AOTW: Shane Leslie

Author: Tim Remick

What’s new in the life of Shane Leslie? 2017 treating you well, yeah?

Nothing too crazy, I’ve just been enjoying some down time and college life. 2017 was a crazy year for me. I raced both the full World Cup circuit as well as the National circuit. It was awesome getting to travel the world with all my best friends racing my bike every weekend. I had a lot of ups and downs but looking back on it, it was a pretty unreal year regardless of results.

What’s it like living in Northern Arizona next to some of the best trails Arizona has to offer?

I love being in Northern Arizona, Flagstaff is home to me and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now. I’m originally from Michigan and didn’t move here until I started school. I never really had riding out my back door in Michigan and now it’s just unlimited for me. All of my friends and I can get out of class and go ride moto, ski and obviously ride bikes basically every day. The trails here in Flagstaff are unreal too, they’re very chunky, technical trails so they prepare me pretty well for the World Cup tracks.

During your off-season, do you spend more time training in the gym or on the bike?

It kind of just depends on the week for me, sometimes I’ll be in the gym almost everyday and other times we’re riding bikes every day. Normally in January and February I spend a bit more time in the gym just because we’re getting snow, but once March rolls around I’m constantly on my bike.

Going to Pan-American Championships down in Colombia must have been quite the adventure. How did that go?

Yeah for sure. Going down to South America is always pretty crazy, everything seems so hectic and high pace. This year on the way to the track we had a few hour bus shuttle once we flew into Bogota. On the way there our bus driver had the thing tapped and it felt like we were going 100 the whole way. When the traffic got a bit heavy we had a couple taxi drivers side scrape the bus going about 80 right in front of some police officers, and it didn’t affect anyone and everything just carried on without anyone stopping. The whole American team was freaking out! Hah. The track this year though was unreal and the people are always so inviting. It was a rad experience and a got to ride some unreal trails and drink some amazing coffee!

You also had a pretty busy summer going back and forth between World Cups and National Rounds and were able to get some solid results.

Yeah that was pretty crazy for me. Honestly it probably wasn’t the best idea. I started to get a bit fatigued at the end of the season and just needed some time at home to rest up. All of my best results I had were after there was a little break. I got to spend a week home in Arizona before flying out for Andorra and then I was able to get a 32nd there. But whenever I did 8 weeks on the road going back and forth from Nationals to World Cups, my results started to fall a bit at the end of the trips. It was for sure a good learning year though and I know what to focus on now for next season.

Lastly, being a business student at Northern Arizona University, how do you balance between life as a full-time student and as an athlete outside of school?

That’s for sure a tough one, I probably focus a little too much on racing and not enough on school. Haha, which my Mom for sure wouldn’t agree with. Even at this very moment I’m answering these interview questions instead of studying for my Finance exam. But I’m able to make it through with the help from my professors and some long nights. I think being a Marketing major is a good fit for a racer though. Racing has helped me more than school ever could in learning about relationships with people and how companies work together. I get to work with marketing people through all my sponsors and get an inside look at what they’re doing for their brand and how they are trying to make it bigger. So when I’m in my classes talking about trying to market a product or having a good brand image, I already feel like I know so much about the topic just by working with my sponsors.

Thanks Shane! Congrats on a rad season and stoked to see you continue to kill it! Any last words before you take off?

Thanks a ton! Yeah just want to thank my parents for always sticking behind me through all of my racing, and all of the people who have helped me along the way getting to this point. My team manger Joey Palmer has been a huge help for me this season, and always getting me squared away when needed. And of course a huge thanks to all my sponsors- Defiant Racing, Intense Cycles, Industry Nine, Monster Army, Deity Components, Maxxis tires, 100%, Fox suspension, Five ten, Crankbrothers, Geiger coaching and Absolute bikes.