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Meet the 2021 Race for the Rail Champions

by Aug 13, 2021Fall 2021, Newsletter0 comments

Presented by the Onewheel Racing League, Race for the Rail 2021 is the World Championships of Onewheel racing. 20 of the world’s best riders will gather to descend ski slopes in a display of skill, speed, and grit. Race for the Rail’s bordercross style format pits 4 racers against each other at a time for elbow-to-elbow, high-octane madness. When the dust settles, one woman and one man will win. These two riders will earn the title of Race for the Rail Champion, hoist the coveted Rail, and take home a prize of $10,000 each.

Tyler James

Tyler James pulls ahead of competitors on the wooden berm, a new feature at RFTR 2021.

Tyler James pulls ahead of competitors on the wooden berm, a new feature at RFTR 2021.

What did you think of your odds going into Race for the Rail 2021?

My odds going in were slim but honestly I went in thinking I have nothing to lose and that mentality helped me push through the nerves and just have fun!

I was expecting Kyle Hanson to win the race so going against him was wild. I knew I won when I heard Kyle yell from behind, “go get that 10k Tyler!!”

I realized when I got on the board a year ago I could potentially go pro and push the limits of this new board sport. Toughest competitor is Bodhi Harrison; guy is a wizard on the board and has been wheeling longer than most of us. He is lethal on the board and has a heart of gold 🙌🏽

Tell us about a stand-out moment from your race week.

A stand out moment for me was the sportsmanship showed between competitors. We are all friends and want everyone to win so the support from everyone is so epic.

 

 
How long have you been riding Onewheel?

1 year and 1 month [as of RFTR]

When did you start competing?

I started competing with Kyle and then headed to the first qualifier in Arkansas to really put my skills to the test.

What’s your favorite mod?

Electric big foot pads and the Float life homebrew rails 🔥

Does your Onewheel have a name?

One wheel’s name is Bender because of the WTF rails and my other is Rolled. My third (the winning board) is Wave 🌊 number 1

Favorite type of riding/terrain (or tricks)?

I love riding trails [but] what sold me on a onewheel was riding for miles on the sand!

If you listen to music while riding, recommend us your favorite hype track!

I listen to techno and rap when riding. Makes me feel fast 💨 favorite track is “Too Blessed,” Rich the Kid

Where would you most like to ride your Onewheel that you haven’t ridden yet?

Would love to ride my onewheel in South Africa or Mexico. New terrain is calling my name!

Tell us about a humbling moment you’ve experienced on your Onewheel.

A humbling moment on my wheel is the usefulness for anyone that owns one. It’s kinda like finding someone that does a sport that you do; it’s so epic. But the best part is we all come from other board sports because this is a new one! Love the stories we all have to how we ended up floating around.

 

What advice would you give to new riders?

New riders, wear pads—you will fall, and most likely hard, but what brings you down makes you stronger. If you’re worried about it, going fast is an option! In skateboard and surfing and other board sports you usually have to go fast, but with a onewheel you choose the speed!

What’s your day job?

I currently am in school full time, planning to graduate next semester and hoping to work in the field of one wheeling!

Share a fact about yourself that other riders may not know.

I lived in South Africa for 3 years serving as a mentor to ex-street children and it has forever changed my attitude towards life and the blessings we have… Even to be riding and floating on a onewheel in 2021. So psyched

Zoe Thomas

Zoe Thomas hoists the champions' hammer and $10,000 check after winning the women's division in Race for the Rail 2021.

Zoe Thomas hoists the victor’s hammer and $10K check after winning the women’s division of Race for the Rail 2021.

What did you think of your odds going into Race for the Rail 2021?

I just wanted to have fun no matter who won! I thought if I pushed it I’d do well though. I thought Rachel Cecil would win just cause she is willing to go fast and risk it. [But] I think everyone was my toughest competition—you never know what is going to happen.

Tell us about a stand-out moment from your race week.

Meeting new racers, and creating new friends.

 

How long have you been riding Onewheel?

Since a couple months before the 2019 Lake Tahoe race.

When did you start competing?

2019 Lake Tahoe. I actually didn’t know I was going to race—I went to watch my uncle and decided I might as well.

What’s your favorite mode?

Mission; it lets me go fast

 

Does your Onewheel have a name?

It does not; maybe I should name it. My new race board is probably going to be late-chow though

Favorite type of riding/terrain (or tricks)?

I love dirt trails. I feel like they allow me to go fast.

If you listen to music while riding, recommend us your favorite hype track!

I do not listen to music, but if I were to, probably something by quinn xcii, Chelsea culture

Where would you most like to ride your Onewheel that you haven’t ridden yet?

Arkansas: everyone tells me they have smooths and glory trails and I absolutely love that

Tell us about a humbling moment you’ve experienced on your Onewheel.

Probably just hanging out with Rachel Payne. She has such a good attitude and she’s definitely someone you would enjoy

 

What advice would you give to new riders?

Wear your safety gear; you may feel dumb but it’s better than broken bones. Don’t be hesitant to try something new. If you’re not comfortable, then the board is not the cause—you control it. You absolutely can get into onewheeling; it just takes practice. You can’t expect to be perfect.

What’s your day job?

I do other sports besides onewheel, like track and soccer. I recently just quit gymnastics. On weekends and in the winter and summer I work at a soda shop called Swizzle Sweets, where we also do caramels.

Share a fact about yourself that other riders may not know.

I’m a 2X gymnastics state champion. I made it to the finals in track for the 100 hurdles as a freshman.