The editors of Mountain Bike Tales magazine are no strangers to surrounding themselves with some of the personalities that make this great sport of ours so great. That said, we’ve been big fans of Commencal’s junior-downhiller Bryson Martin Jr. since long before his forthcoming transition to the elite class this upcoming season.
We recently had an opportunity to sit down with the racer in effort to catch up with what’s he’s been doing and how’s he’s preparing for next year in the big leagues. Here’s what he had to say:
Bryson, tell us a bit about your season…
Well, I honestly couldn’t have asked for it to go any better. I spent a couple years off the bike, to recoup from previous injuries and an illness I had. I made the decision to come back and race at the beginning of this year and The Young Guns Commencal team was gracious enough to give me a ride.
The first couple races were rough. I wasn’t where I wanted to be at all, not even close. It was really a wake up call to get my butt in the gym and work hard to get where I wanted to be. After that things slowly started to come together. There was a light at the end of the tunnel and it kept motivating me to work harder. So all in all it was great, from where I started to where I am, I couldn’t be happier.
What would you say was the high point?
Definitely the highlight of my mountain bike career was making it to world championships. That was the goal at the beginning of the season and at the time it seemed a bit farfetched. I wish the race had gone better than it did, but I made the team and that was my biggest goal of the year.
What do you consider the lowest?
World Championships was for sure the high and low of my season. I was the happiest person in the world seeing my name on the USA team roster. Getting a flat tire in the first couple corners was not exactly how I wanted to end my season. All I can do I look forward to making the team next year and redeeming myself.
How would you describe the learning curve of professional racing?
It’s an experience that demands being a sponge when it comes to getting information and tricks from anyone you can. Watching videos, studying what other riders do, and using that information and thinking about how you can apply it to yourself.
In all do you feel this season better prepared you for what to expect next year?
Oh yea, without this season I wouldn’t have anything to put on my resume! It’s given me confidence more than anything and I feel that is the key to being the best at anything. Doubting yourself and not believing in one’s self can hold the best of us back. Going into the elite class next year is going to be a big challenge but I’m really looking forward to it and this season has definitely prepared me for that.
Who do you consider your toughest opponent?
That’s a tricky one. There’s always going to be opponents whether or not it’s another rider. I’d have to say my biggest opponent is the learning curve of being a professional athlete. It’s not always about being the hardest worker but the smartest one, and learning how to apply myself in the correct way has been the biggest challenge.
Life as a professional racer entails lots of travel- anyone make life on the road a little easier?
Well that’s probably been the best part of my racing journey. Traveling around with either my dad or the Marzocchi tech Ronnie. This has probably been one of the best summer’s I’ve ever had.
Favorite pre-race meal?
That’s a tough one, I’ll tend to eat whatever I can get a hold of before practice. I’m not exactly a morning guy so it’s not too easy. Whatever happens to be in front of me at the time, I’ll eat. Haha!
If someone were to hijack your iPod (or CD Player) right now, what bands would they hear?
Pretty much everything but country. I like Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Lil wayne all kinds o’ good stuff.
Are you superstitious at all/ any pre-race rituals?
Yepp, I have this rule of me doing at least three runs before I race because the fourth run is always my best. It was my same thing in MX; the fourth moto was always my best one.
Name five magazines you try to read regularly.
Transworld MX, Racer X, Mountain Bike Action, Decline, and whatever happens to be in the bathroom- haha.
Any favorite riding spots/ racecourses?
Well when I say this I’m probably speaking for everyone, but Whistler is my favorite place to be on a bike that’s for sure. As far as a racecourse, I would have to say hands down Mont Saint Anne.
If you weren’t a professional racer, what gig would you try to pursue?
Either the business aspect of moto or mountain biking, or anything to do with playing my guitar.
What are your plans for the off-season?
Get the moto out of the garage and train my butt off to come out next year swinging.
Being a traveling man, any particular place on the globe resemble your definition of paradise?
Garda, Italy. That’s my favorite place in the world.
Definitely Step Brothers I have that movie memorized!
Any athletes/ riders you look up to?
There’s a ton. Brian Lopes, Wade Simmons, Richie Schley and the list goes on but those riders have been the biggest influence on me.
What advice would you give to other up and comers hoping to get involved in mountain bike racing?
Start slow and have fun with it. Be confident and believe in yourself.
Finally, if there’s anyone (including) sponsors you wish to thank, please go right ahead.
Thanks to my dad and Ronnie from Marzocchi. I couldn’t have done it without them, and my sponsors aswell. Marzocchi, Oakley, Commencal, Shimano, Atom lab, Five Ten Shoes, Gravity, SDG, Evoc, and Maxxis. Thank you so much everyone.
This article has been brought to you by Mountain Bike Tales Digital Magazine.