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Photos of mountain bike athlete Keegan Swenson
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Athlete Interview: Keegan Swenson

Apr 162020

New to the Monster Hydro roster 26-year-old Keegan Swenson joins the team where he brings his stars & stripes cross country national championship jersey with him. With a decorated resume Keegan bases himself high up in altitude at 7,000 feet in his hometown of Park City, UT in between trips around the world where he races his mountain bike against the worlds best. We caught up with Keegan to find out more about him.

"It's pretty cool to be part of something bigger than just myself in the sporting world."

How does it feel to join the Monster Energy family?


It feels great I feel like I have joined something just so much bigger. I mean Monster supports all different types of athletes from the endurance side to extreme sports. I mean pretty much anything you name it. It's pretty cool to be part of something bigger than just myself in the sporting world

Monster Energy is fairly new to coming into the endurance space with their Hydro line but you’re quite into the motocross scene as well from a rider to a fan of the sport. Did you ever see yourself when you were younger thinking you could be a Monster athlete?


You know it’s funny I was thinking about this the other day because if I look back, I know the 13-year-old Keegan would be losing his mind right now. I went to Supercross races when I was a kid and had been a huge fan and still am of motocross, Supercross really all types of motorsports my entire life and to now be part of the Monster Energy family it’s pretty cool. It’s something that I always wanted and wasn’t quite sure it was a possibility so that I’m in now I’m stoked.

Looking back on your racing career, when did you first know that you may be able to make a professional career out of the mountain bike discipline?


I started racing at the national level when I was fifteen years old and I won my first national championship when I was sixteen and I think that was the moment when it hit me that I thought to myself that I was pretty decent at this. From there I wanted to give it a proper go and kind of see what I can make of this. So, from there on my main goal was to just be a professional mountain biker and that was it. It’s been full steam ahead ever since then.

Coming into 2020 how has your off-season been with training-wise and how are you feeling going into the new year?


2019 was a great year for me, I won the Elite national title, so I wanted to build off of last year. My training specifically hasn’t been too much different from years past. We found a few weaknesses that we wanted to work on, and I’ve spent more time working on my VO2 power and sprint exercises. More so just fine-tuning it and going into this year with the Olympics on the horizon whether it’s this year or postponed that’s my biggest goal so we’re just working towards being in the best shape for that.

You’ve won the U23 national championship before, but you are now the Elite national champion. How does that feel to be in the stars & stripes as the current champion of your country?


Honestly, it’s a hard feeling to beat. It’s a goal that I’ve looked up to my entire life. I finished second in the past a couple of years in a row so to win this title now is an amazing feeling. To know that I am the best in the country and to show that off with this jersey is a feeling like no other.

With being the current national champion how would it feel to get the call-up and represent your country at the Olympics?


Oh, I mean that would be incredible. It's every athlete's dream. It’s the world's biggest stage from a sporting perspective so to be able to go there and represent the United States, it would have to be the most amazing feeling.

If you had a piece of advice that you could pass along to a younger racer what could you tell them?


I think just, in general, to just be yourself and to be genuine. I think that if you can stay true to who you are that’s going to take you to a pretty great place and that’s not even for just racing but even so out in the world with either your job and everything you deal with everyday life.
But to go back to the racing side just to really have fun with it. You have to have fun with it because it's really easy in this sport to burn yourself out with being too serious and chasing numbers. In the end, we're all just out here racing our bikes and having a good time and I think that gets lost a lot with riders. If you're a young up and comer, you have to do it because you love it.

Depending on possible schedule adjustments due to the Covid-19 virus how does your year look with events & races that you are targeting?


We would start our season in California with the US Cups and from there go down to Argentina for the Pan Am Championships. I would look to hit the Whiskey 50 in Arizona after that and then head over to Europe for the World Cup rounds.

"It’s no secret right now with how everything is changing in the world and maybe this year we don’t get the option to travel overseas for events like the past."

How is the difference from racing nationally to going over to Europe and racing the World Cup scene?


It’s a big difference from going to the US to Europe for the World Cups. There are just so many more talented racers and the fans are crazy. It would almost be like comparing their racing over there to how the US views football and other stick and ball sports over here. It’s one of the biggest sports over there and it is quite the experience.

Looking back over the last ten years that you’ve been competing at a serious level how do you feel the sport of mountain biking is doing as a whole?


I feel that maybe a few years ago mountain biking was in a bit of a lull, but it seems these past couple years it has started to take off again. I think the high school racing (NICA) has really made a large impact and it’s just so cool to see all of these little kids out on bikes and racing. Back when I was racing juniors in Utah there would be maybe 5 – 10 kids racing and now 50 kids are racing with thousands competing across all categories.

If your schedule does look to change are there any other events that you could see yourself doing if your schedule allows it?


It’s no secret right now with how everything is changing in the world and maybe this year we don’t get the option to travel overseas for events like the past. I would like to do a few more Gravel events if possible. The Belgian Waffle Ride is one event that I’ve wanted to do in the past and with that being an event supported by Monster Hydro I’d love to go there and take home the W.

Looking ahead, in a perfect world if you look back at the end of 2020 what would make this a successful season for you


Going to the Olympics and having a race that I can be proud of would be at the top of the list and I think defending my national title again would make 2020 a success.

Favorite Monster Energy athlete?


Eli Tomac

Favorite Sport?


Motocross/Supercross

Favorite Hydro line?


Blue Ice

Favorite Workout?


Long endurance mountain bike ride

Favorite Race?


Whiskey 50

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