Rushing downhill through jagged rocks, jumping over mangled and rocky banks, and swerving through narrow trails. Only seconds separate downhill mountain biking racer Trey Motley, a senior at Bonita Vista High School, from the other state and national competitors. The sport is certainly a unique and demanding one that not many would consider during high school. Motley, however, has taken to the sport with a growing passion and a love for adrenaline.
“I didn’t expect to be racing but I started doing bigger obstacles and the adrenaline is what really got me into downhill mountain biking,” Motley said.
Motley first began riding because he enjoyed biking with his friend Erik Ruiz, another Bonita senior, and noticed that the sport had a low impact on his foot, therefore posing no problem to the chronic foot pain he had been experiencing. Eventually, the adrenaline rush of the downhills and the beauty of the trails encapsulated Motley into a lifelong passion for biking.
“It works your mind and body. It’s stressful, strategic, and physical. Nothing quite like it, really. Trail riding is fun for the view and exercise but nothing can beat the adrenaline rush of going through gnarly rock gardens, dropping off big drops, or clearing big jumps,” Motley said.
Motley has since participated in many races and events, enlisting the help of his coach Sean “Griz” McClendon, who guides him on his progression as a racer, his diet, and his general skills on and off the track. Suffering from a harrowing injury himself, Griz has become a role model for Motley, encouraging him to continue forward and push through obstacles. Alfonso Garcia, Motley’s friend and professional racer, has also been a big role model and has helped him gain confidence in racing. Even Motley’s parents have expressed positive attitudes with the fast paced, expensive support.
“[They] understand the dedication and need to race [and] buy parts… They’ve been really supportive in what I’m doing and they help a ton with pretty much everything. I wouldn’t be here doing what I love without them,” Motley said.
From the initial push from his friend Ruiz, to the inspiring help of Griz and Garcia, to the financial and emotional support from his parents, Motley hopes to continue his biking long into the future.
“I’ll be biking until I can’t physically[…] It’s just as addictive as cocaine but twice as expensive,” Motley said.
But even with his passion and dedication, Motley still has things he hopes to work on. Apart from continuing practice of rock gardens and jumps, Motley’s worst enemy is perhaps the simplest one: The wall.
“The wall is the infamous sprint at the end of the course at Fontana. It’s flat and long, and most of the time a race is won or lost there,” Motley said. However, he is working on this particular part of the course, saying, “I’m starting to train more because that sprint is so long and well, to be honest, I am horrible at sprinting. It’s pretty much my downfall as a rider.”
Other than that, Motley hopes to work on his anaerobic threshold and his balance between speeding and braking.
“[Downhill] racing is a dance, you need to know when to pedal, when to apply the break, and where not to. It’s very finicky.”
Motley is working to succeed. With a team of supporters, many sponsors, and a passionate love for the rush, Motley aspires to continue onto Pro GRT and race under the SDSU collegiate team.