It was risky move, but Ryan Nyquist never bailed.
“It’s been a fun one,” said the Los Gatos native on his action-sports career — a career that ranked him among the best BMX riders in the world. “But it was never guaranteed that it was going to work out money-wise or career-wise. So it was kind of a bit of a gamble. But it’s been a real fun ride, and I’m trying to continue that ride for as long as I can.”
That ride will continue this weekend, as Nyquist will compete in the San Francisco-stop of the Dew Tour in the BMX dirt event. And it’s an event he’s won before.
Nyquist claimed the year-end Dew Tour Cup in BMX dirt in 2009 and 2007. But neither one of those wins was near home.
“Anytime you have an event somewhat locally, you want to perform well cause you’re going to have people in the audience. You kind of want to represent the area where you’re from,” Nyquist said. “I put a lot of emphasis on this one, and ideally, I’d love to come away with a win. I feel like I still got it in me.”
It’s something that’s been in him since the age of 3, when Nyquist first mounted the bicycle. And something he discovered at 11, when he performed his first jump. Turning tricks in high school turned into a pro career at 16. But it was at a tourney in 1996 at Seal Beach when the pros — his heroes — took notice.
“I was on the vert ramp, and Dennis McCoy — who I’m actually teammates with now — and Dave Mirra were on the deck.”
Nyquist wanted to impress. And did.
“‘Who is this kid, just throwing the bars around and riding this and that?’” Nyquist remembers Mirra and McCoy saying. “To hear their reactions later, it was just priceless.”
In a sport that’s inherently cyclical, it’s unsurprising that young BMX riders today mimic his actions from 1996.
“It’s truly an honor, because I know what it felt like to be in that kid’s shoes … to be looking up to someone,” Nyquist said. “So I try to take those moments in just like they do.”
But 1996 was a long time ago.
“Back in the day, I was like, ‘Oh man, I’d be crazy if I was 30 and doing this,” said Nyquist, now 33 and a married father of two boys. “I still feel like there’s a lot of life left in me for BMX. And that’s a good feeling … feeling like you still have the ability to win.”
So bailing, it appears, isn’t an option. For now.