Ryan Nyquist doubles as a pro rider and adoring dad when he’s not out winning the Dew Cup or being named the Tour’s Athlete of the Year. He even combined both after accepting his Dew Cup award last season with his infant son strapped to his chest. He overcame some hardships, including the passing of his mother, but was still able to pull through with the kind of riding that’s kept him at the top of the sport for easily the last decade. Nyquist, a podium regular and a staple on the BMX park circuit, collected his second Dew Cup in dirt last season. The 31-year old from Los Gatos, CA just decided to tackle vert too, and will compete in all three disciplines for the first time since 2000 at this week’s Nike 6.0 BMX Open. Alli touched base with Nyquist to hear about his double life and get inside his head on how winning his second Dew Cup in BMX dirt came when least expected.
With everything going on in your life, was winning a Dew Cup even on your radar when the series began last year?
Yeah. It’s always there. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that you go to the Dew Tour wanting to do well. But it wasn’t like a huge priority. I wanted to go there and ride well but it wasn’t like I was 100 percent focused on that and that was like my goal for the whole year, there was definitely more important things going on besides that. It was definitely a surprise when all of a sudden I became a contender for that.
At what point of the season did you think you really had a chance, and who did you think would be your main competition?
With there being four stops last year I had a pretty good first showing and I wasn’t really banking on the first contest being an indicator. Portland went well. I got first there. But even there I was like it’s still anybody’s game. So I think once Salt Lake City came around and I was able to grab the win there, I was like, wow, this could actually happen. Then it was like the pressure was on and I definitely wanted to try to see if I possibly could. So then you’ve got guys like Brandon Dosch who was pretty much hot on my heels the whole year. Then a handful of other guys that if I messed up severely or he messed up severely, they could have taken that spot too. So it wasn’t like I had it wrapped up at any point, which kind of made it a little more scary.
When you look back at winning the Dew Cup what are some of the things that you’re the most stoked on? What surprised you the most?
Any time you can go to a contest and win is a good feeling. Portland was great for me. It was great to go out there and take some risks that I wasn’t really sure about. Just as far as tricks, going out there and trying stuff that I hadn’t really done in years past or hadn’t really done in contests period. So to be able to pull that stuff off and walk away with a win gave me new inspiration. On top of all that my wife surprised me and flew out. I think it was after my second run I just spotted them in the chill area and I totally did not expect that so it was definitely overall a good contest.
“Going into this year I was definitely like, wow, this is pretty much do or die.”-Nyquist
Does it feel any different winning the Cup this year compared to your win in 2007?
Not really. It was a pretty amazing feeling. You’re definitely happy but it’s more relief because all year long you’re pushing yourself and trying to stay on top of your game and it’s a lot of stress. Going into this year I was definitely like, wow, this is pretty much do or die. If I really mess up at this contest the title is definitely out of my hands. There’s definitely a lot of relief that happens when you actually get told you got it. A weight gets lifted off your shoulders and you can kind of relax a little bit, but it was just as emotional, if not more, this time than it was last time.
Describe what your life has been like since the season ended.
I’ve been home a lot. I’ve been helping raise our son and take care of him during the days while my wife works. I’ve switched from professional athlete to professional dad mode. I’ve been doing a lot of that and riding and trying to stay on top of my game as well. It’s been a big juggling act. Traveling here and there but mainly just enjoying the time home and the time I get to spend with my family.
Do you have your Dew Cups on display at your house?
Yeah, actually I do. They’re both right next to each other along with a couple trophies.
Who puts the most pressure on you, yourself or your friends and family?
Probably myself. I don’t know if there’s anybody that gets more disappointed than me if I go out there and ride horrible or can’t live up to my own expectations. Definitely I’m the guy that puts pressure on myself if things happen. Because I know what’s inside of me and what I can do and what I should be able to do and when it doesn’t add up it’s like there’s nothing that could be more disappointing than that.
“It’s never been an easy thing for me to be able to win a Dew Tour title. I don’t expect anybody to just lay down and let me have that.”-Nyquist
Is it more fun for you to compete in dirt or park, or do you have a preference?
Dirt seems to be the one I look most forward to because I’ve ridden it the longest in my life. So when I think of going to a contest I always thing of dirt. I don’t know if that’s because usually dirt kind of comes up first with the scheduling or what, but yeah, I always tend to look forward to that. Then when park comes around I have a lot of fun doing that because that’s what I ride most is ramps. I guess I don’t really have a favorite because I look forward to dirt but then I always get excited for park as well.
Any new tricks you’ve been working on?
No, not really. I’ve just been cruising around and not really taking it too serious yet. Hopefully in the next few months I’ll be able to be on the bike a little more and ride and progress and get ready for the 2010 season.
Have you put much thought into being the returning champ this year? Are you anxious to hold onto your title?
It would be nice. Yeah, for sure. Is it possible? Yeah, I still think it’s possible. But is it going to be easy? Absolutely not. It’s never been an easy thing for me to be able to win a Dew Tour title. I don’t expect anybody to just lay down and let me have that. To do it back-to-back would be amazing. The fact that I have two right now is pretty awesome, but back-to-back would be insane.
If you had to pick the winner of this year’s BMX dirt Dew Cup, who do you think it will be?
So, you’re saying like if I was stuck underneath my house and couldn’t get out and finish up the Dew Tour, who would I put my money on, basically? Based on last year I would either say TJ Ellis or Brandon Dosch. Those two guys are really stepping up their game. Especially TJ Ellis. The level of his riding has just gone up like crazy. And I think that Dosch is hungry after last year. After being so close he has a taste for it and that’s something that doesn’t go away very easily. Then you have past champions like Cam White and his riding has been progressing slowly so he can come to a point where all of a sudden now he can be a major, major contender – not that he isn’t already. So I’d say any of those three guys. And then I’d throw in Anthony Napolitan for good measure too.
The Dew Tour Nike 6.0 BMX Open returns to Chicago July 23 and 24 at Soldier Field South Festival Lot. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $15. To get your tickets, click here. For more information on the Nike 6.0 BMX Open event, including the competition schedule, click here.