It was a bittersweet Grand Nationals for Team Mongoose this year knowing that it would be the last time we’d see Sophia Foresta in the gate as a professional racer. Sophia had an amazing career – 2016 Sports Illustrated High School Athlete of the Month, 2-time National #1 Amateur Girl, 2017 USA BMX Grand National Pro Women Winner, 2019 Team USA Elite World Champion member – but she will be remembered most for the impact she made off-the-track as one of the best role models in BMX. She has been amazing ambassador for cycling and will always be a part of the Mongoose family. We caught up with Sophia to get her thoughts on BMX, retirement, and what’s in store for the future!
Even though you are retiring let’s start at the beginning. What got you into BMX to begin with?
SOPHIA: My brother Joey got me into BMX when I was 6 years old. When he was 4 years old, he saw an ad for Rad Canyon BMX in our local grocery store. He started racing, and 6 months later, I tried it. The rest is history.
What was one of your most memorial races?
SOPHIA: There are so many of them that it is hard to narrow it down to just one. My most memorable would have to be Grands 2017. It was my rookie pro year and I ended up winning the Grands that year. Being surrounded by my family and friends during that achievement was something I will never forget.
Do you have a favorite track that you raced?
SOPHIA: My favorite track will always be Rad Canyon BMX. In addition to Rad Canyon, I loved the track at the Pan American Games in 2019. It was totally strange and different; however, that is what made it fun.
What has been one of your favorite BMX trips that you’ve been on?
SOPHIA: I was lucky that many of my BMX trips throughout my career have been with my parents and my brother. We drove to Grands several times with all of us and I really enjoyed the quality time we spent together during those long car rides.
Tell us what BMX has meant to you over the years?
SOPHIA: BMX has given me more throughout the years than I could give back. Most notably, BMX taught me the value of hard work, sportsmanship, and community. Since the time I started racing, I knew whatever I wanted in sport was going to come from what time and effort I put into it. I learned quickly that there is more to life than results on the track; and being humble, kind, and gracious, regardless of the result, is something that is going to get you far in life. Most importantly, the community you build around yourself lasts far beyond an athletic career. I believe I have the very best group of people around me, and I am so thankful that they are there/have been there regardless of what career path I choose.
Plus, bikes are just so fun. I could not be luckier to have done what I loved for so long.
What advice would you give to women who want to get into BMX?
SOPHIA: There will be times it will be scary and intimidating. Find your people, focus on how fun bikes are, and know you are far more capable than you give yourself credit for.
How will you use the skills you learned through BMX in your next venture?
SOPHIA: The skills mentioned above are things that I will absolutely take into my next venture. Everything that BMX teaches you and is applicable to life outside of athletics. I will never forget the lessons I have learned from racing bikes, and I know it will help me be successful in the future.
Speaking of that, what is your next venture?
SOPHIA: I have my sights set on graduating with my Bachelor’s of Science Business Management/Deaf Studies degree in May of 2022. Aside from that, I am going to spend time learning more about what I would like to do in my future career and learning more about my strengths/weaknesses in a business setting.
How was it finishing your career with Mongoose?
SOPHIA: I could not have been luckier to top off an incredible chapter with a company like Mongoose. Within moments of speaking with the team and staff last year, I knew Mongoose was something I wanted to be a part of. The Mongoose team has very quickly become family and those relationships will last far past my career racing bikes.
Even though you are officially retired from BMX will we still see you rolling around on a Mongoose?
SOPHIA: Absolutely. Two days after I got home from my final race, I was on a Fireball at the pumptrack with my brother. Bikes will always be a part of me, and I will be honored to ride a Mongoose in all of the different ways that I can.
You may even catch me on one of those electric scooters riding around town 😉
Any thanks you want to give?
SOPHIA: There are a million people I would love to thank. Anyone who has ever given me a high-five or moral support, thank you from the bottom of my heart. That meant/means more to me than anyone will ever know.
I would like to make a special mention below to a handful of people that have been the most influential in my life and in my career. I will never be able to thank them enough for all they have done, but I think they have somewhat of an idea how much I appreciate them.
Mom, Dad & Joey
Other family and close friends
Mongoose Bicycles – Kevin & Leigh specifically
USA BMX Foundation
Rad Canyon BMX
Laketown Bicycles – Will and Phil
Here is what Sophia’s fellow teammates said about her:
Payton Ridenour: “It’s been awesome getting to know Sophia as a competitor and a person throughout these last few years! I’ve had the opportunity to train alongside her and see the hard work she puts in. And even better than that, I got to know her very genuine personality. Sophia is super sweet and doesn’t have a bad bone in her. I loved getting to hang out with her and she’s inspired me to spread kindness to everyone I interact with. Thank you to Sophia for being the coolest and I wish her the best of luck on her next chapter!”
Cam Wood: “Sophia has been a great person to have on the team. She always has a positive energy to her that brings out the best in everyone. She is a prime example of what Mongoose and the USA BMX Foundation stand for in being a good role model for the next generation. She has had a great BMX career and there is no doubt she will have more success moving forward.”
Mason Hayes: “Sophia is one of the kindest, smartest, most humble, and rad people you’ll ever meet. She always has a smile on her face, and she is always willing to talk to somebody. If you ever get the chance to meet Sophia, she won’t seem like a stranger at all. She is super fun to have around the pits and super cool!”
Justin Posey: "Sophia has forever been known as one of the kindest BMXers of all time. Her passion, energy, and kindness that she is taking from the sport of BMX into the next phase of her life, truly makes the world a better place. I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Thank you for being a part of Mongoose and representing the company and the sport so well!"
Leigh Ramsdell: “As a team manager having someone like Sophia represent Mongoose is a dream come true! She takes her passion for BMX and projects it perfectly on everyone she meets. But it’s not just about how amazing she is on a bike, it’s her actions off the bike that truly define her. Sophia is one of the most positive people I have met and consistently shows kindness to everyone else. She also has a weird sense of humor I will miss on trips!”