50-plus local families in need in the local community. The mayor of Ensenada, Marco Novelo, also came out to help and show his support and allowed the event organizers to make the race bigger and better this year. Marco is always happy to support a good cause and loves to help out in any way he can. Oakley donated the latest and greatest in iconic competitive eyewear to our Dream Ride team to ride with precise vision! Vipe also partnered with Dream
Ride to help bridge the gap of connecting professional-level mountain bike coaches with new riders or riders looking to take their skills to the next level! You can find myself and other talented coaches on Vipe.co progressing our sport.
Ramon Galvan, a former Dream Ride rider, was asked to pass the torch to another young, passionate rider in Ensenada. Ramon did not disappoint, as he connected us to young, talented rider Che Gonzales last year, and I’m honored to share Che’s story and passion for biking with you.
Growing up in a poor, rough part of Ensenada, Che’s odds of focusing on something positive were slim to none. Che was fortunate enough to be introduced to mountain biking at the young age of 6 years old by his uncle Antonio and older brother Gerardo. The rest is history, because “Team Che,” at 9 years old, has become a local sensation and dominating the local race circuit.
Che has inspired a movement of young riders getting into the sport. Not to mention, he has been racing some of the most treacherous terrain in Mexico on a rust-filled 2006 model Mongoose. Che sets a positive example of always making the best out of what you have! He has saved his own hard-earned money to invest in his mountain bike and even had it customized with disc brakes and upgraded suspension. Che is currently saving for a Little Shredder rig!
“Mountain biking is very important for the many things it gives back to me,” Che tells me. “Friends, family, fun, challenge.” That doesn’t mean biking has made life easy, however. Che and his family work extremely hard to save up to afford the cost of racing mountain bikes. Unfortunately, Che’s family home burned down in a wild-fire a month before this race, destroying everything except his bike and spirit. Che did not give up on his passion for riding, though; instead, he turned the negative to a positive and came back stronger. He lost a lot of equipment and belongings to the fire, so the night before our practice run, we set Che up with some new gear, including a helmet courtesy of Troy Lee Designs, Oakley Prizm racing goggles courtesy of Oakley, an MBA racing jersey, Troy Lee Designs gloves, Native shoes for off-the-trail style and comfort, and a bicycle tune-up by Foust Tuning Works. The look on his face when receiving these gifts was priceless.
We woke up excited for our big day of practice and racing! The biggest goal for me was to mentor Che and to help him safely push himself to his fastest potential. He’s talented but can still learn more and choose better race lines, so on each practice run, we reevaluated his slowest points, getting better and faster each time. It’s a two-run race format and the best time counts. Che’s age group is stacked with top-tier mini shredders from all over the world, but we focused on Che doing his very best, because that’s all he can do.
This terrain called for an aggressive yet efficient rig. Fortunately, I chose a 2018 Santa Cruz Nomad. The Nomad gobbled up the massive, weathered stair section, screaming for more, then pedaled through the night-club part of the course with ease and style! Yes, you read that right; this year’s course went through a night club/bar and ended with a jump over a Baja 1000 Trophy Truck! Next year’s course will be even better!
Che prevailed with a solid second place in the race after giving it his all; next year we are striving to get Che on top! Che continues to inspire me with his strong drive and passion to constantly progress his way to the top. One day you will see Che on top of some World Cup podiums smiling ear to ear! Our dreams transform the mundane into extraordinary. Make your dreams come true, friends, so until next time, dream
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