By Jeremy Berger
on 9.12.13
Photo by Aaron Gwin

While his contemporaries were putting on puppet shows and learning to play catch, Aaron Gwin was racing in national BMX competitions. He was eight. Today, Red Bull’s Gwin is a two-time overall UCI World Cup downhill champion and the first American to win the Downhill World Cup Overall. Impressively, Gwin arrived on to the World Cup scene after less than a year of riding downhill competitively, a testament to his ability and drive. In addition to incorporating his strong bike handling skills from his BMX and motocross days, Gwin has placed a strong emphasis on a strong physical fitness regimen to improve his times. We caught up with the “Fastest Man in Downhill” to talk ice cream, God and America’s best trails.

MORE GP INTERVIEWS: Frank Muytjens, Head of Men’s Design at J.Crew | Irv Gordon, the 3 million mile man | Chase Jarvis, Hasselblad Master photographer

Q.
What’s one thing every man should know?
A.
God.

Q.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
A.
Buying a house, which took a few years of failed attempts but finally worked out. I’m stoked.

Q.
What are you working on right now?
A.
A 1974 Honda CB750. I bought it a few days ago, and I want to turn it into an old-school tracker.

By the time the race comes, I just switch it on autopilot and do what I’ve been training myself to do.

Q.
Name one thing you can’t live without.
A.
Ice cream.

Q:
Who or what influences you?
A.
Anyone who goes after their dreams 100%. You can never control the outcome, but the effort it takes to drop everything else is something I admire.

Q.
What are you reading right now?
A.
My Bible. I’m always reading that thing.

Q.
Name one thing no one knows about you.
A.
I want to learn how to weld this offseason and maybe build custom motorcycles someday.

Q.
It’s your last drink and meal on earth. What’ll it be?
A.
Gluten-free pancakes with peanut butter. My favorite creation of Cold Stone ice cream: cake batter ice cream with cookie dough, brownie, reese’s, and caramel. Water to drink.

Q.
If you could go back and tell your 16 year old self something, what would you say?
A.
You’re doing good kid, keep it up.

Q.
How do you want to be remembered?
A.
Someone who lived life by faith.

Q.
Where are your favorite trails in the U.S.?
A.
Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear and any of the local trails near my house.

Q.
What is your workout regimen like, and do you have any secrets for recovery after a hard race or for preventing injury?
A.
I usually work out six days a week. I do a little bit of everything cycling related: downhill runs, road rides, cross-country rides, sprints, BMX track, motocross, gym, yoga. I try to mix it up a bit to keep my body challenged and to avoid burning out on the same stuff all the time. With that said, I think repetition and consistency are the most important factors to getting the results you want. I’d say diet, sleep, and stretching are the biggest keys to recovery, and all of the above are the biggest keys to injury prevention.

Q.
Describe what’s going through your head during a race, and how you prepare mentally.
A.
If everything’s going as it should be, there’s usually nothing going through my head during a race run — just reactions to what’s in front of me. I do the best I can to prepare during the week’s practice runs and training that by the time the race comes, I just switch it on autopilot and do what I’ve been training myself to do.