DEER VALLEY, Utah — The saying goes, if you do something you enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life. Such is the case for 12-year-old Sophie Gregory, the two-time USA National Downhill Mountain Bike Champion.
From the moment Sophie first got on her tiny Strider bike, it was clear she had a need for speed. Sam Gregory introduced his daughter to biking at just two years old and ignited a passion. As a single dad, Sam was planning ahead on ways he could spend time together as a family that involved the outdoors.
“I also purchased a mountain bike for myself with the intention that we would ride together someday,” he said. “Sophie was scary fast sometimes on her Strider and she loved it. From there we moved on to a pedal bike and started doing BMX when she was six years old.”
Sophie’s cycling journey and winning awards began with BMX racing, where her speed consistently won out against the bumps and berms. Ready to take on an even bigger challenge, Sophie made a foray into Downhill Mountain Biking which added all sorts of thrilling challenges— steep hills and tight turns ramping up the intensity for this intrepid rider, where she continued to dominate.
“I think racing and biking is really fun,” she said. “When you are biking, you are in that moment and you feel so free, there is nothing else to worry about, you are just having fun.”
Training consists of Sophie, Sam, and her brother Owen (age 9) riding together 3-4 times a week and on the weekends. They like to mix things up so they don’t get bored on the same old trails; Deer Valley Bike Park is the current favorite place to ride. They also enjoy Trailside in Park City.
“I hope to make it to the Downhill World Cup,” Gregory said. “I would tell other kids who want to do this that they should just have fun with it, not feel like you have to do it.”
Sophie, an extraordinary seventh grader, tears up the mountain biking scene while having a blast. With sponsorships from Transitions Bikes and Dharco gear under her belt, she continues to reach new heights. Her success was even captured in Amazon Prime’s movie “Esperanto,” which illustrates how the cross-cultural language of cycling can be understood by all.
“Start small, work your way up and keep it fun,” said Sam. “I think that is the key.”
You can follow Sophie’s racing on Instagram @that.sophie.girl.