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Pro DH Riding

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12/7/2013 5:01 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/7/2013 5:04 PM

Hey all,
I have always been wondering about what pro DH riding is like. I ride for just a hobby and I really want to take it further in the future. How do the pros get to where they are now? Im trying to look for life stories and things like that but I havent got much. Is there anyone here who has been in the pro world or knows things about it? I want to know what it takes to get there and get good sponsors. I know there is a ton of people out there like me who really want to become pro at DH MTB but ive heard that its really hard to get into and not alot of people make it.
Thanks for your help!


12/8/2013 5:40 PM

Pro DH racing is barely even a thing. You can count the number of american racers for whom DH racing is a worthwhile, full-time job on one hand. You can count the number for whom it is truly lucrative on one finger. Just ride your bike and go as fast as you can, shake off injuries and keep trying, and see where you end up. That's all there is to it. That being said, I don't regret my 10 years of racing so far, and it feels good to race pro even if it's for peanuts. There's no money in it for anyone, so do it for the love and to challenge yourself, and stay in school.


12/10/2013 4:36 PM

D. Summertime,
FCRTY is correct that going pro in DH will most likely not be a living for you, as it is for a handful of the elite. Then, no comparison to how other pro sports pay. However, if you want to race against other pros I can give you some information on how this is done. I am a race promoter and create and promote DH mountain biking races for USA Cycling. I believe at non sanctioned races you may be able to just sign up as pro, but I can only give you accurate information needed for USA Cycling races.

For your 1st races you can only race in Category 2 (sport) or Category 3 (beginner). For that you will need an annual license for $60.00 ($30.00 for junior or Collegiate) or the 1 day license for $10.00. Once you place in the top 3 in 3 races (or top 5 in 5 races), you submit a written request to USA Cycling for the upgrade to Category 1 (expert). Now it's the same deal again as you have to place in the top 3 at 3 event in Category 1. once you have done that, it's another written request to USA Cycling for the Pro upgrade. This is done so you must earn your way to pro. Pro licenses are $150.00 through USA Cycling. Please note that I do not work for USA Cycling, but am only a private race promoter.

If you place in a non sanctioned race you cannot use that race for one of the top spots you will need when submitting for an upgrade. I have helped a few Category 2 racers get their Category 1 upgrade a little sooner to help competition and have less sand-bagging. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Getting to pro isn't cheap as traveling to races, equipment and such can really add up, but it's a lot of fun and we try to make our events into a big party for friends.
I hope that answers your questions.
Downhill Mike
Bootleg Canyon Winter Gravity Series


Whiteface Mt. Bike Park

12/10/2013 5:41 PM

FCTRY wrote:

Pro DH racing is barely even a thing. You can count the number of american racers for whom DH racing is a worthwhile, ...more

Thank you DH Mike.
That answers alot. wow! sounds like alot of work! it seens pretty pricey too.

I agree with FCRTY. i guess it is better to just get a good job and ride for the love of riding instead of taking the risk of trying to become pro.



12/10/2013 5:48 PM

I didn't want to to scare you away from racing though. Pro should not be an easy title to attain and what I have listed usually takes a couple of years.


Whiteface Mt. Bike Park

12/10/2013 6:32 PM

You also need to train just about every day if you want to ride with the pros (if you don't already). This doesn't mean simply riding every day but you have to do things OFF the bike too. Things like lifting weights, rowing, yoga, road biking, jumps, mental drills, etc. The main thing that separates the recreational rider from a pro is the pro puts 7 times more effort/time into it. If you want to improve and beat the competition, you have to separate yourself. But also make sure you are having fun with it, because no one wants to train like its a job. Good luck!


12/10/2013 7:53 PM

Downhill Mike wrote:

I didn't want to to scare you away from racing though. Pro should not be an easy title to attain and what I have listed ...more

No, you didnt scare me. I will definately keep racing. I do it because I love it not for popularity. I mean it would be kinda nice if I could be popular in the MTB world but its not that.

Yeah, I try and ride my bike as much as possible but right now my bike is in the shop getting fixed. I also try to go to the Gym at least 4 times a week but its hard with a tough schedule.

Thanks for the advice though.