Interview with Shawn Collins - Winner of the 2018 Arkansas Enduro Series Pro-Open at Coler Mountain Bike Preserve. We got the chance to sit down with Shawn and talk about his recent victory, the competition, and the local mountain biking scene here in Springfield. We also learned that he’s a devoted father that overcame adversity early in life and is passing his love of riding on to the next generation.

Shawn Collins/2018 Arkansas Enduro Series/Photo Credit:  Patty V Photography

Shawn Collins/2018 Arkansas Enduro Series/Photo Credit: Patty V Photography

Congratulations on the win! How does it feel to take the podium at the Coler Enduro?

I was very happy to get that win. Coler was the biggest race in the series and the atmosphere was awesome out there.

Tell us a little about how the series works.

It was a best 4 out of 5 race series that took us to many of the top trail systems in Arkansas. Your skill level and fitness is put to the test in enduro racing.

How did the series go?

It went really well. I was able to finish in the top two at each race leading up to the final race at Coler. It still came down to the wire between me and a couple other top pros and luckily I was able to string together some of my best runs of the year on the final stages and that’s what ultimately gave me the win for the race and the overall series.

Shawn Collins (center) 2018 Arkansas Enduro Series champion.

Shawn Collins (center) 2018 Arkansas Enduro Series champion.

Is it true you were a pro downhill racer in So-Cal?

I was born and raised on the central coast of California but the majority of my races did take place in the mountains of So-Cal. I did race in the pro field for a couple years with some decent success but a couple back to back injuries pretty much took me out of the game back then.

What’s it like riding for SBS Race Team?

It was a pleasure riding for SBS this year. My teammates were really cool guys who were supportive at all the races. Sunshine Bike Shop did an excellent job keeping my bike dialed all year and we had very little pressure applied on us. It made the season more enjoyable and fun.

What kind of bike did you ride to victory?

I rode a Santa Cruz Bronson that I just recently passed down to my oldest son, Tobias. I will be looking to get a new bike next year.

What’s your favorite kind of racing?

When I was younger, dual slalom and downhill were my favorites, but enduro definitely takes the cake these days.

Shawn Collins/2018  Singletrack Mind Festival

Shawn Collins/2018 Singletrack Mind Festival

We heard your kids are into BMX. Tell us a little about their latest accomplishments.

They had a really good year racing BMX. My two boys were both state champs and my daughter got sixth in her class. I love BMX because it’s a great family sport to be involved in and I know it’s a great base for them if they decide to get involved in mountain bike racing.

Did you really have medical issues as a child and how did that affect your ability to ride?

Yes, I did. I was born with stenosis of the trachea. My airway was about the size of a pin hole at birth. I spent the first ten years of my life breathing out of a tracheotomy and during that time period I had over 100 laser surgeries to help dialate the mass that was blocking my airway. My airway today is about half the size of the average persons, but to me it feels normal. I’m sure it may have some effects on my riding, but it’s all I’ve ever known so I try not to let it phase me.

What are your thoughts on the local MTB scene?

I’m diggin’ it! We have a great variety of trails in this area and I hear big talk of more to come. I think the future is bright for our mountain bike community.

We have to ask, will Jimmy Smith ever beat you in a race?

(Laughs) That guy is crazy talented on a bike so I’d say yea, he probably will get me. That being said, I’m grooming my kiddos to be much faster than I ever was so he may have to look out for them in the near future.

April Nelson