16 Year Old Gavin Tomlinson Races in Mountain Bike Competitions Across the Nation

    Photo courtesy of Gavin Tomlinson

    Meet Gavin Tomlinson, a 16 year old Burbank student who defies gravity and races against the clock in mountain bike competitions across the nation.

    Tomlinson’s racing career started at the age of ten, but prior to mountain biking, he rode motocross bikes and BMX with his dad.  “My Dad always rode moto and mountain bikes so it was something he could teach me and we could do together,” said Tomlinson who now competes in three disciplines of mountain biking: downhill, enduro, and dual slalom. 

    Photo courtesy of Gavin Tomlinson

    Downhill mountain biking is an extreme sport where riders compete on rough and rocky terrain while overcoming roots, banks, bumps and jumps along the mountainside. Enduro racing is a timed downhill competition with staggered racers while dual slalom consists of only two racers at a time on a short slop tracks filled with jumps and turns. “My personal favorite is downhill, it is the most competitive and I just have more fun with it,” added Tomlinson.

    Photo courtesy of Gavin Tomlinson

    Mountain biking can be an extremely dangerous sport with downward speeds of 40 mph. “When I’m riding downhill I try to stay really focused because one mistake can result in a crash which can be pretty bad,” said Tomlinson. “Before my race runs I can get pretty nervous but once I drop in it all goes away.” In 2021 Tomlinson ruptured his spleen putting him in the hospital for a week and forcing him to take three months off of his training. While he is back on the bike and racing again his spleen only functions at 50% due to scare tissue.

    During the race’s offseason of October to April, Tomlinson trains six days a week. Three of those days he trains on a rowing machine or Peloton bike and the other days he trains at the Burbank Fitness Club, who is one of Tomlinson’s sponsors. For training he also rides local trails, visits Valley Skate Park or cruises around the community totaling around 10 hours of riding per week. As an independent learning student through BUSD, Tomlinson has more time available to ride, race, train, and travel to competitions.

    Competitions have taken the Tomlinson family all across the country, mainly to states with mountain towns and popular ski resorts. His favorite competition locations have been Snowshoe, West Virginia and Killington, Vermont, where his family took time to visit other neighboring cities before heading home. Other states he has raced at this past summer include Washington, Utah, Idaho, and Montana.

    Tomlinson Family. Photo courtesy of Gavin Tomlinson

    Tomlinson is looking forward to competing in the 2023 Fox U.S. Open next year and continuing to get the best results so that he can be accepted onto a World Cup team. This past year he took home first place in the Southridge Winter Series and Southridge USA Snowvalley competitions, a reflection of the hard work he has been putting into his training. “Although winning is awesome, I tend to learn more from races that I don’t do well at,” said Tomlinson. “You know what you could have done differently and learn from it. It’s one of the things that makes you faster.”

    His future goals include racing World Cups across the globe, but in the meantime he is working on earning enough points to be on a sanctioned team in 2023 and compete in more races in the junior class. He hopes that by getting on a team he can keep racing as an adult and turn it into a full time profession.

    Gavin Tomlinson in first place. Photo courtesy of Gavin Tomlinson
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