Sponsored Riders

Pushys Sponsored Athlete: Sam Luff

IMG_7268 215 years old
Queensland

Sport:
Enduro and Downhill Racing

Current Bikes:
YT Dirt Love, YT Jeffsy, YT Capra & YT tues

How did you get into your sport?
I was a track and field athlete and represented Queensland at three National Athletics Championships for Javelin, Shot Put, Discus and Hammer, and spent my time committed to training to one day compete at the Olympic Games. All was going to plan until, in November 2015, I went for my first mountain bike ride at Bunya State Forest with my friend, Cade, from school. I had probably ridden a bike about a dozen times at most on bike paths, but never on trails. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was, and that I had been missing out on this for years. I spent the next few months beating that hardtail to death and so my parents bought me a dual suspension bike and that was it, I was hooked for life. I made the decision to quit athletics as all I wanted to do was ride and start racing, and unfortunately training for athletics was a huge commitment and it was getting in the way.

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 11.17.41 pmHardest thing about your sport?
For me, it is injuries. I have only been riding for 2 ½ years but I have fractured my wrist, broken my thumb, torn the ligament off my thumb and had a couple of minor concussions that made me miss lots of races in the season. It is just part of riding bikes and something that you have to accept happens to anyone who rides, even to the professionals. I know how important it is to recover properly, so I accept that I have to rehab my injuries to get fit again. The hardest part is knowing that if I have a crash and hit my head, I am off the bike for seven days. That is really hard.

What does your regular training week consist of?
During the week I focus on general conditioning with usually one circuit class, one tabata boxing class and two strength sessions, and a quick ride at the dirt jumps, but mainly just the conditioning. At the moment I just want to keep healthy so I don’t overdo it. It is the weekends that I ride, and usually get out on Saturdays on both my Enduro and DH bikes at Gap Creek, Toowoomba, Boomerang Farm or Garapine. Sundays I usually do some local trails on my trail bike and dirt jumps on the DJ. At least one day a week I rest and recover. My training schedule will get harder as I get older, but right now, I am happy with what I am doing.

 

 

How do you keep motivated?
It is pretty easy to be motivated when you think that you get to ride your bike as fast as you can and do jumps with your mates every weekend. Doing the conditioning stuff is the hardest part because it’s not on the bike, but I think it makes riding bikes better because you are fitter and stronger. Anything that helps you ride faster is worth it.

I think that everyone has different reasons for motivation. My best tip for motivation is to not to focus on what anyone else is doing, or can do better than you, but to focus on what you did yesterday or last week, and just make small gains to do it better tomorrow or next week for yourself.

Where do I draw my inspiration from?
Inspiration is a strange thing, and if you really think about it, you get inspiration from lots of places. For me, I don’t get it so much from watching pros, I get it from seeing my friends and other people who I admire working hard to achieve their goals at any level. I love being involved with people who just love being involved with riding bikes.

DSC00940

Best piece of advice you have been given?
I have had heaps of good advice from some really great people and a few tips I always remember are, ‘Smooth is fast’ and ‘Training beats talent when talent doesn’t train.’ But my favourite is from my dad, who always tells me, ‘Do today what others won’t, so tomorrow you can do what others can’t.’ I think it is a pretty great saying.

Rider you look up to?
I really look up to Aaron Gwin, not because he also rides for YT, but because he only started riding mountain bikes at 19, and now has heaps of World Cup overall championships, and I think that at the moment he is the best downhill rider in the world, so I think that he proves that anything is possible, and you just have to give it a crack.

Goals?
I haven’t got a lot of experience, so learning from riders who have that experience is important to me, and I am lucky that the kids I ride with are some serious shredders, and I am learning from them. For the next few years I just want to travel, ride and race my bikes as much as I can. The ultimate goal for any Enduro rider is to race at an EWS and for downhill it’s to race world cups. These are also my long-term goals, and being only just turned 15, I have at least three good years to prepare, and with hard work and great support I will hopefully get there.

I had planned on using 2018 to get as much experience as possible whilst bottom age so that in 2019 when I was top age U17, I could compete at the highest level against the best in the country and push for podiums each race, especially, Crankworx Rotorua, National DH Champs in Bright.

My goals for 2019 are now just to get healthy and back on the bike and be ready for the 2019 National Enduro Championships and Cannonball. It will be a long rehabilitation, and I won’t be racing until October. I have learnt that it takes a long time to get back to where you were, and I am prepared this time.

My 2018

Looking back at 2018 I can say that I achieved most of the goals that I had set for myself. The year started very slowly for me after breaking my thumb and snapping my ligament in November which meant 4 months off the bike. Throughout the year and at various events including the National DH champs in Bright, SEQ DH series at Toowoomba, National Enduros, and DHaRCO Super D at Green Valleys, I had a great time but my fitness was slow to return. The reality of how long it takes to properly rehab was starting to kick in.

My year went pear shaped in a big way at Round 2 of the Shimano Enduro Tour in Derby, where I had a crash and badly corked my left arm. After 4 days of rest we headed to Maydena Bike Park where I broke my leg and ankle in 7 places, requiring a 5 ½ medevac to Royal Hobart Hospital, 5 hour operation, plates and screws in my leg and ankle and an extra 2 weeks in Hobart. If that wasn’t bad enough, I ended up with a major infection and another stint in hospital and plastic surgery on my leg.

So my year ended as it began, with something broken and a long rehabilitation ahead, but looking back, I can definitely identify the highs and lows of my year.

Highs:

  • Travelling around Australia racing bikes with great people and on some of the best tracks in the country
  • Riding for the newly created YT Australia team on the best bikes out there
  • Being privileged to be sponsored by the best companies in the Industry: FOX, Shimano, PUSHYS, DHaRCO, KRUSH, PREMIUM MTB, DEITY, KARCHER

Lows:

  • Breaking my leg
  • Missing the final rounds of the Shimano Enduro Series and National Enduro Series, and most of all, missing Cannonball for the 2nd year in a row due to injury

What I learnt from 2018?
The biggest lesson for me of the year was the importance of rehabilitation. Being patient is the hardest part. Even when you feel you are ready, take longer and wait. I started on my DH bike as that was what was being raced. I certainly wasn’t ready for the big rig, and had a bad crash, and poor results. I realised that you start small and build up. Missing races won’t hurt you but coming back too early certainly can.

Results

2018 Results (cut short by two injuries)

  • SEQ DH Round 4 – 5th
  • National Enduro Series Rnd 1 – 10th, Rnd 2 – 5th, Rnd 3 – 8th (ended up 6th overall missing last round)
  • National Enduro Champs – 7th
  • DHaRCO Super D – 4th
  • Shimano Enduro Tour Rnd 1 – 3rd

Downhill – Under 15 (2017)

  • Round 5 – South East Queensland Downhill Series 1st
    (missed season due to broken wrist)
  • SE Queensland Downhill Interclub – 1st (3rd U17)
  • Australian National Championships – 4th
  • Oceania Championships – 5th

Enduro – Under 15 (2017)

  • Round 1 Shimano Qld Enduro Series – 1st
  • Round 2 Shimano Qld Enduro Series – 2nd
    (missed Round 3 & 4 and national rounds due to broken wrist)
  • State Championships – 2nd
  • Round 4 National Series – 5th
  • Round 5 National Series – 3rd
  • National Championships – 4th

Categories: Sponsored Riders

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