21 Oct , 2019
Racing Team Focus – Xylena Hoppen
Lake Forest, So Cal. Born and raised. My parents came to US in 90s from Germany.
Local Riding Spots?
Laguna Beach Area
Favorite spot to ride?
Whistler, BC…Really nothing is better than A-Line party laps with friends.
Races/series this season?
I started with Sea Otter this year and managed a third with a broken derailleur. I then stepped up into pro class this year and have hit BMEs, an EWS in Whistler, I also raced a couple of the California Enduro Series. It’s been great, but not without a few hiccups. The later part of the summer has been tough due to the fact that I had bruised a rib at the EWS in Whistler and then caught bronchitis and literally fractured it from coughing. I missed a couple rounds as a result. Four weeks later, I’m over the worst of it and got an 8th in the Pro category at the Fox US Open last week.
Tell us a little bit about your history in the sport. What got you hooked on riding and ultimately racing?
I started riding at the age of 10. Everyone in my family rides, my parents, my two brothers and our dogs. We’ve always spent a lot of time in the outdoors together and riding is just such an awesome way to get out there and experience it with people you are close to. At the age of 12 I started racing at the local OC, Over the Hump XC series and then NICA SoCal High School League soon after. In my junior year of high school I started racing SoCal Enduro series at locations such as Vail Lake, and Big Bear. 2 years ago I started doing the California Enduro Series. The best part of it is the community of both racers and families that I have grown up in. We all travel together/rent cabins/etc. and there is true family vibe and support that I’m lucky to have.
When did you start racing for Eminent and tell us about your factory race rig. Do you have any setup items you are particularly finicky about?
Eminent contacted me last year and it’s been a great opportunity. My Haste rides amazing. From a finicky standpoint, I’d say brakes and tire combos are especially important to me in steeper terrain. The Eminent floating brake is awesome for this exact reason.
You’ve bumped up a class this year which has to change your perspective a bit. Have you had to readjust your goals?
What’s the biggest take away so far from this season.
I raced the pro category at all races except Sea Otter and the EWS due to lack of qualifications. Doing pro at BME and CES this year should move me into pro EWS for next year. Like I said, I had a tough round with a concussion at the beginning of the season plus fractured rib and bronchitis this year so I’m definitely looking forward to a fresh 2020 race season.
Who is your biggest hero in the sport and why?
Probably Tahnee Seagrave. She had one hell of a crash at Fort Bill and came back at the end swinging. I like how she totally kills it, but also brings a feminine flare to the sport.
Women’s riding and racing has exploded in the last five years. What do you attribute that to?
Riding bikes is for everyone. I think social media has played the biggest big role. Brands and lifestyle pages are doing more and more both female specific or mixed gender riding shots/videos, where both men and women are straight up shredding and having fun… which is really promoting the sport from a co-ed perspective and I think that’s something we can all appreciate, cause that’s what it’s all about, right?
How do you balance riding, racing, school, and everything else life has to throw at you?
It’s tough. I’m pursuing a teaching degree/career. I currently spend three days at school and juggling at the same time with an internship at an elementary school and also work a day job 5 days per week at a phone case/go pro accessory company called SP United. Fortunately I have a very strong network of both fellow racers and families that, as I noted earlier travel and support each other. This definitely helps when it comes to coordinating travel to races.
With racing you have to get in the hours of training. Especially with Enduro you need to put in the hours on the bike and the gym. Yes that means that you might be missing friends get together here and there, or a concert. But at the end of the day if you want to do well at the elite level in any sport/activity you need to dedicate time in order to do well.
If you didn’t ride bikes, what would you do?
Surfing, Moto, maybe XC trail running, or anything that puts me in the outdoors. I will forever have a passion for outdoor activities.
Open floor, anything you want to say, shout outs, etc? Want to throw any family/friend thanks in there (just a thought)?
Thanks to my sponsors for their support and wrenching throughout the season, it has been a dream come true. You guys keep my dream alive! I also want to thank my family and friends for all the support they have given me this year. I couldn’t have gone through the season without them. Having a strong support group can go a long way.
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