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U.S. BMX Rider Connor Fields to be Released From Hospital Six Days After Crash

U.S. BMX racer Connor Fields is set to be released from the hospital after spending six days at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo. 

The 2016 Rio champion was stretchered off the course after being part of a horrifying three-person wreck in the semifinal heat on July 30. He suffered a brain hemorrhage at the race venue, and now, the 28-year-old is expected to be released on Thursday, Aug. 5.

"He will now return home to be with his friends and family in Henderson, Nevada, and start his rehabilitation," USA Cycling confirmed in a statement.

Shortly after the news broke, Fields tweeted, "I’m back. Ish. Still can only stand for 5-10 min at a time but we’re working!"

Fields was second in a tight pack of riders during last week's qualifying heat. But then, his wheel seemed to catch the back of leader France's, Romain Mahieu, tire and the U.S. racer crashed to the ground. Two other riders fell over Fields, who laid on the track as medical personnel rushed to him.  

His father, Mike Fields, watched the horrifying moment from Las Vegas, and in a text message exchange with Sports Illustrated's Greg Bishop, the father was “not in a good place right now” as he waited for an update from the hospital following the crash. 

“There’s always a yin and yang to the world and how it works,” Mike typed. “We enjoy the highs of the success and all that comes with it but the other side of the coin is exactly what we’re dealing with now, which [are] the risks and consequences if things go badly.”

This crash, he wrote, “is one of those times we just have to trust in the universe.” 

A few days after being released, Connor tweeted that he had received the same comment from multiple people—“Paris is in 3 years!” 

"Do people realize I nearly died?" he wrote. "Brain hemorrage?[sic] No memory.... Maybe I’m not ready to commit to that yet? Can we chill for just a sec? Maybe focus on lunch next week first...."

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Sours: https://www.si.com

Riley House| 2020 APro #1

In my opinion I think the new pro rule is going to better USA BMX for sure… I think it will make the 17/20 and 21/25 expert classes stronger as it will make sketch balls think twice before hopping straight into racing with the big dawgs, as well as making the Pro class more legit by making it an if you’re Pro, you’re Pro. Combining APro and Elite will create bigger and better racing, more riders, more money, and make more opportunities for growth and learning for myself at least. I’m stoked to see what goes down at the weekend in front of the home crowd in Phoenix!

KJ Romero| Has raced both AA and APro

I disagree with the decision to get rid of APro. It was a good class for a couple reasons …

1: It can be a starting point for younger guys that want to turn Pro. They have the potential to grow. AAPro can be very discouraging. I’ve been Elite, and I’d say it’s easily 3 levels above APro. It would be like throwing a 15 novice into 17-20 expert.

2: It was good, for guys like me, that do it as a hobby and have an opportunity to make a couple extra bucks on the weekends.

I’ve seen plenty of people say, ‘well, you can just race the Pro open races’. Yes, true. But also, what mid-pack APro, is going to drive 8 hours to a race, not knowing if there’s going to only be 1 Elite or 10 Elites. I’ve also heard people say, ‘you still have the B main you can race’. Also, true … BUT, if you go to a ‘Pro Men’ race, and there’s 25 elites, A main and B main are steeped with Elites. It ultimately doesn’t matter to me, I just don’t agree with it. I’ll still be racing either way. Less than a year and half, I’ll be able to go Vet, I’m counting down the days … unless they get rid of that by then too.

Nic Long| AA Pro / Elite lifer

I think it took a fun class away from some lifers in there, but at the end of the day, with them adding the B main shootout, I think It will be progressive and ultimately help push the sport. Maybe keeping some ‘on the fence’ amateurs on good teams instead of just being able to say they’re Pro and fading out. Overall, 7/10 being a positive decision.

Joshua Mclean| Australian Elite rider living and racing in the US

In the long run it could make our sport more professional. It will be easier understand/follow for new people to the sport or by people who have no knowledge of BMX. I’m sure they wouldn’t know the difference between APro and AAPro/Elite. Now it’ll be the ‘Pro Class’ and the Amateur classes. If you were to go to Europe, who are dominating our sport right now, you don’t see APro at their races, it’s either Jr Elite or Elite. We might see some of the riders in APro possibly drop out, but it’ll make for more competitive races I believe. From what I have heard from the APros, a lot of them were planning on racing Elite this year but it might suck for some of the riders coming out of the Expert classes and getting thrown into the deep end!

David Graf | Swiss Elite and soon to be Swiss coach

Other than when the Euro riders travelled to the likes of Oldsmar or the season opener, the US lacked depth when it came to the AAPro /Elite class over the last couple of years. There seemed to be an issue or time lag getting Jr. riders to move up to AAPro and maybe APro was a factor in that … combining the classes could be a good thing. *this is paraphrased from a voice mail from David.

 

Bill Ryan| Supercross BMX owner and Team Manager

This may be a little strange sighted, many people say that USA BMX is killing off APro and making it tougher for the Pro’s to step up into the system, but in a real terms, what they did was kill off the Elite program, and the Covid series they ran this last year showed that. They did Pro Opens all year long, and it was APro’s that showed up for the most part, and I know, I know I will get crucified for this, but saying that it isn’t worth the Pro’s time to show up and race for the $300 a day prize money, I get it, but if they do well all 3 days, and pick up $900 for the weekend, even $700 for the weekend if they grab a second and 2 firsts, I think that’s good pay if their trip there was paid for.

