The season of 2019 was my most successful year yet on my bike and also the year I progressed the most personally. After a pretty good previous season, I was in an alternate position for the first diamond series event for the season, Crankworx in New Zealand. Despite I was only an alternate I booked my flights and was excited for the experience of riding such a huge course. The time when I was an alternate, I prepared myself as I was going to ride. I started to visualize my run and perfecting my tricks for it. The day before my flights I got an email that someone had pulled out from the competition and I was in for the show. That got me even more excited and focused, I reminded myself to keep my expectations low and take it as an experience.

By far my biggest result yet

The jumps were huge and the first day of practice I was terrified of the speed and the size of the jumps. I really didn’t think I was going to be able to put down a run at the end of the week… Luckily, I had my friend Viktor Douhan there reminding me to take one jump at the time and trust myself during the practice. I went outside my comfort zone every practice session and worked myself down the course. On the day of the contest, I still didn’t do some of my tricks and I was really close to not to ride. My mind got the best of me for a while… I hadn’t done any tricks on the second to last jump which was long and low and I was scared of even jumping because of the speed. The last run before the contest I managed to do a backflip off it and everything started to feel good again. From that moment it was only about doing the run. The work was done, without thinking I landed the first run that made me 3rd in the contest. By far my biggest result yet and I am still buzzing from the feeling of that day.

Photo © Peter Jamison

My expectations got too high

After that, I was into the rest of the diamond series contests for the season and I thought I had figured out how to prepare. But my expectations got too high for Crankworx Innsbruck and I didn’t manage to land my run. Red bull Joyride was next up in Canada, Whistler and that was a big challenge for me, even though I had experienced the big jumps of Crankworx before, Whistler was something else. My bike was missing the first of practice and I bent my cranks twice during practice got me missing out too much preparation and I could not keep it together. Even though the last two Crankworx events didn’t go as planned, I learnt the most from them. I know more about what to expect and how to prepare for next season.

I also did a few of the gold events this season and managed to get the 3rd place at Swatch Rocket Air and another 3rd place at Omarisquino in Spain. Overall, I had my best season yet and placed 7th overall in the world ranking.

The event format is something that suits me pretty good. I like when I can prepare myself for something in advance and this format allows me to do that, but it would not hurt if we had some different kinds of formats on the tour. Maybe a park series for mountain bikes?

It’s always a risk to do extreme sports in any way. I have had a lot of injuries while progression since I started riding so the past few years, I have been really health-oriented and focused a lot on prevention. Still riding takes a toll on your body and as a rider, you need to be aware that it is a lot of hard work to stay healthy.

Photo © Markus Fredriksson

My plan for 2020 is to ride as much as I can, push my limits on and of the bike. My goal for competitions is to become ranked top 5 in the world ranking and also win one gold event or a higher ranked contest. I think it ́s good to aim for a goal but for me, I am more excited about what the goal gives me if I achieve it. To win a contest or to be ranked top five I need to develop myself as a person to achieve that. I need to be more dialed on my bike, I need to be more disciplined and I need to take care of my body better so it can get the work done. The person that I become by having a goal is what ́s excites me.

I love to explore the world

There is a lot of traveling as a mountain biker and you get to visit some places you would not normally go to. I love to explore the world and experience new stuff and get some new perspectives on life that way. I think it ́s the best way to learn to appreciate what you have.

© Photos @Jayfrench

A funny thing happened in New Zealand this year while walking towards the event afterparty. We were five people walking and drinking a beer on the go and suddenly a cop car appeared and the cops jumped a bit aggressively out of the car in front of us. They told us that we could not drink alcohol on the streets. We told excuses that we were tourists and didn’t know. Then they got a bit of a weird smile while looking at us and told us that we needed to chug the beers or pour it out. Then the cops stood next to us and made sure we drank it all. Haha, good times!

© Photo @Jayfrench

This season I rode the Cachet XX frame, it is pretty similar to my old frame which was a Canyon Stitched 360 but this one feels a bit smaller and it is easier to do some tricks on. I am really surprised by how good it handles every kind of riding. It feels comfortable whether I ride the biggest slopestyle course in the world or if I jibb around at my local skatepark. I feel like I have found my kind of setup.

Cachet Bike The XX

Photo © Markus Fredriksson

Frame: Cachet Bike The XX
Fork: Rock Shox Pike

I really like to ride the fork very stiff and I feel like the Pike fork is a bit made for that, it still absorbs heavy landings but it is super stiff in the takeoffs!

Handlebars: Truvativ Descendant 30mm rise
(representing Martin Söderström’s signature bar!!)

