Interview by Fred Arnold
About Ryan Nyquist
Ryan Nyquist: (born March 6, 1979 in Los Gatos, California) is a professional BMX rider who has won numerous gold medals in the X Games Dirt Jumping & Bike Park events. He currently rides for Haro Bikes, Osiris Shoes, Rockstar Energy Drink, and The Jiffy Market of Los Gatos. – Quoted from Wikipedia.
Ryan has won medals in the X Games, The Triple Crown, and the ESPY’s, as well as many other competitions.
How did you start your career?
“It was maybe 22 years ago. I was having fun in the local scene, steering my way through life, biking. One day I thought to myself, ‘Time to sign up for pro!’ Back then, you literally just had to sign up for pro, and you were in. Seriously, I just walked up to a couple guys and they asked, and I said, ‘Sure, why not!’ ”
What, to you, was your most iconic moment as a pro biker?
“That’s hard because there’s so many… I would have to say my first X-Games in ’97. They asked if I wanted to race dirt and I agreed. It was out of my comfort zone, but everything was going great. I was nailing every move in the qualifiers so why not? The pressure got to me though, and I only made third, but it was a rush to be competing at that level.”
What should we expect to see from you during SPX? Anything new planned? And are you aiming for the win?
“Having fun and competing goes hand in hand with me. I’m going to put my best effort forward. Going into it and knowing what I can do and what’s possible or unexpected keeps me on my toes. However, even if I take that step and do something unreal, someone could take a step further. There’s a lot of talent in this competition.”
Explain the feeling you have when biking?
“Sanctuary. On a super rough day it is what I do to decompress. Setting goals and achieving those goals on the bike… It centers me.”
What do you plan to do when you finish your pro career?
“What I first started years ago, I thought to myself, ‘I couldn’t see myself doing this when I am thirty.’ But now I am in my 30’s still going strong! I feel good, I’m riding good. It’s a very calculated and in depth sport, and I don’t see myself hanging it up anytime soon.”
If you didn’t become a pro-biker, where do you think you would have ended up?
“I went to college for mechanical engineering. Maybe about a years worth. I played a lot of soccer which felt like a natural fit for me so maybe I would have ended up doing that.”
Students are always trying to figure out what they want to do in their life. What is the most important thing to focus on when trying to accomplish a dream?
“Passion and drive will take you where you want and need to go. When I was in college I had a horrible GPA, like .78. That was because I biked all day, every ounce of my energy went into that passion, and it brought me to where I am today. Always follow your passion. You don’t want to end up doing something you hate for the rest of your life so pick something you love.”
See Ryan Nyquist and 40 other professional athletes in BMX and more at SPX Dec. 4-5! Tickets available through ticketmaster.com.
Header photo from ESPN Go.