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Ryen Melton, MTB/Surfer (CA)

by Joanna Brashear on May 26, 2017

Ryen Melton - Mountain Biker/Surfer (CA)


Your Age: 19

What’s an average day for you like? An average day for me would start off with some Coffee, my favorite coffee is just a good ole classic drip with some vanilla creamer. Then it’s onto school, I’m a Freshman in College and I’m going to school to become a Teacher! Depending on the day I will head to the gym, and oh how I love and despise you, gym. Riding, I prefer to ride over going to the gym but somedays I can’t squeeze a ride in due to work or life in general. To finish off the list, I eat very often, honestly probably more meals than I should but, who’s counting. ;)

What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? The easiest? I would definitely say, the hardest part of riding is learning your limits. Learning limits is incredibly important because if you push them too far you’ll end up getting injured. Riding within your means is one of the hardest concepts to grasp in downhill mountain biking. The easiest, I would say is having fun. It’s nearly impossible to not have a smile on your face while charging down a fast flowy trail in the mountains, viewing epic scenery with awesome friends.

What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport?

Lets just break this down to a pros/cons list.

Pros: Exposure, Supportive Female Environment, Incredible Opportunities to Advance the Sport for Women, and Being a Role Model for the Next Generation of Bikers.

Cons: Being Doubted and Valued Less by Male Counterparts, Unsupportive Male Environment, “Shrink it and Pink it”, Less Female Specific Items, and Over-Sexualization Towards Women Bikers.

The Pros absolutely outweigh the Cons. I love mountain biking, the people and the opportunity to advance the sport for generations to come.

What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes?

Better pay for the top female athletes. They work just as hard as the men, they may not be as fast as the men down the mountain but they are at the highest caliber of the sport just like their male counterparts yet they are being paid insurmountably less. 

Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? Smooth and calculated.

What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? I really enjoy 100%, and Fox for mountain bike gear. As for stepping out, I really enjoy Lululemon leggings. I am an incredibly casual person so wearing jeans is practically formal wear for me.

Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? Oh goodness, before a race I always have my nails painted. I’m not a person to worry about aesthetics but I always feel much more put together with my nails done. I always have to have a matching kit too. I feel as if when I look good and appear to be calm, cool, and collected I ride much better. Whereas if I didn't have my kit, nails, or bike dialed in I would ride much, much messier. I believe it’s important to have confidence off and on the bike.

How dangerous do you really think your sport is compared to what people do in their regular activities? Well, downhill mountain biking is definitely revered as a dangerous sport. It is challenging, requires a lot of skill, not to mention the physical and mental preparation. One crash and you could be done, lights out. But, the danger attracts people like myself!

I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. Well, I’ll describe my crazy crash. I shattered my leg last June after I went off a 6-8 foot drop a hair too far to the right and smacked a tree at 30 mph. Stopping me dead in my tracks. I hit the tree with my chest and my head first, but I was clipped in so the torsion from trying to clip out when I hit the tree broke my leg. People have said they could hear my leg snap from the chairlift. The mountain I was at didn’t accept my insurance so I had to sit in the car for 3 ½ hours with a newly broken leg to get to the hospital by my house. I was on crutches, non-weightbearing for 4 months. I was in a cast for 5. I finally got cleared the beginning of February this year. The first month was the hardest mentally. I was in a full leg cast and I was glued to the couch, so of course netflix helped. I finished all 7 seasons of Nurse Jackie on Netflix.

What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport? Adrenaline.

What is your favorite trick? Cash-Roll! I can’t do them but I know a few people who can! Easily the coolest trick!

Do you own any other toys? I own a lot of bikes, and a surfboard!

What gets you pumped up for the day? Coffee, you’ll notice a trend in these answers. But in all seriousness, the fact that you can recreate yourself everyday to become a better person.

What are three things you could not live without? My family, my boyfriend, and my bike!

What are your expectations for this activity/sport? Hopefully to keep growing and get some world-wide attention!

Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? My Dad, and my boyfriend. MY dad owns a bike shop and has been trying to get me on a bike forever. I finally gave in to racing seriously when I turned 17 and he was elated! My boyfriend, he’s an incredible supporter, he races World Cups for downhill and he is so talented on the bike and is an incredible coach. He takes the time to break down concepts that can be hard to grasp!

Who’s your favorite rider/shooter (photo/video)? My favorite rider is Luca Cometti! My favorite filmers are Suspended Productions. Seriously look them up! Incredible videos that make you feel like you’re there watching.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? I play a lot with my niece and my pets.

How about in the off season to stay in shape? Lots and lots of gym and saddle time.

What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season? To have fun, that’s the key to doing well is when you make it fun versus making it a job.

What do you do to prep for a competition? I mediate, stretch, and drink some pre-workout haha.

What competitions and other awards have you won? I won Sea Otter in 2016, and a few various things but I’m the most stoked about my award for writing that I got through my school!

What’s your favorite “way” to ride? With friends!

Favorite conditions? Overcast with tacky dirt!

Where would be your biggest dream place to ride and why? Squamish, B.C. because it’s sooooo dreamy! The huge rock rollers and you’re surrounded by trees towering over you.

What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone? A lot of Joan Jett, some techno songs to zone out and that new 24K gold song by Bruno Mars.

What turned you onto your sport? The excitement, absolutely the excitement.

Any new tricks you’re working on? Wheelies!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done in your sport? Influencing other girls to ride bikes too! My good riding buddy I convinced her to ride!

What other extreme/action sports are you into? Mostly just surfing, I want to learn how to ride a dirt bike though!

If extreme/action sports didn’t exist, what would you be doing with all the free time you’d have? I’d probably graduate faster and fast-track to become a teacher!

What’s your favorite board/bike/sled to ride and why? I love my Norco Aurum downhill bike. The suspension is dreamy and it is just so much fun to plow over technical rocks/roots!

What’s the trick to riding features and not killing yourself? Stay in control and maintain a nice neutral position on your bike! You can find a video of me on my instagram showing bad riding style! Also how I got 5 stitches above my lip! Darn rock rollers!

How would you describe your riding style? Calculated, I am a lot more careful nowadays, also very smooth. I like to take pride in my lines!

What would you say is your signature trick? Crashing and getting back up immediately, haha!

Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding/shooting? I really like Ginger Beer! We have a good friend who makes some called Preston’s ginger beer. He's from South Africa and he makes it from a very very old family recipe!

What do you want to be when you "grow up"? A first grade teacher! I love kids, they are fun, hilarious, and are sponges for knowledge.

Any of your own web pages or social media buttons you want links to? Youtube, Vimeo, FB, Instagram,Twitter etc. etc.

Instagram: ryenmelton

Facebook: Ryen Melton


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