Shonny VanLandingham Interview

Shonny shredding XTERRA

Shonny shredding XTERRA

 

Q: When did you decide to switch it up and go XTERRA?

A:  After racing the professional mountain bike circuit for 9 years I decided it would be good to have a change.  So last year I decided to focus on XTERRA racing for ’09.  I had done a few XTERRA races for ‘fun’ in previous years and knew that it would provide the new challenge I needed to keep me motivated to train, represent my sponsors, and have fun.

Q: Did you swim or run that much before you made the switch? Was it hard learning to race the other disciplines?

A:  I won a few state championships in high school track (way back…haha) so the running is coming back to me.  The swim is definitely my biggest challenge.  I’ve never swam competitively so I am spending a lot of time working on technique. You can’t hide behind your fitness in swimming, you really have to learn the game.

Q: What does a typical XTERRA race consist of and where do they take place? Is there one near Durango?

A:  XTERRA races are Olympic distance, 1.5 K swim, 30 K mtb, 10 K trail run.  There is a national series circuit that takes us all over the U.S. and also a Global Tour with races in Australia, New Zealand, Saipan, South Africa, Brazil, and throughout Europe.  The World Championships are in Maui, Hawaii at the end of the season.  There is a regional XTERRA race in Farmington, NM, in June.  It’s on the Road Apple course so you can bet it’s a lot of fun!  I recommend giving it a ‘tri’.

Q: Who was your female MTB hero when you were first starting to race?  What was it like when you met them for the first time? 

A:  I starting racing pro after one year as an amateur.  So honestly, I lined up for my first Pro NORBA National race not knowing any of the pros since I was so new to the sport.  But I would say I came to respect and admire Ruthie Mathes for her persistence and accomplishments over her career.  It’s always a pleasure to run into her in town or on the trail.

Q: What is your favorite epic ride in Durango? How about in town ride?

A:  Epic – anything in the high country.  In town favs – Sailing Hawk, Big Canyon and the BMX track!

Q: What was your first MTB race experience like? How about your first pro race?                                                                                                                                                                      

 A:  My first mountain bike race was in Del Norte, the old CORPS series.  I had just gotten clip-less pedals so I fell over several times.  My first pro race was the Big Bear NORBA National in ’99.  It was probably good that I didn’t know any of the pros and wasn’t intimidated.  I just rode my race and ended up on the podium in 4th.

Q: You played college basketball, what was that like? What was your best game ever?

A:  My first love is b’ball for sure.  I still love it, even though my skills are rusty.  I enjoyed the team aspect of the sport, camaraderie and sense of group accomplishment.  My best game ever was when I hit a 3 pointer just past half court to win the game.  That scenario has been played out in every b’ball players’ dreams.

Q: We have some pretty fast junior ladies on DEVO, what advice do you have for them making the transition from junior to senior racing?A:  Wait until I am retired before you start kicking my butt.  Just kidding!  It is so exciting to see you ladies improving every year and while keeping a big smile on your face.  My advise is to keep it fun, mix it up (single speed, BMX, downhill, XC, unicycle, try an XTERRA), vary your training.  If you BELIEVE it you can ACHIEVE it, whatever it may be!  BELIEVE in yourself!!!

swimming with smart fish

swimming with smart fish

Shonny's favorite trail, the Coffee Trail in Hawaii

Shonny

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