Over the past few years, Lauren Gregg, the new 2014 California Enduro Series Queen, has made quite a few appearances at womens specific gravity mountain biking events. From participating in the Shine Ladies Jump Jam on the Camp of Champions Air Bag at Sea Otter in 2013 and 2014, Lauren has also competed in Sweetlines Sugar Showdown and has enjoyed dirt jumping for several years. As unfortunate it may seem that Lauren was not out showing the world her stellar skills on the gravity circuits, it is all a part of her master plan for becoming a world class professional downhill racer. When she made the statement that she would progress on to Enduro for 2014, we knew we needed this strong, inspiring, female on our team. Lauren went on to having an excellent season, beginning at the Sea Otter Classic Enduro, the first stop of the California Enduro Series. Read on about Lauren’s season highlights, how she got into mountain biking, her progressive plan from cross country to downhill, how she trains, her biggest challenges racing gravity, and her favorite stop of CES 2014. Lauren also describes her most inspiring competitor, junior racers, and her plans for the off season. Watch out ladies, Lauren plans to defend her CES title in 2015 and hopes to take top 5 for the very first USA Cycling Enduro National Championship. Thank you Lauren, we are so proud of you and can’t wait to see where you go with your skills and talent!
LBC: What were your personal season highlights?
Lauren: Being picked up by FOX at the beginning of the season was definitely a highlight. They were my first big industry sponsor and it was really amazing to have them step up and show faith in me as a rookie gravity racer. Their support has been key to the success of my season. Getting my first magazine cover shot was also super exciting. The high point of the season was ultimately taking home the Champion title for California Enduro Series.
LBC: What is your current Enduro Set-Up:
Lauren: Yeti SB66 w/ FOX Float 36 160, Float X CTD Adjust
LBC: How/when did you get into MTB racing?
Lauren: I started racing mountain bikes in 2009 when I was 18 years old. My dad had an old mountain bike in the garage that I had started riding, and I fell in love with it right away. I went into a bike shop to fix a flat tire and ended up buying a mountain bike DVD. I watched the movie and couldn’t believe there were guys riding and racing their bikes for a living. I knew then and there that was what I wanted to do. I signed up for my first race and started riding and training with the goal of becoming a pro. I wanted to race downhill, but did not have a DH bike so I started with cross country. I had planned to switch to DH once I got the right bike, but ended up finding a lot of success in XC and stuck with it for five years.
LBC: When did you decide you wanted to go gravity and what inspired you to make the switch?
Lauren: I decided to finally make the switch to gravity this past year, 2014. I was really burnt out on cross country. At the end of my XC career, I had lost a lot of the things that made me fall in love with my bike in the first place. I love the adrenaline of shredding down a trail, not spending every day doing intervals on the road bike. I was so stoked watching Enduro gain popularity and it was a logical step for me. Enduro is really the kind of riding and racing that I want to be doing.
LBC: How did you make this transition?
Lauren: I definitely had to switch up my training and learn a new riding style. I really needed to refocus on my technical descending skills. Body position and technique became super important. I also worked a lot on my upper body and core strength, which has really helped me with my bike handling at higher speeds.
LBC: What was your training regime for Enduro this year?
Lauren: I spent 3 days in the gym and 5 days on the bike every week. In the gym, I really focused on upper body and core. On the bike, I would do a couple days of intervals, which were super important for Enduro racing because it really does require a lot of burst fitness. The rest of my rides were spent sessioning DH sections and trying to figure out ways to shave off time on descents.
LBC: What was your biggest challenge with gravity racing?
Lauren: Finding the line between being aggressive enough and being reckless. I really wanted to push my limits, but I also new that consistency and staying injury-free was going to be the key to success. It was hard to push myself to the edge without any major crashes.
LBC: What was your favorite stop of the California Enduro series and why?
Lauren: The Kamikaze Enduro at Mammoth was my favorite stop this year. It was the most technically challenging course and it was a little bit intimidating, but my runs really came together on race day and I was stoked with my times. I conquered my fears and was really happy with the result.
LBC: What was it like being a part of Shine this season? Lauren: I was really excited to get involved with Shine this season. I’m stoked to be working with an organization that is inspiring more women to ride gravity. Shine has supported me through this season with product, encouragement, and an awesome group of female riders who love to get rad. Being promoted and supported as a member of the women’s gravity movement has been great and is something I’m really grateful for and excited about.
LBC: Who was your most inspiring competitor?
Lauren: Jackie Swider really inspired me this season. She came back after a tough injury and killed it at the Northstar Enduro. It really hard to mentally get over an injury, and it was super rad to see her push through the mental block and shred that course.
LBC: Most inspiring female junior(s)?:
Lauren: I coach a NorCal High School League mountain bike team here in Santa Cruz, and we have two girls on the team Geneva and Alice who inspire me every time I see them ride. I love how stoked they are on riding and racing bikes. They show me the exciting future of female mountain bike racing.
LBC: How will you spend the off season?
Lauren: I’ll be relaxing and getting ready for next season! I am planning a trip to go ride bikes in Bali in February, so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m hoping to also do some video work during the off season.
LBC: What are your goals for next season?
Lauren: I want to defend my title as the California Enduro Series Champion and continue to help that series grow. I am also going to race some EWS races and hope to take Top 5 at the first US Cycling Enduro National Championships.