The APro Class has really needed an overhaul for a while though, BMX has been one of the only sports where you could just turn yourself up into Pro, and we saw a tonne of riders who were mediocre amateurs, 17-20 / 21-25 that couldn’t’ make mains that turned up to APro to get the ‘Pro Perks’ of being called a Pro.

But then you also had AA Pro’s that started outside careers that needed to step down, so they went back to APro, rather than race AA, you had legitimate amateurs that were looking for that rise to stardom and needed that steppingstone to get ready for the AAPro class, and you had AAPros who got injured and needed to restart their careers and get ready to jump back into AA. It was a legitimate middle ground to have.  But there was always that murky group of riders that were just there. Although not all of the group was murky, many are great local APros, and every track, every track, needs a great local Pro, and not every one of those are going to be AA Main ready, so the USA BMX really had a tough decision on their hands.

But when the riders aren’t showing up, how do you justify keeping the classes. And that goes back to my initial statement of that they didn’t kill off APro as much as they killed off AAPro…. which is a sad, sad statement. And I hate it. I love the Pro Class, BMX needs true Pros for the younger riders to aspire to, but the days of those have changed.  The media has changed, the climate has changed, the entitlement attitude runs rampant, we as a sport don’t have the fans to support the Pros like other sports, so the Pros have to work a bit harder. I love what the Cap and Shibby are trying right now with their clinic tour, they are working a bit harder, and I am so proud of them for it. Imagine if all the Pros did something like that.  Sorry for the ramble, I love the Pro’s, and LOVE BMX, and want to see it go on for generations and generations, and we need the Pro classes to do this, but we need the right Pro Class …

Sours: https://15.ie/apro-less-in-phoenix/
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15-year-old rider paralyzed in accident goes home from hospital

INDIANAPOLIS — Lucas Grounds, 15, left Riley Hospital for Children Friday morning, anxious to go home. 

The Grand National Cross Country champion dirt bike rider spent almost two months in the hospital, recovering from a spinal cord injury. An accident on his motorcycle December 10 left him paralyzed from the waist down.

A group of about 10 family members and friends waited in the hospital lobby to greet Lucas. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they were not able to visit him during his hospital stay. Lucas was living away from home for dirt bike training at the time of his accident, so most of his family had not seen him since October.

"I'm giving him a big hug,” said Nathalie, Lucas’ 13-year-old sister. “Even if he doesn't want a hug, I'm giving him a big hug."

"I'm going to be happy, excited,” said Hailey, Lucas’ nine-year-old sister.

Both girls wore orange t-shirts that read, “The Man, the Myth, the Mullet – Grounds Strong”.

When Lucas Grounds wheeled himself into the lobby of Riley Hospital, wearing a cap over his mullet hairstyle, he got plenty of hugs.

"It was definitely awesome to see my family again,” said Lucas, his voice cracking with emotion.

Lucas is a seven-time national champion in dirt bike racing. On December 10, at the end of a long training day, he wrecked on a slick covered bridge near Delphi, hitting a pole.

"I thought I knocked the wind out of myself,” Lucas recalled. “But I tried to sit up and I couldn't do it."

His spinal cord is partially severed, leaving Lucas paralyzed from the waist down. He left Riley Friday after almost 60 days. Rehabilitation included three hours a day difficult training learning to adapt and be self-sufficient in a wheelchair.

"The goal is to obviously walk again,” Lucas said. “It's going to take a lot to get there, but I think we'll be able to do it."

Doctors initially believed his spinal cord was completely severed and gave Lucas just a three percent chance of walking again, but Lucas has some feeling below his injury location. That, combined with more recent tests, indicate his spinal cord is partially severed.

The Grounds family lives in rural Martinsville but they are entrenched in the Mooresville community. All four children attend Mooresville schools. Mom works at one of the elementary schools.

The community welcomed Lucas home with a police escort past cheering classmates outside Mooresville High School Friday afternoon.

More support came from neighbors waiting in the driveway with signs when the family minivan arrived home with Lucas in the passenger seat.

"It's just been overwhelming to say the least,” said Justin Grounds, Lucas’ father. “But it's also been very inspiring."

The family has already purchased micro sprint cars and will add hand controls that could put Lucas into four-wheel racing.

"The amount of time and effort I had in racing was more than the time they go to college for,” Lucas said. “So you have to transfer that over to whatever you’re going to do next. "We just got to have faith in God. There's a reason why we're here. We don't know it, but I think it's going to be a pretty special journey."

Sours: https://www.wthr.com/article/sports/local-sports/15-year-old-rider-paralyzed-in-accident-goes-home-after-almost-two-months-in-hospital/531-058c837e-1343-43b8-8d1d-dd5262a558d4
THE DROP EP.4 - RILEY HOUSE

National No.1 Amateur: Riley House Interview

Filed under General on May 04, 2020 | Comment(s)

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“In 2018, Bill Morris had asked me, ‘Yo, what song do you want me to play before your main?’ I said how about some Metallica? Let’s go! So he played Enter Sandman, and I won it from there. So last year, when I was down there, Bill asked me if I wanted to pick the song again for the main. I told him, ‘If you play Tool, right now, I guarentee you I’ll win.’  So while I’m rolling into the gate, Tool came on, and I looked over at my parents and just nodded my head. Right then, they knew - that I knew, that I was going to pull it off.”


MUSIC FLICKS THE SWITCH

RILEY:Music is a big part of our lives, outside of BMX. My father and I go to a lot of concerts. Right after the Houston national, we’d gone and seen Tool, on that Sunday night. When Tool comes on the radio, me and my dad fangirl-out hard. I’ve seen them live four times now. 

