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Welcome to the Family | Theo Erlangsen

May 282019

Theo Erlangsen has been tearing up the MTB scene for a couple of years, but we’re stoked to now announce him as part of the Monster Energy family, joining the ranks of MTB pros from around the globe, he fits in great with the roster and already shows promise to give the big dogs a run for their money.

He’s also made quite a name for himself recently, kicking off the year by turning heads at this years edition of DarkFEST, being the only invited South African rider to take on the giant course from top-to-bottom, and following up by earning back to back titles as the current Downhill SA Champ. Quite fittingly earning that “Free-racer” title as he balances his ambitions on the World Cup DH circuit while yearning to ride the biggest jumps known to man. As Theo embarks on his 2019 shred campaign abroad, we caught up with him just before catching his flight out of South Africa.

Read on below…

WELCOME TO THE MONSTER FAM THEO, CAN YOU TELL US A FEW THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF? 

I’m Theo Erlangsen, I’m 23 years old – Although I like to keep clean shaven because apparently this is a young mans game. I hail from the Southern suburbs of Cape Town. I’ve literally been riding bicycles since 2 and a ½ years old and won’t be stopping anytime soon.

You kicked off the year properly with an invite to ride at DarkFEST? How did that all come about?

There’s no better way to kick off the year than throwing yourself in the deep end by hitting the biggest jumps I've ever hit in my life. Nothing really can beat a line-up of the worlds riders best rocking up on your doorstep, in the coolest student town in South Africa, to ride what is arguably one of the best/biggest jump lines in the world with your childhood heroes. Throughout my years of studying I’d always be watching Fest videos, just dreaming of someday getting to do that, and next thing you know I’m sitting on top of the hill with guys like Nico Vink & Andreu Lacondeguy just wondering how the hell I got there. It's a pretty sweet feeling.

one second I’ll have a really stressful weekend, worrying about all the small things at a World Cup, then the next I’m just floating massive booters with the sickest crew next to a lake in Spain AT FEST. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

So you’re heading over to Europe soon? What races/events are on your hit list this year?

Yeah! I’m actually sitting at the airport right now about to hop on my flight out, I’m hoping to hit as many races and events as I possibly can. With a bit of variation here and there, a bunch of the World Cups, French Cups, iXS Cups. I’m also hoping to crack a nod for a couple more of the Fest Series events over in Europe. I'm just really looking forward to having a blast out there, riding new stuff, meeting new people and cruising around Europe whilst living the dream out of my van.

You’re busy juggling competing in both UCI events as well as Fest Series? How are you finding that?

Juggling between Fest events and World Cup is pretty hard, not so much with the calendar, but more so with the mental preparation playing a bit of a factor because they're so different. Like with Fest events, guys are sometimes just sending stuff with complete disregard for the outcome, and myself coming from a race background, put way more thought into the risks involved, choosing the best lines etc as that's what you do in racing to shave off those split seconds off your time. I really enjoy it though because I get to experience the different vibes, like one second I’ll have a really stressful weekend, worrying about all the small things at a World Cup, then the next I’m just floating massive booters with the sickest crew next to a lake in Spain at Fest. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I’m still really proud to be a South African and it’s amazing how many people get behind you when representing the country on an international platform.

What would you say your favourite riding spot back home in Cape Town is?

For sure I’d have to say my favourite riding spot back home is Stellenbosch, it's beautiful town, usually no  too windy, the locals are also super on it with building new trails and keeping them all well maintained. It’s a really bike friendly town and they've has just got it right compared to other places in SA. Plus you can always go for an ice cold beer afterwards!

Where did you get the idea behind the design on your helmet? Does the design signify anything?

I basically just wanted to have an African design on my helmet so it stands out and shows my South African roots when I’m competing overseas. I chose a traditional Ndebele design because I like the geometric patterns and it's also a very recognisable South African art style. Although living in South Africa can have its ups and downs with all the crime and corruption. I’m still really proud to be a South African and it’s amazing how many people get behind you when representing the country on an international platform.

It’s really humbling to see guys like that are a really big deal in the industry but also really humble people and down to earth at the same time.

Who/what are some or your main inspirations behind riding?

I’d have to say Greggy boy! Greg Minnaar is one of my greatest inspirations in riding, being the actual GOAT of Downhill too! On top of that, he’s just a really nice guy, still knows how to enjoy himself after all the years of being one of the greatest racers to have lived. He’s stood the test of time too, with decades of racing, countless titles and still manages to stay on the top of his game. Another mention, would be Nico Vink. Also coming from a racing background, now one of the main instigators behind the Fest Series and also just a really nice guy. It’s really humbling to see guys like that are a really big deal in the industry but also really humble people and down to earth at the same time.

If you’re not riding, what are you usually getting up to?

When I’m not riding you can catch me eating salads, hitting the gym and following the strict training program. ;) You absolutely won’t catch me at any big parties, adventuring with my friends and jumping off cliffs, occasionally riding a bit of MX, Surfing or doing the many outdoor activities that Cape Town has to offer.

I’d love to see a World Cup come to Cape Town

Where would you like to see the South African DH/Freeride MTB scene in 10 years?

I’d love to see the Fest boys still doing DarkFEST in South Africa, or something similar. It’s the best thing that’s happened to Mountain Biking in SA in my opinion. I’d love to see a World Cup come to Cape Town, if I could get onboard with that I’d love to be involved with planning of that. The terrain is all there with the mountains and elevation, we’d have to get the access and SAN parks on board. Mountain Biking has gained a lot of popularity over the years and South African cycling is going places, we’ve got the weather and the facilities for it too. It feels good to be part of a sport that is literally blowing up around you.

Where can people keep up to date on your travels? Any social media or upcoming projects to look out for?

You can follow my upcoming missions on Instagram - @Theo_Erlangsen, I’ll be sure to be posting plenty of clips and adding to my story on the regular. I’ll try my best to keep you guys updated and entertained along the way. I’ll also be working on an edit or two while I’m on the road! So stay tuned for that...

Make sure you follow Theo on Instagram HERE.

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