After spending the better part of the year hopping on planes, dealing with busy airports, train stations, roadways, chasing down accommodation, checking in and out all over the world, the off-season can be a very welcomed period for a racer. For many World Cup athletes, Fall in the Northern Hemisphere becomes something they look forward to—a reprieve. It grants them the opportunity to slow life down a little; time to look back on the season, reassess goals, analyze performance, and just ride their bike for the simplicity that it began with—fun. This time of year also gives them time to do so with few people around.
To many, riding has everything to do with being social, outdoors surrounded by a group of friends and enjoying a common interest. For those that spend their lives riding, chasing peers, pushing against the clock, racing, all while living out of a bike bag, those very moments need to balance out. Personal time becomes harder to find and the importance of peace and quiet, time to reset and getting back to the personal joy of being on the bike for nothing other than being in that moment, can easily be forgotten.
Forrest Riesco is from British Columbia's Sunshine Coast; Gibsons to be exact. The quiet, coastal town and relaxed community have rubbed off on him in more ways than one could imagine. He doesn't shout about his riding abilities, won't even talk about it unless provoked, doesn't boast—he's humble almost to his own detriment, but his riding speaks for him. It shows strength and confidence that many could only dream of, on or off the bike.
Forrest has been quietly chasing the downhill dream since his teen years and has been hitting the World Cup circuit as a privateer for three years now. So much of his time is taken up planning and training for the next season, but luckily for him, a big portion of that means being out on the bike. To help keep the dream alive he does work during the off-season, but still finds himself forced to ride alone, with close friends holding down 9–5 routines. If peace and quiet weren't something he sought, it's certainly forced upon him, in a gentle push from fate.
His time at home brings him back to the pace he grew up knowing, while the trails on the Coast and a short ferry ride away give him plenty of opportunities to continue to hone in his riding and keep that pace up. Riding alone during the fall is his chance to do what he wants when he wants, and how he chooses. These moments of solitude are as vital to his riding and training as hitting the gym and squeezing out seconds against the clock.
Many of us could learn plenty from Forrest; whether it be the humble, egoless attitude, the work ethic, or the importance of taking a moment, or two, for yourself once in a while. Detach a little and allow the opportunity to remember why riding a bike is so enjoyable. It's the simple things in life.
/ @Friesco / @AJBarlas