Junior Rides Into National Spotlight
“Next year I want to get on a World Cup team and do all the World Cup races, and finish in the top 100 in the world,” Leslie said.
Leslie, Junior at Seaholm High School, has been biking since he was a young child just like most students at Seaholm, however Leslie took cruising around the block to the next level.
He now races competitively in downhill-mountain biking, which is exactly what it sounds like-shooting straight down the side of a mountain on a bicycle, going for the fastest time possible.
Despite the danger, Leslie’s love for the sport prevails.
“Knocked out teeth, shattered foot, broken collarbone, broken hands and fingers, shattered shoulder, broken ribs, and lots of concussions- it’s all part of the sport,” Leslie said.
Some people might think he’s crazy, but biking is an adrenaline rush he can’t go without.
All the spills and all the pain that comes with them are all worth it to him, every single fall makes him a better rider, Leslie said. This year Leslie is better than ever before, and he wants to be on the USA World Cup team.
Saying this goal would be hard to reach is a bit of an understatement, but Leslie sure has been putting in the work necessary to accomplish it.
Only seven riders from the USA can be on the World Cup team and Leslie is hoping to be one of them. If he continues to win national races like he’s been doing, he may qualify to be on the team.
He now races in National and World Cup races all throughout the country.
Most recently, Leslie biked at the Sea Otter Classic in Washington, finishing with a time of 2:19.5. He placed 14th in Washington, however before this race he had won four events in a row.
“I go to the gym a few times a week,” Leslie said. “But I ride everyday, whether it’s BMX, Motocross, road-riding, or mountain biking.”
Leslie has been in nearly 40 USA Cycling events in the past three years, and practice is indeed starting to make perfect. Leslie won eight out of 13 events he raced in 2012 alone, and finished on the podium many times previous.
Leslie is a USA Cycling team rider, sponsored by High Gear Racing, and is clearly a rider with potential to take biking a step further.
“I’ve been biking with him [Shane] for awhile now, and whether it’s on the street or on a mountain he really knows how to ride,” Noah Fairburn, friend and fellow biker said. “I think if he really wants to he could make it a profession, he definitely has talent.”
Leslie wants to make biking a career.
“Hoping to make it my job,” he said. “I want to ride for companies and get paid for doing it; that would be the best job.”
The life of professional biking would be a dream come true for Leslie and his parents, however biking is no stranger to the family. Leslie’s father, John, also races for USA cycling in the same events as Shane for his age group, 40+.
John, who is 47, started back in Colorado when he was in his mid-twenties.
“I got into it through some friends who rode, and ever since I tried it out, I loved it and haven’t stopped since,” John said.
As his friends introduced him to the sport, Leslie became ever attached. Like father like son appears to show true as Shane picked up quickly on the sport as well.
“My dad got me into it when I was little,” Leslie said. “He’s always been there for me and motivated me to get faster. “
With his dad as a motivator, and biking as their common bond, the Leslie men share a talent that brings them closer together.