PULL: Maliek (Byndloss -2013 No.1 Amateur) told us the same thing. They played Eminem, Lose Yourself, when he got in the gate. He said as soon as he heard it, he knew he had it won. It’s crazy how music can flick that switch.  

RILEY:That’s it. It flicked the switch hardcore, baby. Big time. I’ve never felt that feeling inside of me, like when I was behind that gate. I had lane eight, the No.1 title was on the line, all the odds were against me. Affoo next to me in lane seven. Cam was in there. But I knew in my mind that I could do it. 


YOU’VE JUST GOT TO WIN

RILEY:I was down by the finish line, warming up, and I asked one of the ABA workers, ‘Yo, can you see what I have to do to get the title right now?’ I already knew that I had gate eight in the main. So basically, they say, ‘You’ve got to beat Cam Wood, you’ve got to beat Kye Affoo, and Nick Adams.’ I would’ve had to beat Jesse Welch too, but he went out early. Basically, I just had to win. We were all up there in points. 
Then when I heard the (title-chase) video, with that Monster-Energy voice, talking about Cam and I going at it all year long, hyping it all up, I was like ‘Let’s go boys! I’m ready!’ 

PULL: We were just re-watching the video, and if Brayden Kempel hadn’t unclipped in the first turn, that hole might not have been there for you to dive low to hit the pro set.

RILEY:I definitely have to pay my respect to Brayden, for sure. I wheelied out of the gate, and thought, there it is. I blew it. I knew that if I didn’t have a perfect lap right now, there would be no way I could win it. Kye had a perfect gate. Race Lee, over in lane one, all by himself, had the perfect start - just rode the white line to the turn. I single-manualed and pumped into the corner and I stayed to the outside - I didn’t move over at all, which is NOT what you’re supposed to do. I looked over and didn’t see anyone, so I railed the corner and cut down, and found my next gear. 

PULL: Had you pre-planned that you’d take the Pro section in the main? 

RILEY:No. Me and my dad had talked about it earlier, and he asked me - ‘What are you going to do?’ I said I didn’t know. Everybody knew the pro set was slower, but I’d taken it all weekend. I hadn’t taken the amateur side once. I figured if I was out front I’d take the pro section,because
I didn’t think anybody could pass me. But if I was in the pack, I’d take the Am-side, like everyone else. I knew it’d be a last-minute decision
Looking back, I wouldn’t have won if I’d taken the amateur side. I don’t know how it happened, but I had a perfect run at it and gained some speed over it. It was the craziest thing, because as I’m jumping over it, I was looking to the side, watching them. Over that last double, I could see both Kye and Race heading straight to where I’m about to go. Like a perfect triangle.
I was like, ‘Oh dang, it’s about to go down!’  
Afterwards, I was thinking - that’s the second Grands in a row where I was in third coming out of the first corner, and then in first coming out of the second corner. Then you had Race Lee giving you some love in the last turn... 

RILEY:After watching the video, I’d pulled away from them by a bike or two in the rhythm. Compare it to Tyler Brown and Suarez in their main, put the video side-by-side, and it was the same move in the same exact spot. And I think Race Lee hit me a lot harder than Suarez had hit Tyler. If I would’ve gone over, then I think Race would’ve gotten disqualified. 
I saw him coming out of the corner of my eye, so I put the drift on. I don’t know how I stayed on my bike. I drifted it, re-corrected it, came off the backside of the turn, was trying to pedal but wasn’t getting anywhere. Figured at this point, I might as well just pump it, since I can’t pedal. 
I’m not saying anything bad against Race. I love the guy. And if I was in his position, I would’ve done the same exact move ... but I would’ve hit myself even harder. 

PULL: Not only amazing that you were able to stay upright, but to also keep enough speed to hold off Kye Affoo, who was charging hard to the finish.  

RILEY:Honestly, I thought 100-percent that Kye had passed me at the line. He was pedaling that entire last straight and I pumped and pushed at the line. He passed me for sure, but it was just after the line. He was celebrating at the finish, and I was like - ‘Whatever. Good for you, dude.’ 

Then I remember Chris Luna came up to me and said ‘You got it.’ I was like, ‘Did I get-it get it? Or are you just saying that?’ I was like, ‘Are you sure? You positive?’ And that’s when I saw Kye heading back to the finish to check on the video. He’s looking at me, I’m looking at him - and gOrk was wanting to take the winner’s picture, and I’m thinking - ‘I’m not sure if I should take this picture right now, because if I take this picture and he got the win, I’m going to be sooooo ticked.’


THREE GRANDS MAINS IN 15 YEARS

PULL: For those racers who might get discouraged because they haven’t made a Grands main, ever, then let us tell you a story about Riley House, your 2019 National No.1 Amateur. 

RILEY:I’d been racing Grands since 2005. For fourteen years - and until 2017, I’d never made a Grands main. So really, that was my third Grands main, ever. (laughter). In 2017, I made my first Grands main and took second behind Bryce Batten.

PULL: So in three Grands mains, you’ve gone 2-1-1. That’s pretty impressive. 



BREAKING THE NAG-5 CURSE 

RILEY:That was my first ever NAG-5 Challenge race.

PULL: Serious? You’ve never, ever been in the NAG-5 Challenge?!  And you won it. 

RILEY:When was the last time someone had won the NAG-5 and then taken the No.1 Amateur title? 

