Meet the 2022 Race for the Rail Winners

Race for the Rail (RFTR) 2022 winners Kyle Hanson and Racheal Cecil look back on race day and share their insights about the course, the future of Onewheel racing, and how they get their head in the game. A huge thank you to Kyle and Racheal for their thoughtful answers, and to the talented photographers who graciously shared their work with us: Pete Santos, Robert Bardelmeier, and Mike Lucido

Kyle Hanson

Location: San Diego
Instagram: @wheelfunstuff, @kylefunhanson
Stance: Regular
When you started riding: Jan 2019
Preferred Onewheel build: GT with TFL Enduro tire, Life Savers, Electric Bigfoot foam pads for the front and back footpads

Courtesy photo

Racheal Cecil on the Lord's Prayer section of the DirtSurferz Onewheel race

Racheal Cecil

Location: Atlanta, GA
Instagram: @diesel_cecil_
Stance: Regular
When you started riding: May 2018
Preferred Onewheel build: For trail riding I like a GT with an Enduro tire, I’m excited to try out TFL’s new kush pad for it. For trick riding I like an XR with a Vega, Kush low back pad and BANG bumpers

Photo by Mike Lucido, used with permission

IOWA: What did you think about this year’s race course? 



This year’s race course was a lot different than last year’s course. We had a lot more features this year including some kicker ramps, a tabletop section, and a giant wooden apex over a truck called “Ranger Danger.” Having all these features made the race more about your skill level and knowledge of racing compared to last year’s race which was full speed down a fire road! You really had to watch your speed and control this year. Ranger danger is probably my favorite feature this year because it’s so fun to say. I hope they keep adding features like this for RFTR since it really showcases what the Onewheels are capable of. It also makes the riders have to dial in their racing and be more focused and really know the course.


This year’s race course was practically everything the riders have been asking for. It wasn’t a drag race down a fire road like it has been. The features added a huge level of technicality while also acting as speed checks. 

I’m hoping next year it will be a bit smoother and I would like to see equally challenging B lines to add more passing points and keep things interesting. 

Kyle Hanson comes over the apex on Ranger Danger.
Photo by Pete Santos, used with permission

IOWA: How did it feel to run the course on a stock Onewheel GT? What advantages or challenges did the GT introduce compared to racing on XRs last year?



We got to change our tire and a few other things this year which was really rad. I had a TFL GT Enduro tire on my board which rips way better than the stock tires. I also had a TFL prototype Kush pad for the rear footpad on my race board. It has a little more real estate so my big feet had more control over the back.

GTs have the power, so coming from last year racing on XRs I felt way more comfortable on the GT at high speeds. The XR likes to dip the nose when you give a lot of acceleration where the GT will just give you the acceleration you need. GTs are the move for racing. I still love my XR for freestyle!



This year we were able to change our tires and tails if we wanted. I typically ride and race completely stock all season to prepare for RFTR and let me say I was very grateful they changed the rules. The stock build isn’t bad, but if you aren’t paying attention, the hardness of the stock GT tire will bite you.

The GT rides nothing like the XR so re-training on a new board was a challenge. And committing to it during race season while not really having one during off season was also a unique challenge. I think I had my GT for a week before Dirt Surferz and I chose to race it for the GT Enduro event.

A Onewheel GT ready for action at RFTR 2022.
Photo by Robert Bardelmeier, used with permission

IOWA: Did you feel that enough practice time was provided for you to get comfortable on the board and the terrain? If not, what do you think would have been a better way to help racers get ready for the big day?



I feel we were given enough time to practice on the course. However it wasn’t until Friday that they finished getting all the features set up and ready for the race. I think it would have put all the riders’ minds at ease if they were to show up and the race course was set and final. Having things change in the midst of practicing the course can be a little frustrating and confusing. For me, I really like to paint the picture of the course in my head when practicing. It’s tedious having to repaint the picture a bunch of times, lol.



They definitely gave us plenty of practice time for RFTR. I was up there riding on Wednesday and continued to train on the course every day before the big event. They even let us practice on the course for a few hours on the day of the race.

Kyle Hanson runs laps on the race course before RFTR 2022.
Photo by Pete Santos, used with permission

IOWA: What were the “optional challenges” on Thursday and Friday? Were those a valuable part of the experience for you?



Thursday and Friday were crucial practice days. It was the last days to practice before race day. Get your good laps in and start relaxing and getting your mind right.

My lovely girlfriend Allie Stanley was practicing on Friday before her race. This was allotted time for just women to practice and then the men had a couple hours after. Well she was going ham on the mountain and ended up dislocating her shoulder. We had to drive down the mountain to the ER and get her situated.

Health is the number 1 priority. It was eating into my practice time but it was all good. That shoulder needed to be popped back in, and it was. I got 1 lap in that day which I was planning to be ripping a bunch down the course but sometimes plans don’t work out. In the long run I think having that day to relax my body really helped. I didn’t fatigue myself or wear myself out that day. I was ready!



