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JD Swanguen - The Inside Line Podcast 5

Always fast, always controversial, JD Swanguen just seemed to fade away from being an American downhill mountain bike racing hopeful. We finally caught up with him to find out why.

JD Swanguen - The Inside Line Podcast

It often seems those young, natural talents, who have so much promise and future, end up struggling with the biggest hurdles. Finding success in something easily at a young age can cripple the growth and maturity of an individual, leaving them wondering what happened when opportunities finally close and success can't override questionable personal choices. JD Swanguen tasted success in mountain biking at a young age. The San Diego native was around the right people thanks to his father, John, who is one of the unsung pioneers of freestyle BMX. When JD found an interest in mountain biking, that interest was fostered through family support and eventually sponsorship. His style was honed through dirt jumping and skatepark riding and his downhill racing results were rising. Without ever seriously training, and in the face of some hard partying, JD managed to earn a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Fort William, 2007. As his career blossomed, his decisions as young man still in his teens, would end up sidelining that career before he ever reached his true racing potential. Before his career came to end, however, JD was experimenting with some of the first 29er downhill bikes made by Jeff Steber at Intense back in 2010, and JD always remained one of the most stylish riders on the track. By 2012, JD just wasn't at the races anymore. He found his way into Lindsey Wilson College, met a girl and had a daughter and continues to live on the East Coast. We're honored to have caught up with JD to put some myths to rest and to hear his story, full of hard lessons learned. Enjoy the show! -gordo


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sspomer sspomer 9/3/2019 10:30 PM

5 comments newest first

Man that was great stuff, JD n Griz flowin like watah!! Woooo loved it -- great stories, perspectives, insights, histories, all that son.

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Great interview, specifically the end. JD and Griz talking about the "return on investment", risk, the fact this is a hobby for 99.99999999999% of racers is something I wish the industry was a bit more transparent about. When you realize the top USDH talent never saw much of a real paycheck its a bit sobering for the rest of the racers out there. Parents of U21 kids. Take note. Its for the fun of it. Likely not for a career.

EDIT: The lack of money for racers can be a good thing btw. Lots of dudes and dudettes doing it for pride, and for the love of it. Which makes the sport what it is IMO. Didn't mean to imply there has to be money for things to "make sense". (or I'd be insane...maybe I am)

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JD and his lil Bro were iconic local kids and there were a lot of them, that many of us tried to nurture and give wings in this savage sport...but this industry can be brutal, miss a beat/result and often you're done. It's a shame we let go of talent before it's prime. Looking forward to this one, a cool so cal bike family (Swanguens) that gave a lot to the scene. Cheers vital for continuing these interviews, share, like and subscribe! lol

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