Inside the mind of a downhill skater… Pete Connolly talks racing

10Apr

Pete Connolly has been hooked on downhill skateboarding for a long, long time. His drive to go as fast as possible on his skateboard has led him all over the globe, and made him many friends. A need for speed as strong as this can only be satisfied by racing…

We asked Pete for his thoughts on longboarding, downhill, racing and speed, and he came back with true insight… Read on for more!

“Racing is a funny old thing. Many people don’t like it and prefer to go to a freeride event, however it is an environment that continues to drive Downhill to new levels in terms of what we can do and in instigating the leading edge of product development.

For me I’m hooked… Learning to skate I had to race to skate good roads. My first International event to a proper road was Almabtrieb in 2004 on the Ausburg track, I only raced because I wanted to skate the track but right there some seeds were sown.

Almabtrieb 2007, Magun Trucks, Magun Race Deck, ABEC 11, Paraglider lid… things have changed!

I find that I do things on my board that I just don’t do unless I am racing. When I am on the start line I am consumed and all else falls away, I am entirely in that moment of time with no regard for past or present, I skate on an auto pilot with little to no conscious thought what so ever, a Zen. At the end of the heat it all comes to me, the moves and lines and what I have done. My best moments on my board happen when I am in this place…

In a stacked heat at Almabtrieb 2014, check the eyes for focus…

There are seconds of time that burn so bright that they make perfect memories that last, markers in my mind of the chapters of my life. Very little else gives me such life markers, racing certainly has many for me.

The beautiful thing is, you don’t need to win…. You might of lost that heat but still have experienced a truly intense moment of time that was worth living. Often these moments are shared with someone else from that heat and from that your friendship with that person grows. In order to take a corner at 50mph side by side with someone you must trust them. That trust and the shared passion that drives us to skate Downhill in the first place is what brings the Downhill community together. It’s why I refer to that community as family, my Downhill Family.

Some of the UK Downhill Family – Eurotour 2012!

That brings me to another reason that I keep on racing, the Family…. In all skating I find community. I know of no other thing I have in my life that can bridge such diversity. We are from so many different nationalities ( I see new ones every year!) with different cultural compasses. Different financial positions, jobs, ages and beliefs. On the hill you move past all demographics and you will find that you have already shared an experience with some one, trusted in them and come out smiling before you know what their background are.

Pete has been to every Gurston Timetrial for the last fifteen years. He knows this track like no other and is still the man to beat! Shaun Schofield Photo

I think its quite telling that at a Downhill event quite a breadth of conversation can pass between two people till you eventually get round to asking what it is that they might do for a living…. So often in life this is what people ask first and form much of their opinion on.”

Keep your eyes peeled for more from Pete soon… Eurotour 2017 has already started!