Meet Junior Bear Athlete Gabbi Richardson
Every week we will introduce a new member of the Bear Development Team.
This week, meet…
Racing Age: 17
Hometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Race Bike of Choice: Top Fuel 9.9
Favorite Training Song: Connection – One Republic
Favorite Post-Ride Snack: Beef jerky
My road to mountain biking racing was a rocky one, to say the least. My parents were enthralled in the sport before I was born, but didn’t introduce it to my brother and me until we were around 12 and 10 years old. It became a weekly family activity; though as most stubborn and lazy 10 year olds would, I absolutely hated it. Every weekend for almost three years, my parents had to drag me out kicking and screaming—quite literally—in order to get me to ride my bike. Oh, how quickly things changed! My parents introduced me to Strava, an app that allows me to compare my segment times to the people I follow, and the very next ride I set out to beat a family friend’s time on a climbing segment. Soon, I wanted to oust my brother’s achievements, committing myself to climbing to our local mountains and completing the full 50 Mile Ride for Rwanda. That summer my dad convinced me to do my first ever race, one from the Over the Hump series. I had great success, which only fueled me to keep racing. I joined the NICA SoCal League my eighth grade year and, just like that, I started to love riding my bike! My parents’ relentless efforts to make me partake in family bonding and my own extreme competitiveness had led me to the very passion that I can’t imagine living without today.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have been born healthy, and I have never had any physical setbacks; though, beginning in my middle school years, I’ve struggled with my mental health. I have allowed anxiety, depression, and lack of self-confidence to have such an impact on my life that it began to change who I was; I lost myself into a spiral of self-doubt and hatred until I hit rock bottom my freshman year of high school, where my road almost ended. I have since made improvements—leaps—in my mental state; reminding myself to keep my head up and to keep going; of course, not without falling down here and there.
Cycling itself helped pull me out of the hole I dug for myself, thus the importance and passion I have for my sport going deeper than just “stoke factor”—though now there’s plenty of that too! Nowadays I train almost daily with my dad, the two of us closer to each other now more than ever.
Off the bike and when I’m not doing homework, I love to expand or reread my bookshelf full of my favorite authors. I’m also an avid writer; in whatever spare time I have, I love to develop story lines full of plot twists, with characters, events and nuances that make my novel more complex.