Tips for Going Pro: Interview with MTB Rider, Raymond George

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Raymond George’s career skyrocketed in 2013 when he was invited to Red Bull Phenom, a competition where Red Bull selects only the best of the best up and coming young riders. Now Raymond is hanging out and riding with some of the biggest names in the industry. We had the chance to chat with Ray on what it’s like to rise up the ranks into the pro MTB world.

Josh Campbell: How’s your season going?
Raymond George: My season hasn’t had too much. I haven’t had any events yet; I’ve just been practicing new tricks and filming for my series and just trying to stay nimble on the bike getting ready for some contests.

JC: What contests are you planning to do this year?
RG: I’m planning to go to GoPro games, Colorado Freeride Festival, and I hope to go to the Berrecloth Invitational. And I’ll definitely be at Crankworx but I’m not sure what events I’ll be doing yet. I’m basically going to go to as many events as I can afford. My schedule always changes. There aren’t a whole lot of events here in North America they’re more numerous in Europe.

JC: What does it look like to be a young rider in the mountain bike world?
RG: It kinda depends on the rider. Some people hit the scene really hard like Anthony Messere did and they get picked up by Red Bull really quickly and they pretty much make a living off of it instantly but that doesn’t really happen to everyone. Because there’s obviously not spots for everyone to be pro. So its kinda hard to make a name for yourself and to get people to take you seriously. You might have more skill than people that are treated better but it’s still hard to convince people. You just have to kinda prove yourself at contests and with videos and really show people what you’re made of.

 JC: The announcers at Red Bull Phenom were talking about someone jumping the lake at the bottom of the run, did this cross your mind at all?
RG: No, not even slightly. I don’t even understand that. There was a huge crowd of people there. I don’t think that crossed anyone’s mind. They were going to have a big last jump there. The landing was going to be on the deck but they couldn’t get it stable enough so they just took it down and let the drop be the last feature. It would’ve been pretty great to have a huge last jump like that.

JC: What was going through your mind at the top? Because the wind just looked terrible.
RG: Well, my first run, I just wanted to make it down the course and just do things that I was comfortable with and the wind changes everything. Its almost harder to deal with the wind when you’re not doing tricks when you’re straight airing the jumps and it’s a lot scarier that way because when you have some inertia when you’re doing a flip or something, the wind doesn’t really bother you that much. So I was just scared of the size of some of the jumps so I wasn’t doing as many tricks. So my second run, I was planning on doing a few more tricks and then I messed up on something so I couldn’t continue my run.

JC: The first run, weren’t you one of two riders to make it down without crashing?
RG: It was really really windy, but we decided to just do it anyways because we were already up there.

JC: Do you have a favorite place you like to ride?
RG: I’d say probably the Post Office Jumps. I’ve ridden there the most and I’m the most used to it so its kinda home to me. We just made a bunch of jumps at my friends Tyler McCaul and Greg Watts house called Deer Camp and we just made a bunch of jumps there and a few mulch jumps to end each set so that we could practice tricks and it turned out really really well and I think that may be my new favorite place to ride. I’ve already learned quite a few new tricks there and it’s only been there for a few months. You have to take it in steps. You have to try it in the foam and see if its even possible, then take it to a mulch jump and see if you can get to the pedals and if it starts working then you’ll be able to take it to dirt for sure.

JC: What are your plans to further your career?
RG: I’m going to do a lot of videos. I’m doing the Emerging series and I do videos there once a month. The few contests I go to, I definitely plan on doing a lot better than I have in the past. I’ve got a lot more confidence and a lot more skill than I have in the past. I’m hoping I can just let go of any past fears and just try and ride like I’m not at a contest. And make a good appearance at a few contests. It’s always better to promote yourself in a video because you have as many chances as you want and you’re in your own environment. I’m definitely planning on doing a couple of big videos too.

JC: What are some things you like to do when you’re not on your bike?
RG: I enjoy digging and making features to ride, and going to the beach and being social with friends. I don’t really have any other big hobbies. Mountain biking is definitely the main one.

JC: How did you get started riding?
RG: I’ve always ridden bikes just like commuting with my family and stuff and I got into skateboarding for a few years and I had a little bike that I would just mess around on jumping and stuff. And then one day my friends took me riding, and I still remember that first day that I went mountain biking. And I kinda fell in love with it. And at the time, my best friends were also into mountain biking so that’s pretty much all we would do. My friends that I would hang out with every single day were just into mountain biking as I was. So it was really easy for me to just always be doing it. And then eventually, I was the only one that stayed with it. And I’ve always loved it.

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