USA Cycling announced very recently the athletes that will be representing the U.S. National Team at the 2019 UCI BMX Racing World Championships in Zolder Belgium, on July 27th. We’d like to congratulate Payton Ridenour for being one of the 4 junior women selected to represent the USA! To learn more about Payton P-Nut Ridenour, check out the interview we did with her below!
How were you introduced to BMX racing?
I was introduced to BMX when I was five years old through my dad. He used to race when he was younger, and one day he brought me to the track and I’ve loved it ever since!
Who are your sponsors, and what’s one product you love from each?
One product that I like from WD40 is the bike wash, which I use every time I clean my bike. My favorite product ODI makes are the Strength for 91 bar-ends for Sam Willoughby. All of the proceeds when purchasing the bar-ends goes directly to Sam and helps fund his road to recovery. As for protective gear, I wear the ballistic jersey by EVS under my race attire. I have been wearing this chest protector the majority of my racing career and it has protected me from some gnarly crashes!
|Strength For 91|
So I was looking through your Instagram and was like, oh cool she’s from Chula – which is my goal to go to one day, and you’ve also been to Wheel Mill which is on the other side of the country. How much traveling do you do in a season, and is it based on any particular races, or Redbull pump track stops?
Actually, I only go out to Chula about three times a year. I’m from Pottstown, Pennsylvania and live about five hours from the Wheelmill which is in Pittsburgh, but I don’t ride there too often during the winters. It’s definitely a struggle to ride during the cold and snowy winters in Pennsylvania, but it gives me the break I need after long seasons of racing. Plus, I can focus on more technique in the gym and endurance on the rollers in the offseason. My seasons typically go from March to November based around USA BMX junior women races. In between these races I try to fit in extra types of riding like trails, mountain biking, and racing the Red Bull Pump Track Worlds Qualifier. My schedule is pretty packed with racing and I travel all over the U.S. for it, and I’m looking to do some international races next year. Wherever I am, pretty much every weekend I’m spending time on my bike.
|One product that I like from WD40 is the bike wash, which I use every time I clean my bike.|
In your career so far what’s been the highlight of your time competing and can you share a time where you struggled – how did you deal with it?
Throughout my amateur career, I’ve won a total of seven National Age Group titles. However, the sweetest victory was by far last year at the Grand Nationals when I won the National #1 Amateur Girl. There was no better way to top off an amazing season other than to win the biggest title of my amateur career! Through all the highs, however, there have been some lows. Not everyone can win all the time, so there are times when you get beat. What I’ve learned through those times is that losing happens to the best of us, and in order to be the best you need to believe in yourself and most importantly have fun!
You’re so smooth, especially over jumps. Any advice for people struggling with getting off the ground?
For people who are struggling to get off the ground, my best advice would be to start small and slowly work your way up. You can start with anything as small as jumping off a curb and eventually jump something bigger like a jump on the track. Like with anything, practice makes you better and helps you learn!
Something I always wondered, when you win that big trophy at Grands (referring to the one you won in 2018)… how did you get that on the plane and back home?
Every year since 2010 I’ve brought trophies home from the Grands with me. Since we run the pits for the team, my mom, dad, and I always drive to the Grands every year in our truck, so it’s definitely easier to get the trophies home that way. We usually break down the trophies a little bit and they’re pretty easy to pack up.
During a normal week, where you don’t have to travel or compete on the weekend, what’s that week like for you?
A normal training week for me consists of going to the gym (I actually have a personal gym in my garage) three times a week, doing sprints three times a week, and going to the track three times a week. As for riding, I’ll mainly ride the local track close to me and a small track my dad and I build and maintain in my backyard (it’s a lot of work haha!) As for other types of riding, I’ll ride trails at Catty Woods and mountain bike occasionally with my dad.
What do you focus on in the gym?
I mainly focus on fast and explosive movements in the gym since each lap is only about 40 seconds of 100% pure energy.
You’ve been all over the country to compete, what are your top 5 favorite tracks and why?
One part I love about BMX is all the cool places I get to travel to and all of the people I meet along the way! My top five favorite tracks (in no particular order) are the Beijing Olympic Replica supercross track in Chula Vista, California, Egg Harbor, New Jersey, 2015 outdoor Louisville, Kentucky, 2015 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Nashville, Tennessee. These tracks are my favorite because there’s a lot of jumping on all of them. They’re all either fast downhill tracks or really technical (or a little bit of both)! These tracks are the most fun tracks I’ve ever ridden and I always look forward to racing on them!
Redbull Pump Track looks so sick, how were you introduced and how have you been doing?
I’ve ridden the pump track at the Wheelmill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania a few times and when I went down to Nationals in Rock Hill, South Carolina this year we stopped at the Velosolutions pump track at George Poston Park. I actually felt pretty fast on it and felt like I would have a pretty good chance if I tried out for RedBull pump (since I saw the series last year). There was only one qualifier announced in the U.S. at the time in Leavenworth, Washington so I booked my ticket out there. It was a whole different environment and the town that the pump track was in is one of the coolest places I have ever visited! At the qualifier, I ended up winning the final and snagged my ticket to the pump track worlds in October in Switzerland! I’m beyond stoked to go later this year!
Have you been star-struck yet? You get to train at one of the most famous facilities in the world, being surrounded by the most talented racers out there. Who do you look up to with so much talent to choose from, and is there someone who motivates you on the track to work a little harder?
I only go out to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California about three times a year, but every time I go out there it’s such a blast! It’s definitely cool being surrounded by such talented and successful riders from all over the world. Someone who I look up to and inspires me the most is Alise Willoughby. In my opinion, she’s one of the greatest of all time, and she shows that even though she’s one of the best she never stops working hard to keep being the best. Another huge inspiration of mine is Arielle Martin. She’s my coach, my friend, and even better, a supporter of all my dreams!
What’s your plan or goal for this year, and especially next year with Worlds in Houston?
My main goal for this year is to race junior women at the World Championships in Zolder, Belgium! I earned the top spot in the U.S. to head out there at the end of July and get a shot at achieving World #1! For next year, I’m looking forward to racing Worlds again as a junior on home soil in Houston, Texas!
Where is Payton in 5 years, is she still racing?
Awwww yeahhh!!! In five years, I will still be racing and putting another stamp on my dream of going to the 2024 Olympics in Paris!