This 58-Year-Old Is Still a Mountain-Bike King

Tinker Juarez likely would not be a extremely superior accountant. Or salesman. Or definitely any variety

Tinker Juarez likely would not be a extremely superior accountant. Or salesman. Or definitely any variety of desk jockey. And he is aware that. The 58-12 months-outdated mountain-biking legend has been riding since he was thirteen, and whilst he doesn’t regret his lifestyle choices, sometimes he thinks about other avenues when he’s on his bicycle, passing men and women commuting to do the job. “I don’t know what I’d be doing if I was not riding,” he says. “I cannot see myself sitting in any variety of constructing all working day. Probably I’d be a gardener and mow lawns. I know I’d do the job challenging at it however.”

It is Juarez’s perseverance that has helped him become an icon in the mountain-bicycle world. Born David Juarez (his relatives gave him the nickname Tinker), the Angeleno commenced his occupation as a BMX racer, becoming one particular of the early superstars of the activity in the nineteen seventies. Immediately after fifteen several years racing BMX and riding freestyle, he switched to mountain biking in 1986 and commenced to rack up a lengthy record of accomplishments, including multiple nationwide championships, two appearances at the Olympics, and countless one-race wins. Now, after more than 3 many years as a professional mountain biker, he’s still salaried with Cannondale, his bicycle sponsor considering that 1994, and racing at the elite pro degree most weekends of the period. “My work is riding my bicycle, and I continue to have to go to do the job for 8 several hours each and every working day, just like you,” Juarez says. “Every 12 months when my deal is up, I don’t know if I’m gonna get an additional one particular. I check out to train challenging each and every 12 months and check out to retain the racing lively and keep active.”

Juarez was an early adopter of BMX—when he was just a teen, he and his friends claimed a dirt mound on a vacant good deal in their community in East Los Angeles, making use of shovels to establish jumps and berms. They set fenders and mud flaps on their one-velocity Schwinn bikes to make them glimpse like motorcycles. Even then, Juarez had a stellar do the job ethic, riding his BMX each day, hitting bounce soon after bounce for several hours soon after school. “It’s just apply,” Juarez says. “Like something else, you have to devote by yourself to it. For me, BMX was about frequent repetition.”

Juarez’s challenging do the job led him to podium finishes, sponsorships, and the honor of remaining dubbed King of the Skateparks by Bicycle Motocross Action journal in 1980. But not like quite a few BMX riders, he was also into the stamina facet of the activity and would cycle from his property for a number of miles to hit different parks all over the metropolis. Ultimately, Juarez says, he felt like “the outdated guy at the gates” at BMX competitions, so he commenced seeking for a new challenge. His knack for pedaling served him very well when he transitioned out of that type of cycling and into mountain biking in the mid-eighties, soon getting a star in the burgeoning sport.

“After fifteen several years of riding bikes with just one particular equipment, it felt definitely superior to have 6 gears on a mountain bicycle to pick from,” Juarez says. “And the technology in mountain biking was developing so rapid. I glimpse back and cannot feel what I was riding in 1990 when compared to what I experience right now. I don’t believe I could at any time go back to racing a 26-inch wheel once more.”

Juarez spent many years at the prime of the mountain-bicycle world, carving out a market for himself in almost masochistic endurance gatherings. He owned the 24-hour solo mountain-bicycle classification in the early 2000s, successful dozens of grueling overnight races and consecutive 24-hour solo nationwide championships from 2001 to 2004.

Much more than 19 several years soon after remaining inducted into the Mountain Bike Corridor of Fame—an honor that generally arrives soon after an athlete’s occupation is over—Juarez is continue to competitive in stamina gatherings: he won the Maah Daah Hey 100 in the North Dakota Badlands in 2018 and topped the podium at the UCI Masters Mountain Bike Entire world Championship in Quebec in 2019.

Juarez credits his late-occupation good results to his reliable teaching plan, which has him riding each day, tackling at least 300 miles and 20,000 feet of elevation each 7 days. He also generally puts in 3 lengthy, 70-furthermore-mile rides a 7 days on his street bicycle in the mountains outside L.A. Other days will see him doing hill repeats behind his property. “I’m often pushing challenging,” Juarez says. “I often know that each working day could be my last likelihood to experience, so I don’t want to minimize myself quick.”

This 12 months, Juarez’s plan is as active as at any time. Commencing in the spring, he’ll compete each and every weekend, largely in the pro division, and will check out to protect his UCI masters world championship in France this summertime. He has races scheduled in Australia and Portugal, and he’s commenced dabbling in gravel gatherings, which he says fits his normal climbing potential. At 58, Juarez says he continue to feels great—as lengthy as he gets ample sleep. The only time he feels his age is when he has to travel to an intercontinental occasion: the time modify, loss of sleep, and routine disruption wreak havoc on his performance. “If I cannot sleep, I’m screwed,” Juarez says. “Racing for 8 several hours soon after remaining up all night time? You cannot have a poor night time and race fellas half your age.” Juarez combats shifts in his plan by showing up to intercontinental gatherings a number of days beforehand to give his human body time to modify.

Jet lag apart, Juarez feels terrific and sees no end in sight for his professional mountain-bicycle occupation. “I guess riding your bicycle is superior for your health,” he says. “I’m continue to riding challenging races, and the only fellas in advance of me are half my age. But I’m often making an attempt to earn.”