Adrenaline Junkies


James Gregor

Maddock leans to the side, on the shoulder of the road while sitting on his dirt bike.

Pride is a vice when arrogance leads to injuries, a common trait of the extreme sports world. Athletes use pride as motivation to catch barrels, jump from cliffs, and huck twenty foot backflips. But along with pride, self-proclaimed “Adrenaline Junkies” seek to push the envelope of their physical and mental boundaries. This makes extreme sports an ideal outlet to experience addictive thrills, despite the high-risk activities that come with them.

Although Marin County is known for its significant mountain biking community, the sport of dirt biking has also gained in popularity. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down almost all sports for a year and a half, dirt biking became a passion for a number of Archie Williams students who found an outlet in this niche sport.

“I’ll say, for me at least, if I ever fall or something dangerous does happen that adrenaline boost kicks in and you feel invincible. I’ve learned that the faster I ride, the harder I fall, the more danger I put myself in, which leads to sustainability,” says junior dirt biker Hudson Lofrano.

Blake rides off a high rising jump on his mountain bike. (Blake Doll)

Hudson firmly believes in constantly pursuing his passion for dirt biking, no matter the risk. However, he occasionally takes so much pride in his riding abilities he becomes arrogant.

“Sometimes if I’m hitting a rhythm, whether it’s track or trail, I get almost too into it, becoming cocky. That cockiness for me lots of the time leads to falls or missed cues,” Hudson said.

As in most extreme sports, every dirt biking ride is acknowledged as a possible risk to one’s physical health, especially for those who have dirt biking fever. As riders improve, they want to continue to go out and further their trick repertoire. 

“I feel like the more times you ride, the better you get. And the better you get, the more you want to go out and ride which can lead to risk taking and the higher chance of injuries,” Hudson said. 

Pride often has a positive connotation that pertains to your accomplishments and is seen very prominently in the sports world. However, pride can be a double-edged sword, as athletes can injure themselves when overestimating their athletic abilities.

Sophomore Blake Doll, an avid mountain biker, is one of many local extreme athletes. Blake has been mountain biking for eight years, and doesn’t let concerns of injury or his interest in a niche sport dictate his passion for riding. Blake has sustained a multitude of injuries, including a recent broken arm. However, that doesn’t stop him from traveling across the state, racing and freeriding whenever he gets the chance. 

“Depending on the season if I’m racing a lot the injuries might just be some scrapes, but my free riding injuries will be a lot bigger,” Blake said. 

Although ambitious in his pursuit to make a career in mountain biking, Blake acknowledges that these injuries can’t always heal, and it’s important to spend time recovering. He forces himself to put his injuries as well as his pride to rest, because if he does not wait long enough for his injuries to heal, the consequences may be career ending.

 Blake hopes to gain recognition in the community for his extreme endeavors in his cycling career. He has grown his following through posting clips on his Instagram, @blake_.andrew, hoping to spread his clips to new sponsors and companies. This is all in anticipation that this next season will be his most competitive so far.

“I’d like it to be more of a career but I like the aspect of meeting new people and being friendly with new people but I definitely get into [the season] where it’s very competitive… this season will be my most competitive season,” Blake said.

Blake whips his bike to the side of his body, performing a trick after being airborne. (Blake Doll)

The unique culture of mountain biking has led Blake to meet new, exciting people from different age groups and areas, gaining experiences and knowledge that most high school athletes don’t get the chance to understand.

 “Most people I know are from the sport. I know people from all ages, it’s kinda weird and you don’t really have any kind of age groups… I go riding with people after their nine-to-five job, it’s just people you meet on the trail,” Blake said. 

The Marin mountain biking community is a very diverse community, bringing in people from different towns and ages. However, despite how competitive the community is, mountain biking doesn’t get the same level of recognition as non-extreme sports. With little recognition in the sport, many people end up quitting, but Social media allows athletes to spread their videos and gain an online presence.Those who truly have pride in their riding abilities will become the future of the sport, while others will become the “Has Beens”. 

“I think the sport is slowly gaining the recognition it deserves but there’s not much you can do to get extreme sports to the same level,” Blake said. 

Mountain biking, like any other sport, has many competitive aspects, but what makes biking and other extreme sports different from normal competition is age. The pride of younger riders allows them to become better extreme athletes due to their dedication to the sport. Instead of letting this discourage him, Blake continues to push his limits.

 “Usually on Instagram, you see those kids that are always better than you, and you’re always trying to keep up with what you see online and the competition,” Blake said.

Blake, like others, struggles to balance the tight schedule with a time-consuming hobby. However, he manages himself well, being able to work in and socialize with the mountain biking community. 

“I try to balance school. It’s hard. But other than that, mountain biking plays into how I make my money and how I spend most of my days. So to balance it out with school I get done what I can at school and then go out,” he said. 

Blake plans to keep working and hone his skills without the fear of injury to become the best of his ability and hopes he can enjoy mountain biking for as long as possible. 

“I want to keep going, I want to keep learning, I want to continue to get better even with the risks,” said Blake.