Dante Silva ended his time as a Junior win a win in Lousa last year and his first year in Elites continued with great success. Dante secured a top 30 finish in his first Elite World champs and 13th place in the second Snowshoe World Cup round. We caught up with Dante to talk about this year's racing and how the Wyn award has helped his racing.
I’m just an outgoing kid looking to have the most fun he can and win some World Cups racing the sickest sport there is. Of course it’s a lot of hard work with many ups and downs, but when everything works out the way you want it to, there’s nothing else in the world I’d rather be doing.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I was born and raised in Chula Vista, California. San Diego county has always been my home and even if I leave, I think it will always be my permanent home.
How did you get into mountain biking?
My dad was for sure the one that got me into it. I had one of those one wheel bikes that would hook onto the back of his trail bike and ever since I was like 4 I would go with him out on the trails. I also grew up racing BMX, but when I was 10, I got over that and my dad took me to a downhill race with my little Specialized Grom Hit and I was instantly hooked.
Who do you ride for?
I definitely ride for myself. I race for myself, win for myself and train for myself. Yes…sponsors expect the same from me but in the end, it’s my goals and my decisions and sponsors are the way that I can get to the level that I want to be at. It’s an even trade-off, they provide me with the support to get to my dreams, and in return I give them the results and exposure they’re looking for.
What bikes are you riding right now?
Right now, I am riding for Canyon Bicycles.
Do you have a job outside of mountain biking?
I do some part-time, at-home bike mechanic work out of my garage. It’s just to get some extra little cash on the side for myself. I’ve been lucky enough to have parents that have supported me throughout the years to be able to get where I am today.
What are your strengths?
I think my strengths as a rider and racer are the fact that I really think about my racing from a logical standpoint, constantly thinking about what I need to do and what I need to improve on. I think it helps also that I’m realistic in knowing what I’m doing wrong and not just dismissing my mistakes and being real about where I’m at with my riding and fitness. I think I also perform well under pressure.
What are your weaknesses?
I think my biggest weakness is that I’m young and still a little immature. Sometimes I just need that guidance to get me back on track and keep that focus. My dad has really helped with that over the years and I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by people more experienced and wiser than me that were also very real to me, and just told me how it was and always gave me great advice. (Kyle Strait and Alfonso Garcia)
What are some of the issues privateers face that people might not realise?
I think people just think that if you’re at the WC’s, you’re factory with all this support and everyone caters to you. Being a privateer is so far from that. People don’t realize the hours, after practice, that we privateers put into working on our bikes. It’s a full-time job being at a world cup and sometimes gets very stressful only being able to bring a certain amount of spare parts and sometimes having to do full rebuilds after qualies at 8 pm when you got the race the next morning.
How does the WynTV Privateer prize help your racing?
For me personally, the prize money definitely went into my racing budget for 2021 to help pay off some of that credit card debt for my parents. Also, it brought a lot of exposure to a lot of people, sponsors, and social media showing that if I can go that fast as a privateer, imagine what it would be like on a team. And fans always love an underdog.
What has been your worst crash over the years?
That’s such a hard question to answer just because of the many crashes us racers have. I would probably have to say this year, Maribor WC 2021 was one of my worst crashes. No major injuries luckily, but I got absolutely tossed and it was very violent.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I would have to say my 13th place this year as a first-year elite was probably my biggest accomplishment. Of course, my Junior WC win was second to that but I feel that the top 15 place in elite had a bigger impact on my life and career.
What is your biggest regret?
I don’t have many regrets, I feel I’ve made some good decisions in my life haha. My biggest regret would probably be, to not forget to bring my spare wheel bag down to the venue back in 2020 Portgual WC race #1. I left my wheel bag at the house and grenaded my wheel in morning practice before finals. I had qualified 3rd in juniors, and I had a feeling I could have won if I didn’t miss my race run. If I would have won, then I would have won the overall and I probably would be on a team for 2021. But that’s part of being young and learning so I still take a lot of pride in my mistakes.
Where’s your favourite place to ride?
I would probably say the PNW. Some of the sickest riding and it’s just such a beautiful scenery to ride in.
What’s your favourite non-bike website?
That’s a hard question haha, to make it easy I would probably have to say Youtube and Amazon.
What’s your favourite motto or saying?
My dad would always tell my sister and me growing up and I still believe it to this day… “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” My pops always has cliché little sayings that he loves to repeat, but they’re popular for a reason.
What makes you happy?
Just having as much fun as I can, and enjoying experiences with people that are close to me.
How do you want to be remembered?
Just as a nice, humble person, that is always down for a good time.
What does the future hold?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I just want to say to everyone…follow your dreams because you CAN do it. And trust me, when you do do it, it’s so sick.
Also, Dante is rad.