Shealen Reno #10
Pushing the vertical boundaries in Elite Women’s BMX, Shealen Reno is definitely one to keep an eye on.
6 NOVEMBER 2015
Texan native, Shealen Reno has been racing BMX for most of her life after being introduced to the sport at the age of 4 by her hugely supportive father Sean. Since starting out at her local track, Metroplex BMX, Shealen’s growing list of both national and international achievements are impressive … ABA titles, USA National Championships, Junior Elite USA National Champion, three UCI BMX World Championship podiums (2 in Jr. Elite) … the list could go on and on.
Her next BIG goal is the Olympics … Rio may have come a little too early for 19 year old Shealen but she could easily be top of the pecking order by the time the Tokyo games roll around in 2020.
When it comes to Elite Women BMX racers the USA is has a very deep pool of talent, Shealen is about to make big splashes in that pool . Keep an eye on Miss Reno …
15: You first came onto our radar at the 2014 UCI Rotterdam Worlds when you got a brilliant 3rd in the Jr. Women’s time trails and an even more impressive silver medal in the racing. That weekend has to be a career highlight, what where you expecting before the event and did the whole experience live up to your expectations?
SR: Yeah, that weekend was definitely a huge highlight in my racing career. Going into Rotterdam I was expecting to at least get on the podium one day. So being up there both days was a dream come true.
The best part of my experience in Rotterdam was that my dad surprised me by flying in last minute to watch me race!
Rotterdam did live up to my expectations for sure! Out of the three indoor Worlds (2012 / 2013 / 2014) it was the best one by far.
15: In 2012 you also got a Silver medal in the 16 year old Female class at the Worlds in Birmingham. Two Worlds and 3 podium finishes! Which event was the stand out for you?
SR: Receiving the silver medal in the Jr. Elite Women’s class stands out most to me. I also went to the 2013 Worlds in New Zealand but I unfortunately didn’t qualify into the main.
15: You turned Elite after Rotterdam but were injured for the Zolder Worlds, are you going to make the trip to Colombia next year or are you looking forward to 2017 when the Worlds return to the USA?
SR: As of right now I don’t see myself making the trip to Colombia for the Worlds. I plan on staying in the US next year to race the USA BMX series and prepare for the Worlds here in Rock Hill.
15: A broken wrist and lacerated liver kept you at home for Zolder, was it hard missing out after your success in Rotterdam? What advice would you give to riders coming back from injury?
SR: When I was told I couldn’t race in Zolder it was difficult to accept, but I knew I just needed to focus on getting back healthy as quick as possible.
Do your rehab kids! LoL! I learned the hard way and didn’t rehab after a shoulder separation in 2013 and it still bothers me.
15: Your riding style suggests you’d do better on the more technical tracks here in Europe, do you think it’s harder for USA based riders to do well in Europe because of the track differences? There was lots of discussion about why the US riders didn’t do well in Zolder, was it the track?
SR: I do love all the tracks that I’ve ridden over in Europe!
I mean most of our amateurs have never seen a track so technical in their racing career. But with Rock Hill, Oldsmar, Central Texas BMX, and a few other 5m starting hills going up here in the US, I think our amateurs will progress tremendously.
15: Your ability to jump everything on the track is notable when compared to some of your competitors. Does jumping come naturally to you or is it something you work on?
SR: When I was younger my dad would take my older brother and I to a lot of different tracks and we always had a contest on who could jump each jump first. Of course, I had to show him up. So I guess it just gave me the mentality to send it or bend it. LoL!
15: Have you tried any of the Supercross jumps on the men’s second straights yet?
SR: Yeah, I have jumped the men’s second straight on the Beijing track in Chula Vista.
15: Impressively, you also ride trails, do you think this helps your racing?
SR: I just started riding trails within the last few years and I think it does help with my racing tremendously. Trails help me a lot with bike control. Also going out to the trials gives me a reminder of what riding my bikes about. Just having fun with some friends and riding bikes!
15: Do you prefer the Supercross tracks to the standard USA BMX tracks? What’s your favorite track?
