The best and youngest mountain biking weapon of India “Rinku Thakur” has seen enough podiums already and his journey has just started. Currently standing #1 in Asian Enduro Series ranking (Junior Category) Rinku has been regularly making his hometown and country proud. Know more about young lad Rinku in this exclusive interview by Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine.
Current Bike: Yeti SB6
Years Riding: Riding fulltime since 2013
Current sponsors: Himalayan Mountain Bike Network
FR MTB: How did you get into mountain biking?
RINKU: I started my mountain biking career with a mountain bike race “Himalayan Trails n Dust Mountain Bike Challenge” that takes place in my hometown. I was the youngest rider in the race, This was back in 2013. I gave it a try and got hooked to the sport as everybody appreciated my efforts. There is no looking back ever since.
FR MTB: Who inspired you to take up the sport?
RINKU: I got inspired by watching other riders and not anyone in specific. I knew I wanted to take it up seriously and professionally.
FR MTB: You have raced XC, downhill and enduro. What’s your preferred discipline?
RINKU: I have raced many times in cross country and downhill mountain biking. But I prefer Enduro mountain biking as it is the combination of both riding styles and it also helped me to explore my limits and shape my riding skills.
FR MTB: How often do you ride in a week?
RINKU: usually ride three to four times a week as I go to school and required to concentrate in studies too. However during holidays, I ride every day! I look forward to ride my local trails whenever I can.
FR MTB: How are you training to be a better and stronger enduro mountain biker?
RINKU: It is not easy as I’m currently doing my +2 studies which are pretty demanding. I somehow manage to find extra time for training besides riding. After racing multiple races I feel the need to do more workout besides riding and I plan to join a gym where I can also do weight training and more exercise to become a better rider as I have to race with some really fast riders out there.
FR MTB: You have been competing in AES Junior category. How is the competition in your category?
RINKU: The competition in Asian Enduro Series is very tough. This has encouraged me to give my 100% during the races. The competitors are very fast and races are becoming more technical and demanding every day, especially the last Enduro race I participated in Malaysia . I’m happy about this as it challenges and helps me to increase my riding level. I was surprised with my performance in my first enduro mountain bike race in Nepal and I’m getting used to the tough world of hardcore racing now.
FR MTB: Do you practice any other sports besides mountain biking?
RINKU: I have been snowboarding since last 7 years now. I’m also a Junior National Snowboarding Champion since 2016. My target is also to win snowboarding titles besides mountain bike races.
FR MTB: Is your family supportive for what you do?
RINKU: I’m lucky that my family understands my passion and encourage me to continue the sports. The pressure of study is equal but that’s fair enough and I’m thankful to them for everything.
FR MTB: What was your most nerve-wrecking moment at the Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival and AES?
RINKU: I started my racing career with XC Race and progressed to DH racing during Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival. I’m glad this event takes place in my hometown as it has helped me to progress as an athlete. However the environment and trails during the race are not easy for me and my most exciting moment was when my bike chain snapped at the final run of Himalayan Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy 2016 during the 3rd Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival. I still managed to come 3rd!
After switching to Enduro Mountain Biking, I decided to explore more Asian Enduro Series rounds in other countries. I was stoked to race in Brunei and realized that the fellow riders were so fast and good on the trails but even after such a tough competition I still secured 2nd position. However the latest AES round in Malaysia was an eye opener. The trails were extremely challenging for Elite riders also. I had crash on day 1, but I still managed to secure 3rd place. All the races have been a great learning experience for me and I’m looking forward to race in the EWS (Enduro World Series) soon.
FR MTB: Share your racing career achievements.
RINKU: My career so far in professional mountain biking has been very exciting.
- Mad Enduro 2018, Malaysia – 3rd (Junior Category)
- Asian Enduro Series 2018, Nepal – 4th (U18 Category)
- National Downhill Mountain Bike Championship 2018, Nepal – 3rd (Junior Category)
- Bangalore Mountain Festival (Downhill MTB Race) 2018 – 5th (Overall)
- Asian Enduro Series, Brunei 2017 – 2nd (Prodigy Category)
- BBCH Downhill Race, Bangalore 2017 – 4th (Overall)
- Junior Downhill Championship, Manali 2017 – 1st
- Chandigarh State Mountain Bike Championship 2017, Chandigarh – 2nd (Under 19 Category)
- 4th Himalayan Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy, Manali 2017 – 1st (Novice Category)
- MTB Lahaul, Lahaul 2016 – 5th (Open Category)
- MTB Shimla, Shimla 2016 – 4th (Student Category)
- MTB Dhauladhar, Bir 2016 – 7th (Open Category)
- 3rd Himalayan Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy, Manali 2016 – 3rd (Novice Category)
- MTB Lahaul, Lahaul 2015 – 2nd (Open Category)
- Himalayan Trails n Dust Mountain Bike Challenge, Manali 2015 – 7th (Open Category)
- Tansen Ultra, Nepal 2015 – 3rd (Junior Category)
- Himalayan Trails n Dust Mountain Bike Challenge, Manali 2014 – 9th (Open Category)
I’m currently leading the ranking in Asian Enduro Series (Junior Category). I’m also looking forward to take the podium at the Himalayan Enduro Championship which will be the first Enduro Mountain Bike Race of India during the 5th Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival this october!
FR MTB: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
RINKU: I definitely want to build my career as a professional mountain biker. In next 10 years my aim to compete in the Enduro World Series and Megavalanche. I would also like to race in the Asian Downhill Championship. Besides racing I would also like to pursue my studies in sports which should benefit my cycling career.
FR MTB: Any shout-outs?
RINKU: I would love to thank my father who is always supportive for what I do. I would also like to thank my team and sponsors Himalayan Mountain Bike Network who are always guiding me and helping me in my journey. I cant thank enough my school DPS (Delhi Public School) Manali who also encourage me and give me enough time to race.