Hailing from San Diego, California, Luca Cometti is part of a rising tide of talented young downhill racers coming out of the United States right now. And like his peers, Luca has his eyes firmly on the prize and with some solid results behind him and a spot on the Intense Cycles Factory team, has the necessary foundations to achieve them. After a top thirty at the 2015 world championships in Vallnord, Andorra, Luca is finding his speed and settling into the necessary rhythms required to compete at the highest levels of the sport. It takes more than just raw speed and balls of steel to make it as professional downhill racer and as every race passes, Luca is taking his determination and passion for racing and developing the necessary tradecraft required to succeed in one of the most challenging sports in the world. Who is Luca Cometti?
Read along to find out... Where are you from and where do you live?
I’m originally from Phoenix, AZ, but I have lived most of my life in San Diego, CA. Who do you ride for?
I ride for Intense Factory Racing. They gave me a chance to be on their World Cup team in 2015. I did all the national races and half of the World Cup season and qualified for all the rounds and had a 26th place at the world champs in Andorra. This year I have shifted my focus to the full World Cup circuit. I can’t thank Intense Cycles enough for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to race World Cups and chase my dream. Where are you happiest?
Anytime I’m around happy energetic people I’m happy. But if they happen to be surfing, riding or racing... I’m even happier. What’s been your race venue?
Snowshoe, West Virginia and Vallnord, Andorra. We have a national out at Snowshoe each year and they always have a proper downhill track, and I have had some podium results there in the past too. Last year at Worlds in Andorra I had my best UCI result to date... 26th place. Where are your favourite trails?
Pila Bike Park - I have been riding there since I was a kid. All of my extended family are in Italy and Switzerland so every summer we would go visit and we were always close to Pila so I ended up riding there a ton. They are still some of my favourite trails, and I feel like every year I go back I ride something new. We also have a ton of fun trails in San Diego, they are sketchy in the summer, which works out well because I’m gone most the summer, but once winter comes along and we get some rain, the riding is insane. What are your strengths?
I try to stay well rounded on my bike. I like to ride as many different bikes as possible - its keeps riding fresh for me and I feel like you can take skills from whatever sort of bike you are riding. Shoot, if someone offered me an electric fat bike to go ride, I would probably head to the local dunes or the beach and try to get creative with something. So many people try and bash on certain bikes or styles of riding (myself included sometimes), but I figure if it puts a smile on your face then go out and do it and forget what others have to say. What are your weaknesses?
Winning World Cups... Maybe one day! What’s been your worst crash over the years?
When I was just a young fella, I was racing my friend down the street on a 16-inch with coaster brakes. I accidentally back peddled at maximum single-speed velocity and went over the bars to my face and chipped my front teeth as well as cut up most of my face. I only just recently got permanent caps on my teeth. I used to always lose my caps by eating some hard candy or apples. What’s been your luckiest escape?
Last year, Bernat Guardia, Ferran Jorba and I were all going for a ride up to a lake in Morzine. We were all wearing flip-flops, board shorts and we weren’t wearing helmets... This car came around a corner going about a million and a half miles per hour, slid off the road into a ditch and flipped back onto the road on its roof and we all had to jump out of the way to not get ploughed into... Bernat left our mechanics bike in the middle of the road and the car just barely missed it. If we were another 100 feet up the road we would likely have been dead. Which bike from over the years, conjures up the best memories?
I had a Norco 4 Hun hardtail a few years ago that I used to ride everything on. I made it a single speed and it used to be my trail bike, dirt jumper, commuter, etc. I blew the fork out about a year into owning it and kept running it for about another three years before selling it. Pretty sure my fastest climb at my local trails is still on that bike. What bikes are you riding right now?
My main go-to bike at home is the new Intense Carbon Spider 275. I also have an Intense Tazer hardtail that I bought off a friend a while back before I was riding for Intense, and of course the M16C! from time to time I also have a 16-inch that we go lake/pool hucking on. Who’s your favourite rider?
When I first got into riding I used to binge watch all the Clay Porter movies. Sam Blenkinsop’s sections always used to get me the most hyped, and I still watch him ride today and get stoked... so probably him. Who or what inspires you?
Shaun Palmer is one of my biggest inspirations; I always have his words going through my mind before my race runs. Same with Aaron Gwin, he has set the standard for American racers and he is a true professional in everything he does. What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?
Surfing, photography, hanging out with my lady, digging, moto, miata drifting, dog parks and cooking, What are you listening to right now?Wheeler Walker Jr
, Ted Nugent
. What’s your favourite movie/ TV show?Bates Motel
, Clay Porter
movies and the Earthed
collection. What’s your favourite non-bike website?StabMag
and Youtube Fail Army
videos. What’s your favourite motto or saying?"What can keep us thriving and healthy; can kill us just as quickly. Life is nothing but a fine line between being alive, and being dead" What grinds your gears?
Angry people, selfish sticks, stripped bolts and when my dirt bike doesn’t start. What makes you happy?
Good food, people, trails, and surf. If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?
Putting an effort into shooting photos on a professional level. I have always had a passion for shooting photos and I have invested a good amount of money into some gear in the past few years. I have never been good at art, so photography has been my way of expressing myself in an artistic way. As much as I like to shoot photos of mountain biking, I find the most gratification in shooting landscapes. I just recently got some Lee Filters that I have been experimenting with, that let you do long exposures midday. It works out well that all the races we go to usually have pretty amazing landscapes as well so it gives me a chance to get some photos that I would otherwise never get. If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make?
I would try and have USA Cycling put more of an effort into the National race circuit. It used to be so awesome back in the days with the NORBAs (or so I hear) and now the US race circuit pretty much goes unnoticed. Bring back the NORBAs!!! I would also would not fine people for peeing... nice going USAC. When you hang up your racing shoes, how do you want to be remembered?
A respectful person that was able to inspire some people to go out and ride their bike and live a happy life. What does the future hold for Luca Cometti?
Hopefully, some better World Cup results. I’ve had a bit of a rough World Cup season so far and I feel like my speed has been there but I have just had some bad luck with crashes and mechanicals. I just try and keep my head up and tell myself it is all part of racing. As long as I put the hard work in and believe in myself, I know the results will come, racing just really puts your mind to the test, especially when you're having bad results.