PULL: That’d be in 2006, with David Herman. 

RILEY:So, it’s been thirteen years. Everyone was telling me, ‘Oh - are you going to be the one to break the NAG-5 Curse?’ I was like, ‘I don’t even know what that is!’ I’d never even been on a NAG-5 before.


IT’S NOT LUCK IF YOU’RE THERE

PULL: In 2018, you won the Grands main, partly thanks to the Bucardo / Affoo collision. A lot of people said you were just lucky. But last year, you proved them all wrong. 

RILEY:In 2018, I was just happy to make the main. I had no pressure. I wasn’t up for a title. If it was luck, then fine - call it luck. 

PULL: Still, you had to be there. You beat 106 riders in order to get in to that main. 

RILEY:I was in the right situation, at the right time. I had some haters hate on me. Then last year, there were some people talking their talk, saying that I didn’t even have a chance. Whatever. Hearing that just fuels my fire. 


THE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

PULL: Did you have a speech prepared, when you accepted the No.1 cup?

RILEY:No.  ...absolutely not! I choked so hard. I felt so dumb up there. I think I only listed off two of my sponsors. My dad told me, ‘You’re going to have to give a speech, bro.’ I didn’t even know what was going on. I was just high on life. 


PRE-PRO PREP: TANGENT PRO/AMS

PULL: You did a few Tangent Pro/Ams last year - did that help ease you into turning Pro?

RILEY:I did three Tangent races last year. I did Bakersfield and took fifth, then I did Lemoore - and that’s the one I won. Then I did the DeSoto one and crashed in my semi. They’re fun, and I’ll be doing all of them this year.
The DeSoto one was unreal. It was an all-Elite main there, with 10-grand on the line.  

PULL: The Lemoore race, that you won, was like a sign of good things to come.

RILEY:That was crazy. Actually, I was having an off-day that day. I hadn’t won a lap all day. I ended up getting second gate pick, because if you’re an amateur and make the main, you get to pick before the pros. Nick Adams had first pick, and he took lane two, so I chose one. I just holeshotted - had like a bike-length lead by the fist jump. Asuma Haki, from Japan, tried to pass me down the second straight. I think he over-shot the Pro set by like 20 feet.  


NEW TRAINER, NEW GOALS

PULL: So you recently switched trainers?

RILEY:I’d been training with Marty Wisehart for years. When we first started, Marty was doing personal training full-time, but eventually he started working with this insurance company - and cut ties with everyone he was working with, except me. He told me, you’ll be the only athlete I work with - so I’d been with him for five years. But it got to a point where he was super busy with work, and I needed someone who would put 100 percent into me, while I dedicate 110 percent to them. There’s no bad-blood between us. We still work out together. 

PULL: And now you’re training with former Pro Hunter Pelham? 

RILEY:Hunter has me doing a lot of the same stuff, but it’s different programming. The way we do things are different. The way me and Hunter do things is down to the T. It is so precise. 


THE RILEY JOURNALS

RILEY:Something I’ve begun doing about a year ago is writing a journal. I call it one of my hobbies - I like to write. Literally, all day, when I’m not doing stuff, I am writing in my journal. Writing down what I want to do, what I did that day, what I dreamt about that night. What I ate, what I did for training. Everything. 
What Hunter and I do now is all written-based. 
It works. I write down my daily goals, my weekly goals, my monthly goals and my yearly goals. You check your boxes at the end of the week, the end of the month or at the end of the year.    

PULL: What would be like a good example of a weekly goal? 

RILEY:Get my work outs in. Don’t slack off. Get stuff done for my parents, in my scenario. Help them out. There’s different stuff I need to do each week, so I write them down and make sure they get done.
Everyone can write down that they want to win, but it’s the details of getting there that matter. Stay healthy. Stay consistent. Make realistic expectations.  


OLD RIVALS, GOOD FRIENDS

RILEY:I took Bryce Batten to see Tool a couple of weeks ago; to his first concert. That blew his mind, for sure. 

PULL: When’s he coming back to race? Or do you think he will? 

RILEY:Bryce? He’s done. We’ve been hanging out a lot. We just went to see - have you ever heard of Colter Wall? Country artist? We just saw him in Flagstaff.  

PULL: Have you and Bryce been good friends for a long time? 

RILEY:It’s crazy. We were never close friends growing up, because we raced eachother since age five, up until he stopped racing two years ago. We were always battling, trash talkin’, goin’ at it. once he stopped racing, it just clicked - he was on my team. We’re good friends now. 


PRO EXPECTATIONS

PULL: What do you expect next week when you race your first official Pro race at the Winter Nationals? 

RILEY:I don’t know. I don’t even know who all turned up. I know Jesse did. Not sure if Kye did - but I saw a triple digit number on his plate, on his Instagram. 
Kye told us he’s staying amateur.

RILEY:It’s so crazy now to think that I’m a professional BMXer. I’ve grown up racing BMX my whole life. I’ve dreamed of doing this. Doing what I love is now my job. 

PULL: The Rookie class of 2020 is solid. We’re looking forward to seeing you and Cam Wood go at it in the Pro ranks.

RILEY:Yeah, me and Cam have had our fair share of battles - arguments, friendships, non-friendships and battles. He’s a good kid. I respect him and he respects me. We were good friends at one time, but then we started racing each other. We’re rivals now - but (since he’s going straight to Elite) I don’t have to race him this year. It ain’t BMX is there’s no beef behind it.
We’re competitors. We live for it. He knows, just as I do, that at the end of the day, it’s racing and we’re going to go at it. 
Sometimes we’ll show up at practice and not even say a word to each other. We just line up in the gate together and just GO. It’s good training for sure. There’s nothing like practicing with your main competition - whether you get along or not, you’re still going to get in the gate with him. 


