Photos by Kenny Wehn
Meet Keegan Swenson, a top professional mountain biker and PR Lotion user. At only 24 years old, he already has half a dozen years as a professional under his belt and is in the midst of a breakthrough year. After taking a prestigious win at The Whiskey Off-Road last month, Keegan has embarked on a world tour, splitting his time between racing the World Cups across the globe with the U.S. National Team, and competing on home soil for the Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis all with one goal in mind–the 2020 Olympics.
Where did your passion for racing bikes come from?
I’ve been riding bikes all my life and got into the Young Riders Youth Mountain Bike Program in Park City when I was 7 or 8 years old. Downhill ski racing was something I was also into, but by the time I was 15 I was solely focused on racing mountain bikes. Racing World Cups as a pro was my dream, and when I was 17 I got to do my first World Cup as a junior with the U.S. National Team. The race was in Offenburg, Germany, and I’d say it’s probably my favorite racing memory ever. In the U.S. the field would be around 30-40 juniors, while at the World Cup there were 110 riders, it was a whole different level. The course was super technical and totally different than anything else I had ridden before. It was a really cool experience.
For those of us that don’t know what a professional cross country race is like, can you give us a glimpse into what the demands are?
A typical World Cup race is 1.5 hours with laps taking anywhere between 11-15 minutes. The start is always really, really hard as everyone races for position and tries to get as close to the front as possible. This makes it the most difficult part of the race, as it’s not only fast but also super aggressive since if you’re not going forward you’re going backward. Then you try to settle into a rhythm before the last few laps where you just empty the tank and pick off as many riders as possible.
How do you incorporate PR Lotion into your pre-race routine?
I try to do the same pre-race routine every time; nothing out of the ordinary. I apply PR Lotion before doing my warmup, so about one hour before the race. Then get my head straight while listening to music during the warmup. The racing efforts are always going to hurt, but I see PR Lotion as one more tool in the toolbox to try and be faster.
With the 2020 Olympics two years out, what do you need to do to make that trip to Tokyo?
Making the Rio team was a goal but I came up a bit short since we were only allotted one spot based on national ranking. We’re working hard to gain points so that we have two spots for Tokyo. It’s important for me to be doing more stage racing and chasing UCI points to move up in the world rankings, even if it’s a really busy travel schedule this year.