Steve Smith has a reputation as a one of the all-round nice guys of international professional downhill mountain biking. Fittingly, he's known for his unshakeable dedication to the sport over and above the competitiveness and determination to win which might be expected of an athlete of his calibre. He's the kind of guy that will always want to be out on his bike, even after months of gruelling training. As a multi UCI World Cup medallist who has been ranked at number two in the world in his sport, though, a fighting spirit has to figure in there somewhere.
As we learn in this episode of Beyond the Bike, DirtTV's superb series delving into the backstories of prominent figures from the mountain biking world, his rise to fame has not been what you might ordinarily expect. His family were extremely supportive of his interest in bikes from the very moment when, as a toddler, he taught himself to ride without stabilisers. However, their familiarity with mountain biking was so meagre that at first they did not realise it was a sport for adults. This is all the more remarkable considering Steve grew up in Cassidy, British Columbia, an area of Canada which couldn't have been more suited to the type of advanced cycling at which he would later flourish so brilliantly.
Doubtless Steve will be adding yet more trophies to his collection this season, but more importantly he can look forward to another year of riding at the very limits of his abilities. He has achieved so much so far, all that remains is for him to finally take his rightful place at the top of the winners' podium. Let's just hope this is his year.