Stem: Truativ Holzfeller 40mm
Grips: Sensus
Seat: Chromag Overture
Seatpost: Bontrager

Photo © Markus Fredriksson

What is the best setup for pedaling? I use a 32-12 I feel like is the “in-between” setup because you can easily do all the tail tap combos without struggling and you can also ride all the FMB courses and still pedal for speed.

Cranks: Truativ Decentdant 170mm
Pedals: Chromag
Chain: YBN Kool chain
Sprocket: Truativ X-Sync 32T

I ride a gyro with a custom made upper plate some drilled gyro tabs in the frame.

Lever: Odyssey M2 Monolever medium with oddesey G3 cables
Detangler: Blank Generation
Brake: Avid bb7 road

To make my brake feel good I use A LOT of oil for the cables.

I try to keep my wheels as stiff as possible by running super tightened spokes. For air pressure I run about 4,2 Bar in the front and 4,5 in the back, sometimes a bit less depending on how much grip I need.

Hub: Hope pro 4 32h
Spokes: DT Champion
Rim: Hope Enduro
Tire: Continental Raceking 2.2

Hub: Hope pro 2 SS trails 32h
Spokes: DT Champion
Rim: Hope Enduro
Tire: Continental Raceking 2.2

I really enjoy being outside of my comfort zone

I think competing can sometimes take the “fun” out of riding if you are doing it for the wrong reason. I compete because I want to push myself and I really enjoy being outside of my comfort zone. If I wouldn’t, it wouldn’t be funny to compete for me. It’s all about how you frame it in your mind. I enjoy riding in all forms, I think the variety makes me appreciate riding a lot more because you are in different moods. But I enjoy progression the most, just because you can feel a small accomplishment in a big journey and that it keeps me happy.

I am also very active in my local bike park which is named Fyrhuset bike park. It is at core a youth association that does a lot of different activities/projects with the youths around the neighborhood. The association gets funding from the municipality to be able to provide the resources. The bike park is one of the youth projects there and has been going on for 7 years now which is super cool! It has always been me and my friends that have been building and riding there, no one gets paid off doing the work. Our payment is that we have a place to ride at and create whatever fits in the space, which is pretty good! I think it is a pretty unique way of building a bike park. I don’t know how the other bike parks in Sweden do.

Everything is individual to the person who wants to improve

Personal development for me is when a person strives to be the best version of themselves. It could either be something as improving your body in the gym or being aware of the brain works by meditating. Everything is individual to the person who wants to improve. If you are a person who is interested in improving something in your life, just google it. There is plenty of good books and videos that you can learn from out there.

Something that I would recommend to everyone is to make some kind of morning habit that sets the tone of your day good. Because everyone already has a morning routine whether you are aware of it or not. For me, a good morning habit is to do some light movement training to get the blood flowing and meditate for having a relaxed attitude during the day.

I have gradually become more and more interested in personal development because I really wanted to improve my riding. Then I quickly realized that almost everything is a mindset and you can change the mindset through action.

Everyone should do what makes them happy

My lifestyle is about freedom pretty much. I like to be able to spend my time in a way that I enjoy. I am the person that rather would be living in a tent working with something I like earning less money than be having a house and a lot of money with a job that I hate.

Something that a lot of you don´t know about me is that I do some acting in my spare time outside of riding from now and then. In 2012 I acted in a teenager movie called ”The First Time” which got nominated and won a prize in the 2013 Berlinale movie festival. I think that acting is really similar to riding in a way because in both you need to be able to change your mindset on command. In riding, you do it a lot from fear to confidence and in acting, it can be from sadness to happiness.

Photo © Peter Jamison

The riding scene is really growing in Sweden, we have a lot of motivated riders that are riding at a high level and we also have a lot of kids that are stoked on riding for fun. I for sure think that the Swedish riding level is inspired by people like Martin Söderström who showed everyone it was possible to be good coming from a place with rarely any good spots from the beginning. Even though we have some really good spots nowadays it is not what matters in the end, the mentality is the important part. I also think the offseason is a good thing in Sweden, everyone rides in a different way then. You are forced to ride indoor skateparks which are really good for your bike control and your tech tricks.

Everyone should do what makes them happy or at least have happiness as their end goal. Life is too short for doing something you don’t enjoy.

I want to thank everyone who took their time to read this. Also, a big thanks to my family, friends, sponsors, and everyone who spreads good energy.

Follow me @Alexalanko on Instagram to see what I am up to. If you have any questions about riding or if there is something else I can do for you, feel free to send a DM to me there.

Take care,

/ Alex Alanko