SR: Supercross tracks are hands down my favorite. I love the adrenaline rush going down the 8-meter hill and ramping some big jumps! Papendal is my favorite SX track. It’s wide open, technical, but still super fast. Derby City BMX is my favorite USA BMX track.
15: You have been winning ABA titles since you were 5 years old and now you’ve won your first Elite Women’s National this year in Louisville, how did that feel?
SR: It felt great getting my first win at my favorite track! It was a big confidence booster being my first race back from my injury.
15: There is always lots of talk about the Women’s prize money compared to the men’s, what are your thoughts on that and on the changes announced by the UCI for equal prize money from 2017 at the SX World Cups?
SR: Yes, I am excited about the change, this is a positive step in professional women’s athletic events as there are so many sports out there that don’t offer equal pay to women. It’s always nice to be recognized for the hard work we put into our sport.
15: You recently left the USA Cycling coaching program, do you want to tell us how that came about?
SR: It seems that I got caught up in the politics of BMX, but since leaving the program many new doors have opened including the hiring of my new coach and the successes I’ve had in the last three races.
15: Now that you’re not involved in that program is there a pathway available for you to get to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo?
SR: Since leaving the program, I’ve found my true passion of racing for the love of the sport. Of course, the Olympics in 2020 is my new goal and I see several paths towards that goal. My father has always told me to enjoy every day of the journey.
15: What are your thoughts on the qualification process for the Olympics, it doesn’t really suit countries like the USA who have such a depth of talent to choose from.
SR: It is harder for us that have a lot of great riders but then again it’s just more motivation to get even faster and shoot for that top spot on the Olympic podium.
15: Do you have a coach since leaving the program or are you looking after that side of things yourself for now?
SR: Yes, I recently started training with Marty Wisehart. It’s going really well. I can’t wait to see how much this training pays off at Grands.
15: You clearly have a lot of support from your family. Your dad, Sean, in particular seems to live and breathe BMX racing, tell us about ‘Reno Racing’ and all that entails.
SR: The support from my family is endless! They help me in every way possible and I thank them so much for that!
Reno Racing started back in 2001 when my brothers and I started racing. We asked all the teams at our local track if we could be a part of their team and they all said, “No, y’all aren’t fast enough.” So my Dad started a local team for us and all the underdog kids and the team is still going strong.
15: Are you currently a full time athlete? What does a non-racing week of training look like for you?
SR: Currently, yes, I’m a full-time athlete. A training week for me is riding my local tracks, gym, and trails.
15: The 2015 USA BMX Grand’s are almost upon us. We assume you are going to Tulsa? Are you looking forward to getting on the gate with the World’s fastest Elite women again?
SR: Yes, I love getting on the gate with some fast ladies and battling it out! The USA BMX crew always builds a fun track that is exciting for some good racing.
15: A group of us here in Ireland are planning a trip to the 2017 Grand’s, what makes the race so special? What should we expect?
SR: Grands is so special to me because it is like a big family reunion. I get to see all of my BMX friends from all over in one weekend! Also, the racing is incredible! Some of the best racing action ever.
15: What should we expect to see from Shealen Reno during 2016? Will we see you in Europe for the Supercross rounds?
SR: Right now I’m planning on staying in the states, focusing on the USA BMX races series.
15: So we’ll see you at the USA BMX Supercross Series then? How does that compare to the UCI SX World Cup, other than less travel?
SR: Yes, the racing format is longer as the amateurs race with us on the same day also. I enjoy the UCI SX World Cup series and hope to attend any I am able to afford.
15: What advice would you give to up and coming girls in the sport?
SR: Start competing with the boys at your local track. You always learn something new chasing someone.
15: When can we expect you in Ireland? Your dad seems keen 🙂 Lots of riders here would love to come to one of your clinics.
SR: Yes, my dad has a love for Ireland, as our family roots are from there. I would love a chance to make a trip over there, to ride your tracks and set up some clinics. Hopefully, we can make it happen.