There was only one challenge this year and it was a silly relay race. We had 4 team captains (I was one of them) and we chose our 5 other teammates schoolyard style. I got Neil, Noah Mead, Lazor, Tahoe Dave and one of the Future Motion guys named Robert. Every great team needs an even better team name so Lazor and I came up with the “Whale Tails.” Get it? Race for the Whale? Race for the Tail? Lol. Anyways…

The relay race started with Lazor racing down a gravel road. He then had to pick up his onewheel and carry it inside the lodge to a refrigerator where he grabbed an egg. Then he had to carry his board and the egg outside, get on his board and ride over to Neil. Neil then had to ride his onewheel while carrying the egg on a spoon through a parking lot over to me.

I had to touch the egg and then ride this short pump track over to this little balance beam section and then ride over to Noah. Noah then had to eat a banana as fast as he could, prove that he swallowed everything and then ride over one of the teeter totters from Seek and Shred. Once he finished the teeter totter, he tagged Tahoe Dave who rode back to the lodge backwards and tagged Robert who then had to shotgun a beer and we were the first to finish! It was super fun and lighthearted and quite exciting. We won some lottery tickets.

Racheal Cecil clears a rocky obstacle in the race course.
Photo by Pete Santos, used with permission

IOWA: How did you prepare before the race and/or how do you keep your head in the game between heats?



Race day is crazy! Your mental game has to be on point. I was nervous but I really like to use those nerves and transfer them into my riding. To do this I stay calm, think of my breathing and just remind myself, we are all out here just riding onewheels. This helps turn my nervous energy into happy and fun energy. Keeping my thoughts light and airy, letting them flow nicely together. Looking up at the trees and the wind blowing, thinking what a beautiful place I get to rip a onewheel! This mindset puts me into the flowstate. Which is where you want to be when you are riding, especially when you are racing.

I ride a onewheel every day. I commute to my shop ripping trails most of the way. This factor I think has helped me understand board control immensely. Before the Rail I would intentionally have the thought in my mind to go as fast as I could to help practice for the race. This threw me into situations I had to either eat shit, or get myself out of it. I wasn’t trying to eat any shit on the way to work, so I started to figure out how to get out of it. Then my brain started to figure that part out for me. Now when I ride I still surprise myself when I get out of a slippery situation on the wheel.



I always stay positive and visualize the race course during practice and before racing. I love competing so staying calm before the actual event is something that comes naturally to me. It helps to do breathing exercises, yoga, and listening to brown noise.

Kyle Hanson leads the men through the single track.
Photo by Robert Bardelmeier, used with permission

IOWA: Tell us a little about your race day.



There was a moment in my 3rd heat when I thought for sure that I was out. I was in third place and only the top 2 moved on. Tyler James and Luke Austin were leading in front of me. I was coming around the last turn ready to come through the finish in 3rd. As I’m pulling up to the line, I see a onewheel on the course off to my left, then I see Tyler sliding through the dirt to that board. I was in shock, like did that really just happen? I think that means I’m in—and I was! Shout out to Tyler for taking that nosedive for me 😉

The energy levels were awesome. Everyone was pretty stoked to race, others were a little more nervous but still stoked and focused on the race. I like to talk to other races to see how they’re feeling. If they seem a little nervous, I try to talk with them and have some fun. Try to get them to laugh a little or maybe focus on something they were thinking of. I really believe the best way to race is to have fun, not to get in your head too much, and never take anything too seriously.



Race day was exciting. Everyone was generally friendly and positive but definitely a bit nervous. I was confident about the course and my lines going into the event. I learned a lot of lessons from last year and this year’s races so I felt strategically and mentally prepared. My legs were fresh since I’d been spending time with Robbie from Extreme Sports Mobility Lab every day.

A highlight from the event was getting to spend time with my family. It was really cool to see them all there together wearing the Diesel Cecil shirts that my partner Sarah Mac designed. I was also grateful she was able to attend the race this year. She knows how much I’ve been working for this win so it was an incredible feeling to cross the finish line first and for her to be there.

Something I was nervous about was actually the section where I passed Mercedes. I had crashed there in practice so I spent a good amount of time hitting the lines hard on race day and it was certainly time well spent.

Racheal Cecil crosses the finish line.
Photo by Pete Santos, used with permission

IOWA: Anything else you want to share about this year’s race?



This year’s race was so epic! They had spectators come out this year which made the event way more fun and entertaining for everyone. Shouts to the Onewheel crew because the race was very well organized this year, everything ran smoothly and from my end I didn’t notice any hiccups along the way.

I hope that onewheel racing is here to stay. I’ve only seen progression in the entire onewheel racing circuit and I only see it growing even more. My guess for the future of racing onewheels is down the line there will be many different styles of competitions. We have boardercross racing now, but there could be tech trials and slopestyle events. Long ass endurance races would be freaking awesome as well, and of course freestyle street riding.

I hate to say it but, the future looks rad!



Sarah Sandoval was someone who did an amazing job keeping things organized and moving. But it took a village to make this event happen and everyone involved pulled their weight.

The competition this year was the fiercest yet! It’s amazing to see new faces at events and I met a lot of very talented women and men this year. I think it’s only going to keep getting better!

The women of RFTR 2022 at the starting line.
Photo by Pete Santos, used with permission