Ryan Leech: Rebelling Against Risk
We all have different relationships to risk throughout our mountain biking life. Below is my experience and I'd love to know about yours in the comments below...
For over 20 years, I maintained a high riding standard for my entertainment based film segments. My integrity as a pro survived based on my ability to maintain that standard and manage high risk riding lines consistently. Risk was worth it, and has served my career well.
My pay cheques relied on it. Nail that line. Perform that show. Over and over. Body & mind in sync and on-board for the ride.
Throughout a recent filming trip to Europe, I felt the momentum to maintain my filming standards. Each time I was faced with the possibility of riding a cool but risky line I was conflicted. When I tried to ride the line my body just wouldn’t do what I knew it should be able to do, or I chose not to ride the line because all I could see was the increased potential for crashes and injuries. It was a strange experience to back down from a line but in the end also liberating.
We all experience risk differently and either welcome or avoid it depending on where we are at in our riding lives - in the video below I share my current relationship with risk.
Getting paid to ride creates an interesting dynamic, it’s without question that I have ridden risky lines due primarily to the fact that it was my job to do so. However, I was also doing it because I knew it created value for others even inspired them. I also didn’t want to let anyone down which further drove me to take calculated risks. The praise I received from riding these lines also carried motivation - that projection of love from others feels good, even if it was superficial and temporary.
I’m so conditioned to have my riding informed by these conditions that I’m not actually quite sure how I’d ride without them.
I asked myself how would I ride if there were no influences or requirements from the mountain biking industry to keep doing what I have been doing? This is a fair question now because most of my income is now from coaching and not from being a pro. Perhaps the questions below are useful for you to explore?
- How does risk relate to your love of mountain biking?
- How many different things are fueling and influencing your riding lifestyle?
- Do these factors match up with who you are and your values as a human being?
Crux, an action trials dvd I produced was released 10 years ago, so we organized a reunion tour to document a new style of trials gaining popularity - trials on the trail. Crux is for free as part of my video segment anthology.
Our crew are professionals and great friends:
- Tom Oehler, pro rider.
- Alex Lavigne, cinematographer
- Tommy Bause & Stefan Voit, the photographers.
- Tour Sponsors: Kenda, Evoc, Norco & Shimano
We camped along a journey through Spain, France, Italy, and Austria. It turned out to be a very important trip for me.