"We really like working with Lauren because she’s social, charismatic, and takes the time to learn about the product – and she’s pretty fast on a bike." - Fox
Who is Lauren Gregg? I am a 25-year-old professional mountain biker who fell in love with riding bikes by accident and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm passionate about the sport and want to support the next generation of riders and inspire more people to get on bikes and get outside of their comfort zones.
Where are you from and where do you live? Originally I am from Los Angeles, but now I live in my Ford Transit van! I've been living on the road for 6 months, based loosely out of Reno, NV but now I'm trying to figure out my next move and where I will spend my offseason. In preparation for the EWS next year, I think I'll be chasing summer and base out of places where I can ride all winter before transitioning back into the transient life for the race season. Not having a home base has been a big change but it's pretty liberating and exciting!
Who do you ride for? I ride for Fuji, Ford Motors, Fox, Wilderness Trail Bikes, Shimano, VP Components, Race Face, iXS, Praxis, 100%, Loam Coffee, DD Hammocks and Skratch Labs.
Where are you happiest? I'm happiest camping out in the backcountry in a spot with great riding. Big sky, fresh air, and rad trails. It's always a plus when I've got a good crew to ride with as well! I'm also really happy at the races and events because I can spend time with my friends and the people that I care about. Over the years I've developed a lot of relationships in the bike industry - it's like a family to me that I'm always stoked to spend time and ride with.
What’s been your favourite race/contest venue? The Downieville Classic was one of my first races ever and a venue I return to every year. The riding is phenomenal but it's the vibe of the event that keeps me coming back- kicking back in the water with the homies in one of the most beautiful river valleys on earth after pushing our bodies to the absolute limit out on the course - it's one of my favorite parts of the year.
Where are your favourite trails? Well, living on the road has been an amazing opportunity to ride such a wide variety of trails this year. Rather than training on one set of trails, I've been able to keep it fresh and check out new terrain each week which has been awesome. I lived in Santa Cruz for a while, and I always love going back and riding the epic flowy loam there of course. Also, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I learned to ride on Mammoth Mountain and love the rocky tracks and surfing the loose pumice there too.
What are your strengths? My strengths are my fitness and tracks with high-speed wide open sections. I really like to get off the brakes and go fast. I'd say staying positive and having a good time on race day is also a strength.
What are your weaknesses? Coming from an XC background, the gnarly tech stuff has been a challenge, but I'm learning! It's been a really exciting progression over the past few years transitioning from XC to Enduro and getting more comfortable riding on big features, jumps, and through technical sections. I have a lot to learn and I'm excited to keep getting faster and smoother.
What’s been your worst crash over the years? My worst crash was in Mammoth. I was messing around racing my buddy, he was on a DH bike and I was on my trail bike, and I teased him about making it down faster. I lost traction at high speed, went off the side of the track and rag-dolled down the mountain. I thought I was alright and rode my bike to the hospital for some stitches, but it turns out I tore my MCL, my meniscus, broke my hand, broke some ribs, and needed lots stitches in my knee and my face. I was in the lead before I crashed, though.
What’s been your luckiest escape? I have been having a lot of lucky escapes recently! I've been working a ton on my upper body strength the past couple of seasons, and as I'm starting to go faster and push my limits more I'm really starting to see it pay off, especially in close calls and saves where I feel like I should lose my front wheel, but I'm able to muscle it straight. I've had a few major "oh shit" moments recently where I didn't hit the ground and was super grateful for all those hours spent in the gym.
Wide open in the fast sections at Mammoth.
What bikes are you riding right now? Fuji Auric Fuji Roubaix - Road bike
Who’s your favourite rider? Sam Hill- watching him in World Cups was a big inspiration for me to get into racing. So pinned all the time!
Who or what inspires you? New riders that are so stoked on bikes, and seeing how empowering and freeing riding can be for people. I've had quite a few people this year tell me they've been inspired by my content to get on their bikes more or try mountain biking for the first time, and that's been so humbling and really inspires me to keep going! If I can be a part of helping one person discover the joys of mountain biking, it's all worth it.
What do you enjoy doing away from bikes? Whenever I'm asked this question I think "Man, my life is not very well-rounded..." haha most of my days revolve around bicycles! But when I'm not riding I like to read, write and do yoga. Camping and spending time in the backcountry will always be a favorite whether or not I'm on a bicycle. I also love to travel to new places.
What are you listening to right now? With all the driving I do (almost 15,000 solo miles since April!), I'm really deep in the podcast hole right now. Radiolab is a favorite, I feel like I've learned so much this season that my brain is going to explode. When I'm listening to music, it's usually rap or hip hop. Right now- Gucci Mane's new album.
What’s your favourite movie/ TV show? The Big Lebowski and Spinal Tap are two favorite movies of mine, as well as music documentaries like Dig! and The Devil and Daniel Johnston. I love binge watching science and nature shows like Cosmos and Planet Earth when I have access to Netflix.
I will do today what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't.
What grinds your gears? People who try to discourage others, for whatever reason. I think we should be trying to build each other up and help our friends and peers. Let's all be on the same team!
What makes you happy? Nature and animals put a big smile on my face. I really like dogs and funny rodents (I've got two pet rats.) I also love riding with high schoolers- I've coached a few high school NICA teams and seeing how stoked the young racers are, makes me so happy and reignites my own love for the sport.
If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing? My degree is in history, and I think I most likely would have stayed in school to get my History PhD. and became a history professor or a writer.
If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make? I think one of the things I would like to see in America is a focus on professionalizing the top level of the sport. There are some really passionate and focused young riders here that really want to go Pro, but it is so incredibly difficult to make it a viable career here in the States. There are other countries where I feel that mountain biking is taken more seriously as a pro sport, where here in America it is more of a "hobby," with the almost all pros still having day jobs. I think we could really elevate the sport in this country if we focused on developing the professionalism at the top level for the up-and-coming racers and had more programs, support, or development teams for this.
When you hang up your racing/ riding shoes, how do you want to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as someone who inspired others to go out and find something they are passionate about, and as a rider who helped support and develop the next generation of mountain bikers and mountain bike racing.
What does the future hold for Lauren Gregg? In 2017 I'll be racing the full EWS tour and I'm excited to continue working with Fuji to develop their Enduro team and factory mountain bike program. After focusing on my racing for a few more years I could see myself going into team management or finding a way to work with and support younger racers. I'm going to continue developing my brand Turn Loose to raise money for and support young riders and action sports athletes, potentially starting a Turn Loose team- I'm excited to watch Turn Loose grow and see where it goes!
Images by Lauren Gregg, California Enduro Series, Colin Meagher, Ben Stanziale, and Soul ID.