NEW YEAR, NEW SPONSOR

PULL: One of the big shockers for the new year was seeing you leave Supercross and join the Tangent cartel. 

RILEY:So, me and Rich (Pelton) began talking at the Bakersfield Pro/Am. We were just hanging out, partying, and he told me, ‘You’re The Man. If you need a spot on the team, you’re on.’ Let’s go. I didn’t want to make anything official. I had another offer, earlier in the year, from another brand - but that fell through. I was going to do that, but ride a Rift frame. Then I got a few other offers by the end of the year. But once Rich and I began talking, we’ve talked or texted every day, ever since. We’re homies.

Before I left for Houston - before we’d even began planning any team stuff, I stayed at Nick Adams’ house for a week and while Nick was at school during the day, Rich or T.J. would come pick me up each morning and we’d hang out. We’d go to the lake, go to the river, go wake boarding, or just chill at the shop. We’d just chill out, live the Rockstar life. So I just knew that they’d take care of me. I’m happy with where I am. Happy to be a part of the Tangent family.



ADVICE FROM A No.1 AM

RILEY:When I went to Texas last year, I started doing Clinics. Since I got back to Arizona, I’ve been doing a lot more of them out at Chandler. I get parents all the time, ‘My kid’s been racing for six months and he hasn’t won one race yet. We’re getting real frustrated out there. What do we do?’  My advice is to chill out. Just let them have fun, riding their bike. I tell them what I just told you - that I’d been going to Grands since I was five years old, and I’d never made a main until I was 17. It takes time, dude.  

PULL: Were there times you felt like quitting? 

RILEY:Oh yeah. I did, for two years. I rode for LDC from when I was six or seven, until I was like 12. I was just burned out. My dad was my trainer, growing up, and it got to the point where everybody was out-growing me. I was the smallest kid in my age class. Like Bryce Batten, for example - he was massive at ten years old. It got frustrating, so I went and played soccer and baseball. 
So I took a break and when I came back, my freshman year in high school, I was on the FastSigns team. That team was awesome - me, Bryce Batten, Karl Clark,  Marty Wisehart, Austin Rogers. That;s when I made that switch, and started training with Marty.   


LIFE-CHANGING

PULL: How much has changed for you since becoming No.1 Amateur?

RILEY:It’s helped a lot for Clinics. When Chandler BMX can post - ‘Come train with the No.1 Amateur,’ that helps. We had like 25 kids show up at my first clinic. You had every thing blow up right after Grands, but it’s kinda mellowed out since. It’s still a dream to me. 


BMX IDOLS

PULL: Who in BMX has inspired you most?

RILEY:Before Grands, I was talking to Mike Duvarney - the USA BMX foundation guy, and he was asking me, ‘Are you going to be the first Arizona rider to bring back the title since Corben Sharrah did it back in 2009?’ When I thought about that, it’s like - that is soooo crazy! Corben has always been the guy I looked up to, growing up. Corben has always been that quiet dude who shows up at a race, is all business, didn’t care about anything else except for getting the job done.  


AXE SLINGER

PULL: Tell us something that nobody else knows about Riley House...  

RILEY:I play guitar. Been playing for about five years. I don’t know if you know, but Bill Ryan at Supercross also has his own guitar company. It’s called Dream Studio guitars. So while riding for him, he’d hook me up with guitars every now and then. They’re super rad guitars. 

PULL: Did you take lessons or self-taught?  

RILEY:YouTube taught me.

PULL: You playing classic rock? Or country?  

RILEY:You’d be surprised. A little bit of everything. I’ve got a full pedal board, so I have to find a way to make beats. So I have my acoustic guitar, with a loop pedal, to make some crazy beats. Loop that and throw my electric guitar on, and then play over that and loop it. Then I’ll solo with another guitar. It’s really cool to discover what you can make, all by yourself, late at night. use different effect pedals, and stuff like that. I find it kind of like training for BMX -  you build one thing, just keep building a layering on top of the other until you’ve found your master piece.


TRIPLE-7

PULL: So you’ve chosen 777 as your first pro number. Any reason behind that?

RILEY:Have you heard the song, Lateralus, by Tool? I did this project in school, for my english class, and we could pick whatever topic we wanted. So I did it on music and the song Lateralus by Tool. The way they built this song - have you ever heard of the Fibonacci sequence? It’s a sequence of numbers that creates a spiral, and seven is part of the sequence, with the guitar and drum beats. It’s really bizarre. It’s also Marc Willers’ old number. And it’s also a Godly number. God’s on my side.


END-GAME, END INTERVIEW

PULL: So what is your ultimate goal?

RILEY:I’m just having fun. I’m not pushing anything, not rushing things. Going with the flow. In the back of my mind, if I can stay healthy, stay consistent, stay hungry - then I will be unstoppable. I’ll hit World Cups, maybe the 2024 Olympics. That’s my all-time goal, right there. Anything is possible.


