We recently interviewed Long’s Sports Group Owner Donavon Long, and now it’s the turn of his son, Nic Long, a successful racer whose life has revolved around BMX since he was 7 years old. Despite the hard hours of training, injuries, and sacrifices he’s made to reach his goals, the Californian finds as much enjoyment in the sport as he did when he was just a grom. Winning isn’t everything to Long, but he sure is good at it. The Haro rider burst onto the World Cup scene with a win when he was just 17, and he hasn’t looked back since. Now, he has his eyes set on the 2020 Olympic Games.
Name: Nicholas Long
Date of Birth: October 6, 1989
Tell us about your beginnings in BMX.
My dad took me to a local track one day to watch racing and I was instantly hooked. I was playing Little League Baseball at the time, but I wasn’t really into team sports because of the politics involved. BMX looked awesome and I decided I’d rather do that instead. My cousins and I were riding bikes a lot already and had jumps in our yards, but I wanted to race. To make sure I was committed, my mom made me buy my own bike with savings bonds I had. It all began from there!
Your father, Donavon, owns his own BMX team.
Yeah, my dad started Factory Phantom about a year after I began racing BMX. Really, the story is pretty funny. One day at the races, a local bike shop came up to my family, asking us to join their team. We ended up visiting the shop but found out we had to pay $35 to buy their race jersey and be on the team. My dad thought it was a lame idea and decided to start his own team instead. A lot of the local kids were part of it, and we traveled to the races together. It started with making our own jerseys, and then he even made some of his own parts and welded up custom frames. I raced for the team from about the time I was 9 years old until two years after becoming pro.
At the moment, I have a couple small injuries that I’m working on getting healed up, but I’m still racing full time. The ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Olympic team for the third time in 2020, but that’s too far out to plan for right now—the team isn’t usually selected until about two months before the Olympics. I’d like to stay racing at least through then. After that, we’ll figure out what’s next!
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Getting older! The body heals slower and sometimes it feels like you shouldn’t train today. I never thought it was going to be a big deal when I was growing up. All these older guys would say, “Wait until you get old,” but I never believed it. It’s a real thing!
If you were to give one piece of advice to a young racer, what would it be?
I’d say to just keep it fun! We all get into a sport because it was something fun to do, so don’t lose touch with that. I’ve always pushed myself very hard, but I’ve also enjoyed the process of training and racing. If I put pressure on myself to win every single race or got so upset over losses, I don’t think I would’ve continued on as long as I have. I just really enjoy racing. I’ve also made a whole set of life-long friends from BMX, so I love traveling everywhere and racing with each other constantly. Thinking back to all the places we’ve been and fun we’ve had, it makes the sacrifices worth it. Enjoy the process!
Is there anything you have to say about 6D?
I truly believe that 6D Helmets are the best on the market! To back that up, I’ve had three serious crashes this year and have been able to walk away unscathed and get back to training right away. A quality helmet is the single most important piece of equipment that any BMX racer or action-sports athlete can invest in. You can always tape up a joint or put a limb in a cast, but if you scramble your eggs, it can have some serious effects on your body and the long-term wellbeing of your mind.