For Louis, it all started with building sketchy jumps from bricks and planks in the backyard and breaking department store bikes. It has since taken him to compete at an international level, travel the world, meet many great people and also start his own mountain bike coaching business - Tuned Rotorua. This year at the New Zealand Downhill National Championships, Louis finished in 4th place, his best result to date. He's supported through Wide Open Distributors, our distributor in New Zealand.

Photos and interview by Wide Open Distributors.

Wide Open Distributors: What is your favorite thing about riding?

Louis Hamilton: The best part of riding for me is the good vibes shared with everyone out on the trails and the adrenaline rush it gives me when you push your limits!

WO: What challenges do you face when riding?

LH: Mountain biking can always offer challenges and sometimes, they are not always known! It’s a sport of precision, speed, and accuracy, so challenges can change with different conditions and trail terrain! From a racing point of view, a continuous challenge I set for myself no matter what the conditions or terrain is to be creative with my riding and have a wide vision for what is in front of you!

WO: What is your proudest achievement riding/competing?

LH: The proudest achievement for me riding/competing would have to be my 4th place in Pro Elite Men at the 2019 New Zealand DH Championships held in Rotorua. The reason this achievement was one of my proudest was that this was the first race my daughter Jayla had attended... although she was only 5 days old... the approach to this specific weekend was "just for fun" and it made me realize exactly why I love the sport!

WO: What is your favorite trail, and why?

LH: My favorite local trail would have to be Hot X Buns. The reason it's a favorite is that it has an endless amount of flow but is still technical! You can also ride this trail with a similar approach when things get wet!

WO: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

LH: Never eat yellow snow! - Dave Hamilton

WO: Coming back from injuries can be challenging, have you ever doubted yourself after an injury?

LH: Injuries definitely give riders setbacks, but at the end of the day, it comes down to how that rider reacts to the setback to what can be achieved. Thinking back to some of my biggest injuries (losing one of my kidneys in a crash at 17 years old), I have never doubted myself that I was not good enough or strong enough to get back on a bike. It almost seems for me when a doctor says that you could not do something, my natural reaction was to prove them wrong within myself!

WO: Who’s been your biggest inspiration?

LH: My biggest inspiration, while he was in the sport, was Steve Peat. After sitting next to him on a shuttle uplift as an 11-year-old with a sweeper role at the 2006 World Champs in Rotorua! That was when I decided, this is what I want to do!

WO: What does life beyond bikes look like for Louis Hamilton?

LH: Life beyond bikes for me is keeping it fun and letting the good times roll with family and also giving my daughter the opportunities to follow her dreams, whatever they may be!