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Photo of McKenna Merten

1McKenna Merten

Downhill MTB

Sponsors: Troy Lee Designs, Commencal, X-Fusion, Shimano, MRP, Tioga, xpedo, Soul Cycles

birthdate:
08/15/2002
height:
4'4
weight:
62 lbs
birthplace:
San Diego, CA
current residence:
The Peoples Republic of Jamul, CA
How did you get into BMX and mountain biking?
I started racing BMX at 6, and was racing some nationals by the end of that first year. I got a mountain bike for my 7th birthday, and the next day we went to Mammoth for a week. My first mountain bike ride was down the Kamikazi. I started racing downhill when I was nine.

How old were you when you started riding?
I got a 12” Nirve for my second birthday, and was off training wheels by 4.

Where did you grow up?
In the hills of East County, San Diego.

How did you first get introduced to TLD and/or Troy?
When I got my 8 wins and moved up to the Girls (Expert) category in BMX, my parents rewarded me with brand new Troy Lee gear to race in, including a shiny new Steve Peat D2! My youngest sister races in that helmet now.

How long have you been riding for TLD?
I got my first TLD stuff at around 6 ½, so I’ve been racing in the best gear in the world for over 4 years.

Which TLD products are you using?
D3 carbon pinstripe helmet, GP Air pants and jersey, GP and Air youth gloves, 5550 elbow guards, and TLD socks. I just wish they made the Sprint shorts in my size, all black to match my GP Midnight jersey! I also love all the TLD youth casual stuff, hoodies and hats and t-shirts.

Do any athletes/riders influence or inspire your style?
I’m a huge Steve Peat fan. I got to ride downhill with him in Colorado after he won World Championships. I also admire and respect all the World Cup girls, especially Manon Carpenter, Jill Kintner, Rachel Atherton, Emmeline Ragot and Myriam Nicole. That is my one and only goal, to race downhill World Cups, so these girls are my idols and inspiration.

What do you like to do when you're not riding?
I spend a lot of time at school and doing my homework. When I’m not doing that, and am not training, I like to spend time with my sisters. We draw and color and play a lot. I also make things out of duct tape, wallets and purses and stuff.

What bands/music are you into?
I like Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers a lot. I also really like Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and Gwen Steffani. My newest favorite would have to be the Black Keys.

List 3 goals you have for the upcoming season:
Earn my way to BMX Grands by good results at the Nationals I do this year.
Repeat State Champion or win Redline #1 in BMX.
Repeat as Downhill National Champion at Angel Fire this year.

List a few highlights of your career:
2012 US Downhill National Champ
2012 California State Downhill Champ
2012 California State BMX Champ
2011 Redline Cup #3, 2010 and 2011 District #2

What's your favorite race/event and why?
It would have to be Sea Otter. I had such a great time there last year, and had some good results. It’s just such a great event, with all the pros there and everything that goes on. It’s cycling over-load! National Champs was pretty cool, as well.

What's your idea of an epic day riding?
Doing downhill runs at a big mountain like Mammoth. Taking the chair-lift so I can get a ton of runs in and really get the trail dialed. I can’t wait till my little sisters are downhilling so we can all do runs together. Someplace awesome like Whistler, or the French Alps.

What's the best thing about being a Mountain Biking athlete?
So far it’s great, but the best thing will be when I’m old enough to race World Cups and I can travel to all the places and mountains and courses I’ve watched on the internet.

If you weren't a Mountain Biking athlete, how would you want to spend your time?
I think I would still want to, and look forward to, travelling. I love experiencing new things and seeing new places and meeting new people.

If you were running things, what would you change about the industry?
I would make the age for Juniors racing World Cups and the World Championships be 15-18. All World Cup downhill teams would have to have at least one junior girl rider, one junior boy, one senior girl, and one senior boy. There would be some sort of Junior Development program for downhill in the US. Also USA Cycling would create some program at USA BMX where they introduce BMX racers to mountain bike racing. That’s where all the future US mountain bike stars are going to come from.

Who would you like to thank?
First and most importantly, my Mom, my Dad and my sisters for everything they have done and continue to do for me. I would not be at this level of riding and racing without them. Secondly, all my sponsors and supporters who have looked after me so far. I am truly appreciative of all they have done for me. Third, I have to thank all the race promoters and fans throughout the country. Without their hard work, and passion, we wouldn’t have downhill racing.

Any words of wisdom?
Only you can stand in the way of your dream.