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Bmx riley house

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Riley House - ABA BMX Grand Nationals 2009 Semi Main
Riley HousePULL Magazine|March 2020“In 2018, Bill Morris had asked me, ‘Yo, what song do you want me to play before your main?’ I said how about some Metallica? Let’s go! So he played Enter Sandman, and I won it from there. So last year, when I was down there, Bill asked me if I wanted to pick the song again for the main. I told him, ‘If you play Tool, right now, I guarantee you I’ll win.’ So while I’m rolling into the gate, Tool came on, and I looked over at my parents and just nodded my head. Right then, they knew - that I knew, that I was going to pull it off.”

MUSIC FLICKS THE SWITCH

RILEY: Music is a big part of our lives, outside of BMX. My father and I go to a lot of concerts. Right after the Houston national, we’d gone and seen Tool, on that Sunday night. When Tool comes on the radio, me and my dad fangirl-out hard. I’ve seen them live four times now.

Maliek (Byndloss -2013 No.1 Amateur) told us the same thing. They played Eminem, Lose Yourself, when he got in the gate. He said as soon as he heard it, he knew he had it won. It’s crazy how music can flick that switch.

RILEY: That’s it. It flicked the switch hardcore, baby. Big time. I’ve never felt that feeling inside of me, like when I was behind that gate. I had lane eight, the No.1 title was on the line, all the odds were against me. Affoo next to me in lane seven. Cam was in there. But I knew in my mind that I could do it.

YOU’VE JUST GOT TO WIN

RILEY: I was down by the finish line, warming up, and I asked one of the ABA workers, ‘Yo, can you see what I have to do to get the title right now?’ I already knew that I had gate eight in the main. So basically, they say, ‘You’ve got to beat Cam Wood, you’ve got to beat Kye Affoo, and Nick Adams.’ I would’ve had to beat Jesse Welch too, but he went out early. Basically, I just had to win. We were all up there in points.

Then when I heard the (title-chase) video, with that Monster-Energy voice, talking about Cam and I going at it all year long, hyping it all up, I was like ‘Let’s go boys! I’m ready!’

We were just re-watching the video, and if Brayden Kempel hadn’t unclipped in the first turn, that hole might not have been there for you to dive low to hit the pro set.

RILEY: I definitely have to pay my respect to Brayden, for sure. I wheelied out of the gate, and thought, there it is. I blew it. I knew that if I didn’t have a perfect lap right now, there would be no way I could win it. Kye had a perfect gate. Race Lee, over in lane one, all by himself, had the perfect start - just rode the white line to the turn. I single-manualed and pumped into the corner and I stayed to the outside - I didn’t move over at all, which is NOT what you’re supposed to do. I looked over and didn’t see anyone, so I railed the corner and cut down, and found my next gear.

Had you pre-planned that you’d take the Pro section in the main?

RILEY: No. Me and my dad had talked about it earlier, and he asked me - ‘What are you going to do?’ I said I didn’t know. Everybody knew the pro set was slower, but I’d taken it all weekend. I hadn’t taken the amateur side once. I figured if I was out front I’d take the pro section, because I didn’t think anybody could pass me. But if I was in the pack, I’d take the Am-side, like everyone else. I knew it’d be a last-minute decision.

Looking back, I wouldn’t have won if I’d taken the amateur side. I don’t know how it happened, but I had a perfect run at it and gained some speed over it. It was the craziest thing, because as I’m jumping over it, I was looking to the side, watching them. Over that last double, I could see both Kye and Race heading straight to where I’m about to go. Like a perfect triangle. I was like, ‘Oh dang, it’s about to go down!’

Afterwards, I was thinking - that’s the second Grands in a row where I was in third coming out of the first corner, and then in first coming out of the second corner.

Then you had Race Lee giving you some love in the last turn...

RILEY: After watching the video, I’d pulled away from them by a bike or two in the rhythm. Compare it to Tyler Brown and Suarez in their main, put the video side-by-side, and it was the same move in the same exact spot. And I think Race Lee hit me a lot harder than Suarez had hit Tyler. If I would’ve gone over, then I think Race would’ve gotten disqualified. I saw him coming out of the corner of my eye, so I put the drift on. I don’t know how I stayed on my bike. I drifted it, re-corrected it, came off the backside of the turn, was trying to pedal but wasn’t getting anywhere. Figured at this point, I might as well just pump it, since I can’t pedal.

I’m not saying anything bad against Race. I love the guy. And if I was in his position, I would’ve done the same exact move ... but I would’ve hit myself even harder.

Not only amazing that you were able to stay upright, but to also keep enough speed to hold off Kye Affoo, who was charging hard to the finish.

RILEY: Honestly, I thought 100-percent that Kye had passed me at the line. He was pedaling that entire last straight and I pumped and pushed at the line. He passed me for sure, but it was just after the line. He was celebrating at the finish, and I was like - ‘Whatever. Good for you, dude.’

Then I remember Chris Luna came up to me and said ‘You got it.’ I was like, ‘Did I get-it get it? Or are you just saying that?’ I was like, ‘Are you sure? You positive?’ And that’s when I saw Kye heading back to the finish to check on the video. He’s looking at me, I’m looking at him - and gOrk was wanting to take the winner’s picture, and I’m thinking - ‘I’m not sure if I should take this picture right now, because if I take this picture and he got the win, I’m going to be sooooo ticked.’

THREE GRANDS MAINS IN 15 YEARS

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USA BMX Rookie Pro Class of 2020

Filed under General on February 12, 2020 | Comment(s)

They have sweat, bled, ached, and dreamed of becoming the next era of BMX racing stars. And at the turn of the decade they have a chance to take their first gates into the realm of professional BMX Racing. The Rookie Pro Class of 2020 has names that many remember as the 9-year-olds destroying the national scene. Some are children of living legends, and others amateur title holders, but they're ready to take on the big dogs. The one constant for these rookies, and all of BMX, is the love and excitement of seeing those four lights and a wide open track.


