How To Break Into Cycling – Professional Freerider Jack Fogelquist
Jack Fogelquist is a shredder, but most importantly, he’s just a local guy who loves to ride bikes with his friends. It just so happens that he and his friends are some of the most talented up-and-coming mountain bikers in the country, and if you ride in Santa Cruz, CA, there’s a good chance you’ve seen him throw some mind blowing tricks. For those who live elsewhere, Jack is the creator of an extremely popular web series, entitled Fogelsodes, which document his ever expanding trick list. These video clips usually feature big air, even bigger burritos, and classic rock soundtracks. They’re the kind of clips that get you amped to go and out and ride with your friends.
So how does one make the transition from gawky teenager to professional freerider?
BIKERUMOR: Who are you and what are you doing here?
My name’s Jack Fogelquist and I’m 20 years old from Scotts Valley, CA. I compete professionally in dirt jump/slopestyle competitions and am the creator of the “Fogelsodes” webisode series.
BIKERUMOR: What was your first job or experience in the cycling industry? How did you “break” in?
My first job in the cycling industry is still my current job—a mechanic at Scotts Valley Cycle Sport. You’re probably more interested in my riding career though. That started with one cross country ride that my Dad took me on. I was on my first mountain bike, and we went for a loop in the XC trails that are down the street. I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having, and knew I was hooked. I’ve been having a blast riding ever since!
BIKERUMOR: What’s your educational background?
I finished highschool and have been going to Cabrillo Community College part time, working towards transferring for a mechanical engineering degree. I’m not planning to start a bike company or anything, but would love to continue to stay in the industry, helping the sport to grow.
BIKERUMOR: Is it hard balancing school and attending competitions?
Not really, my parents support me a lot and have been keen on letting me go to school for only the fall semesters. I had some conflicts with school and competitions in the spring of 2010, so taking springs off has helped a ton!
BIKERUMOR: After that first experience/job, what was the path to your current position?
After that XC ride, I started to find friends at school who rode, and we would ride the same XC trail on the weekends. We soon found that we had the most fun on the jumps on the trail, and began to make little jumps that we would session around town. We ventured out to local downhill trails, and couldn’t get enough, so we made the transition and I got into downhill racing. Watching the “New World Disorder” series got me really stoked on jumping, especially slopestyle, as it was starting to become big. I started finding places to jump my downhill bike, and very quickly made the transition to dirt jumping, with the discovery that one of the biggest dirt jumping scenes in the world is about 10 minutes away. Soon we built a trick jump, where I spent a lot of time learning and practicing new tricks. I made videos along the way, and got a new camera in late 2009, with which I decided to make a webisode series. I called it “Fogelsodes” and it became more popular than I thought, helping me gain exposure and sponsors. I started really competing in the summer of 2010, and have been on the same program since then.
BIKERUMOR: Did you approach the majority of your sponsors or did they approach you?
It’s been a bit of both. Banshee and Straitline mainly helped me to get in contact with most of my current sponsors, so I’m grateful for that. As a result I’ve had the opportunity to test/provide input on products more and more as my career has continued. For example, I’ve been running a rear shock with a “slopestyle specific tune” from X-Fusion, which has been nothing but awesome, and have a couple projects going with Nuke Proof that are in their early stages.
BIKERUMOR: What’s a normal day for you?
Get up, eat some breakfast, ride the local trick jump for a bit, grab a burrito at Taqueria Los Gallos, have a sundown sesh at Post Office with the homies, play some guitar, and then chill!
BIKERUMOR: What are the highlights of your job?
Probably the best part is getting people stoked on riding. It’s awesome to help up and coming kids, watching them learn and progress. It always feels good to see people getting stoked from my videos, too!
BIKERUMOR: What could you do without?
I can’t think of any downsides. It’s a lot of work, but work that I love doing!
BIKERUMOR: What advice would you give to someone looking to follow your path today?
For an up and comer, the best thing to do is to promote yourself. I seemed to do it through a webisode series, but do something new, something that people will remember and enjoy! Be yourself, don’t be cocky, and never forget why you ride—for fun!
BIKERUMOR: What are your best finishes and accomplishments that you’re most proud of?
Some of my top finishes are:
8th at AT’s Showdown (2011)
9th at Teva Games (2011)
9th at Kokanee Crankworx (2010)
6th at Crankworx Colorado (2010)
My biggest accomplishment was probably my summer of 2010, where I felt my career really take a step forward. It was an amazing summer, coaching in Whistler at Camp of Champions for about a month, making tons of new friends, and doing plenty of traveling to various competitions. I ended up taking 6th at Crankworx Colorado, which got me an invitation to Kokanee Crankworx. It was my first time being at Crankworx, so to compete was a blessing, and I managed to come in at 9th! The entire summer was nothing but good times, and a lot of doors seemed to open as a result!