chasing adventure on a mountain bike: a q&a with ryan petry
There's nothing quite like cruising down a mountain at high speeds and no one knows the feeling better than Ryan Petry. We sat down with the runner turned cyclist to learn more about the sport, his training and his day to day outside of cycling.
How did you first get into mountain biking?
When I decided to go to Arizona State University for college, I joined a Facebook group of incoming freshman to ask questions and try to make friends before starting school. This kid named Ethan messaged me and said, “Hey, are you into biking? I see you are riding a bike in your profile picture.” Ethan and I met up the first day of school and it turned out he and his dad were into mountain biking. Being a triathlete I knew how to pedal a bike, but when he invited me up to his parent's house to ride mountain bikes I was a bit nervous. I borrowed one of his dad's bikes and despite crashing like ten times, I absolutely loved being on the mountain and this new challenge. His dad was super generous and gave me that bike and I took it back to campus and began riding all the time and crashing less and less.
As far as training goes, what is your favorite way to train beside riding a bike?
Growing up I was a pretty competitive runner, and eventually turned to triathlon. I absolutely love running the trails here in Boulder. It’s so simple and efficient and I find it really helps with injury prevention and cycling fitness. I still jump into running races here and there!
If you had to choose mountain or gravel, which would you choose and why?
Oh man, that’s a tougher one than one might think. I’ll still go with mountain biking because of the endless trails and roads you can explore. I will say, there is something really cool about the capabilities of a gravel bike and the challenge and feeling of riding rougher terrain on something that looks and feels like a road bike.
What is your most memorable ride?
My fiancee's parents have a house in Crested Butte, which is a beautiful little mountain town about four hours from Boulder. Since I have been going there I had this idea that one day I wanted to ride my bike there. Last fall I went for it. Over the two 12 hour days, 215 miles and 30,000ft of climbing there were lots of highs and lows, but finishing off the ride coming up and over from Aspen and descending world-class singletrack during peak fall colors was something I will never forget. Every time I make the 4-hour drive I still can hardly believe that I rode my bike there.
With a busy training schedule, what’s one thing you do each day that keeps you balanced?
Fortunately for me, my favorite thing in the world is being outside exploring and pushing myself physically. That is why I have worked hard to do that for a living. Everything has its sacrifices though. To be competitive you have to train hard, recover well, eat healthily, and really monitor your energy. I know some people who literally just sleep, train, eat, lay on the couch. I carefully try to balance the thought of “You are missing out on your 20s” with “This is what you have to do to succeed in this sport”. Year round I make a point of hanging out with friends, grabbing a beer, and trying to say 'yes' to things when the timing is right (like going to a concert or a weekend trip to visit family).
What do you do when you aren’t mountain biking?
Being a professional athlete has become so much more than riding a bike and getting on podiums. When I am not training, I am working on projects with my sponsors/partners. I studied marketing at ASU and I really view myself as my own little marketing company. Fortunately, I love the creativity and if I wasn’t an athlete I would likely be working for a marketing agency or starting something of my own.
Favorite piece of Rhone gear?
If you haven’t tried the joggers, you’re missing out.
Ryan’s passions for fitness and exploration collide as he pushes himself further and faster than his competition as a professional endurance mountain biker. To see more of his adventures, follow him on Instagram: @rypetry