Spencer Cole -  A Pro

DK Bicycles, Fly Racing, Leatt, Lake Cycling, Promaxx, 44 BMX, HT Components, Profile, ODI Alienation, BOX, KMC, Rennen, Taco Bar FL, SCOTT


Flashback to 5-year-old Spencer Cole, ripping around Dayton Indoor, dreaming of becoming a professional BMX racer. That little tyke has grown up on two wheels representing the DK Bicycles colors the whole way and with the added support of Mr. and Mrs. Cole and his coach, Arielle Martin, Cole had this to say about his move to A Pro, “After years of fighting for NAG plates, SX open victories, and recently racing the Junior Men class, I’m ecstatic to take the next step in my career with those people by my side.” 

With the experience of racing SX Open and Junior Men, Cole now knows how important a total point transfer system is  in regards to consistent laps. “Something that I personally look to improve on is my racing craft around the track, meaning, avoiding unfavorable decisions in certain situations and taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves,” Says Cole. While he is excited to battle it out for the top spots all season long, he is also aware of the talent that is joining him in the A Pro class and seeks out additional knowledge from his new class to become the role model he once looked up to. Looking past his Rookie year, Cole is excited for the future of his career and with the gained experience of 2020, he hopes to expand his racing internationally to one day represent Team USA on the world stage. While we won’t see Cole for the Pro opener in Phoenix, AZ, he will be making his debut at his home track of Sarasota BMX for the Gator Nationals.


Jesse Welch - A pro

Hyper Snafu BMX


Donovan Long has added another one. Jesse Welch will be sporting the orange sleeves for his rookie season, where he looks to take his BMX career to the next step. With plans to hit all of the big stops on the USA BMX Pro Series, Welch is keeping his shift into the Pro scene simple by continuing his training schedule that led him to success during his amatuer career. Similar to his training schedule, Welch looks to not change things up too much with his goals: “my goals for this year are to continue to have fun while racing my bike and to stay consistent.” says Welch, “Rookie Pro of the Year would be awesome though.” With a new ride and team, Welch is looking to outside of the United States to race internationally during his rookie season, if not, using the gained experience to make that a reality for 2021. 


Daleny Vaughn - Elite Women

316 Racing/ DK Bicycles, Fly Racing, Aztec Fire and Safety, Havoc Goggles, BOX, Onyx Hubs, Wicked Audio


With a move up to the Elite Women, a new sponsor followed for Daleny Vaughn. The newest 316 Racing/DK Bicycles rider is ready to take on the fastest women in racing, with the experience she gained in the Junior Women’s class, “it gave me the opportunity to race the World Cup in Rockhill which was a learning experience but I also realized that in order to compete with the Elite Women, I should be out there racing with them to grow,” says Vaughn. Accompanied by her racing partners Dylon and Corben Vaughn and the added training help of Vet Pro, Tyler Brown, Vaughn is gaining confidence after each gate she takes. 

Gaining experience in the Elite class is the focus of Vaughn and we saw that first hand during Round 1 & 2 of the UCI BMX World Cup. Vaughn got hot lap experience off the 8-meter hill down under against the best of the best. And with the USA BMX Pro Series kicking off in her home state at Black Mountain BMX, the chances of a strong start to her Rookie year is high.


Jena Sagendorf - Elite Women


The Elite Women class is gaining one of the nicest people in BMX, but don’t let that fool you. With a step up in training, bike time, and the confidence of her best year yet in 2019, Sagendorf is here to make mains and boost her into an even better year in 2021. In regards to the 8-meter hill Sagendorf had this to say: “It's been 4 years since I've been able to ride a supercross hill, so I want to get some practice in this summer so I can race the SX series next year!” While she is focusing on staying consistent and having fun in this new experience throughout the year, Sagendorf is also searching for a new team to support her childhood dreams of racing Elite. With or without a sponsor, she plans to compete at essentially all USA BMX Pro Series Nationals where she will have plenty of opportunities to gain confidence, speed, and have fun. When she’s not training or competing at Nationals across the country, you can find Sagendorf teaching her 4th Grade class and engraving a passion for education and sport through cycling.


Riley House - A Pro

Rockstar Rift Tangent, Fly Racing, Shimano, Answer, Alienation, Onyx, Tioga, 100 Percent, Gform, Custom Racing 


In the history books, the 2019 USA BMX Amateur National Champion will forever be known as the 2x 17-20 NAG 1, Riley House. But since he was 5 years old beginning in the novice class the goals in mind was to race the fastest in the world at the pro level: “With the help of my parents who have always supported me, my sponsors, and my trainer, Hunter Pelham, we all believe it’s time to take the next step forward.” says House. While holding the silver cup on the Grands stage does come with some clout in the BMX world, House knows the challenges ahead of him looking to maintain a consistent Rookie season with his idols turned rivals. Heading to all of the Nationals on the Pro series, the New Rockstar Rift Tangent racer will be battling it out to put the black and gold of his new team in the Tangent Pro/AMs and US-based World Cups.

        As far as his goals going into the 2020 series, on top of finishing Top 3 in November, House is looking to upgrade to holding gold on the Grands stage as the 2020 Rookie Pro of the Year, as well as gaining confidence in order to move up to the Elite Men class for 2021.


