Editor’s note: Words and photography by Matt Brooks and Steve Riffel.
There are a lot of factors that go into becoming one of the greats: raw talent, style, tricks, and results. However, there is a much larger aspect to the success of a rider which is often the decision by the public that a rider is has ascended into the upper echelon.
Much like the ancient Romans, a parallel can be drawn to the bike athletes of today. They must battle, gaining their scars through countless races or video appearances, and only the most auspicious gain notoriety. Again, much like the Romans, the notoriety of their gladiators only comes from the power of the people who choose to hoist their athletes to greatness. Spartacus and Hermes are still household names to this day because they were able to captivate the masses.
It takes a particular makeup for people to take notice, however. The ability to ride in an impressive manner and under pressure is an obvious one, but personality counts as well. One needs to be outgoing, yet reserved when it’s time to perform. Boisterous enough to gain attention, but humble enough to be approachable and kind to their supporters. Constantly pushing one’s self on the bike and still walking that fine line of self-preservation is key. Often our ideal hero is paradoxical, which is what enamors us.
When larger companies begin to take notice, it is often a precursor to a rider’s eventual enormity. They signal the support of the rest of the community and can act as a beacon sounding off a message of legitimacy. Therefore, aligning with the right companies early in their career can make a massive difference. Maloja has already taken notice and obviously sees the potential, but Reilly largely remains a giant question mark from the perspective of most companies. In many ways, he has come out of nowhere and with humble beginnings.
Here’s Reilly recounting his recent history with riding:
“I’m not a professional, I don’t ride all year or get paid a salary to ride my bike. But when summer rolls around I ride as much as possible. I didn’t grow up riding bikes. My family moved around a lot and I spent my time trying all sorts of sports. Mountain biking was just the one I enjoyed most. Last year I moved to the interior of BC and was my first time riding a DH bike. Before that, the nearest bike park was six hours away so owning one didn’t make sense. Recently, riding bikes with more travel has opened my eyes to a whole new side of mountain biking that makes me want to explore what I’m capable of.”
So will the bike community support this rider and decide that he is the new soldier they want representing them? Is Reilly Horan one of the next big things in mountain biking?
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