Carly Kane - Elite Women

DK Bicycles, JW Bicycle Products, Fly Racing, BOX, Gate Nine Design, Lake Cycling, E6 Racing Components, KMC Chain, Hot Shoppe Designs


Like so many others in the 2020 Rookie Pro class, Carly Kane fell in love with the big hills and high intensity racing of Junior Elite. With an unfortunate birthday, Kane was faced with a decision: stay amateur and miss out on big hill racing for an entire season, or move up and battle with the best in the world as an Elite Women. She choose the latter and had this to say about those who helped in the decision: “My family and all of the guys at DK have been supportive unconditionally. Without their support, I definitely wouldn’t be making the jump into Elite. I’m forever grateful!” 

Coming into the 2020 season a year behind where she would like to be, Kane knows the work she needs to put in and the new experiences that will come with racing at the Elite level. “I really just want to give the big girls a run for their money. I want to focus on bettering myself both on and off the track. Snagging a couple of podiums would be incredible”, Kane said when asked about her goals for the year. Ultimately the DK Bicycles rider is focused on working hard to get to the level she believes is necessary to be ready for the seven other riders in the gate.


Cameron Wood - Elite Men

Mongoose / USA BMX Foundation, Fly Racing, 100%, BOX, Tangent Products


After a dominating career in Junior Elite, it is no surprise the newest Mongoose/USA BMX Foundation rider would join the world of professional BMX racing. However, Cameron Wood is taking his Rookie season straight to the top by leaving his rookie pro classmates at the kids table while he battles it out with the best of the best. “After talking about it with my coach, we thought the best decision for my long term development was to turn Elite Men and gain experience lining up with some of the fastest riders in the worlds,” says Wood. The challenge of jumping straight into Elite Men is not lost on Wood, he’ll be focused on all aspects of his riding to become the well rounded rider required to compete at the Elite Level.

Whether it be power, cornering, skill, or preparation, Wood will have plenty of chances to improve and perfect his craft at the pro level, as he is planning on hitting all of the USA BMX Pro Series Nationals, as well as, the World Cup in Rockhill, South Carolina. As the one of the three new Mongoose/USA BMX Foundation team members, you can also expect to see Wood sharing his passion for BMX racing to students through off track work with the USA BMX Foundation.


Ashley Hayes - Elite Women

Ride Co Bike Shoppe, V3Gate, Dexcom, Supercross. Box, Fly Racing, Speedline, Hot Shoppe, Total Body Works 


If there is a BMX family that knows what it takes to reach the top of the sport, it’s the Hayes Family. Along with her sister, Ashley Hayes is no stranger to flying high off the 8-meter hill, especially with the confidence that comes after racing in the Junior Women’s class combined with the 2019 Elite Women. However, the official move up to the Elite Women’s class brings new and always changing challenges to each and every race. Thanks to Hayes’ parents and trainer, the move up will just be another training session: “My personal trainer, John Marshall, has helped me in the decision process too. He always trains me in a way to prepare me for every race and any new class, as well as new challenges.”says Hayes. Being able to accept challenges ahead of her and staying competitive with the fastest ladies in the class are goals Hayes has in mind for her rookie season; both of which will position her nicely to qualify for the 2020 World Championships in Houston.

Her goal of a World Championship qualification will only be made easier with her experience gained after competing at every USA BMX Pro Series Nationals in 2020, along with both her and her sister traveling internationally to Great Britain and the Netherlands for the World Cup circuit. “Gaining some international experience, plus the experience in those race environments will help me improve and gain a different perspective!” said Hayes.


Emily Hayes - Elite Women

 Ride Co Bike Shoppe, Fly Racing, BOX, V3 Gate, Supercross, Dexcom, Total Body Works


        Training and competing side by side her sister, Emily Hayes is also making the jump to the Pro level after getting a taste for the Elite class during her year in Junior Women. Her decision to turn Pro, while in part was due to her one year restriction in Junior Women, was made with help from her parents and trainer, John Marshall, to take the next step forward. With her family and trainer behind her and her sister beside her during their rookie year, Emily is aware of the challenges ahead of her especially when it comes to the North American Supercross Series races. Hayes had this to say about what she needs to focus on to be competitive, “To be competitive at the Pro level, I need to get more comfortable in the air, especially next to other riders.” As many mains as possible and a World Championship qualification are the goals for Hayes in her rookie season, however, she is looking to use this first year to fine-tune her bike skills and gain experience racing her new rivals in the Elite Women’s class. Whether it be the USA BMX National Series, World Cups across the pond, or the World Championships in Houston, The Hayes sisters are ready to prove themselves on a whole new level.


Cam Mason - A Pro

FLY Racing,  BOX


Joining his fellow Junior Elite comrades into the world of professional BMX racing. Cam Mason made the decision to take the next step towards his goals with the help of his trainer, as well as some familiar names, Cole Tesar and Tyler Brown. With his mind on becoming the best he can be, his first straight and building his motor in the gym will become his main focus as he works to accomplishing the goals he set for himself as a young rider in BMX racing. “My goals for this season is to make all of my mains and podiums. I will also be racing in the final world cup at my home track in Rock Hill, SC, and would like to try to make it to quarters or further.” says Mason. Unfortunately after a crash at the Chula Vista Training Center Mason’s rookie season won’t kick off in Phoenix, AZ, instead, we will see his debut at the Carolina Nationals, March 26-28, then at  every USA BMX Pro Series National afterwords, including the final World Cup at Rockhill, SC.

 

 


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