Ryan Leech has been heralded as one of the most successful and progressive mountain bikers in the world. After a 16 year career as a pro-athlete, entrepreneur and entertainer he’s now devoting his energy towards being a life coach for other extreme athletes. Using his training as an Integral Master Coach™ he helps other pro athletes as they transition out of constant progression based performance and into the next phase of their lives.
Conscious Connection recently caught up with Ryan to discuss how this experience, combined with extensive training in the Integral Coaching methodology, has primed him to build co-creative conditions for powerful results to emerge.
Conscious Connection: How is it that you got started as a professional mountain biker?
Ryan Leech: Riding a mountain bike was fun as a teenager so I rode lots. I began to notice improvement in my technique, which brought satisfaction. I wanted more satisfaction, so I rode harder and longer and my skills began to be recognized by others. This led to competition and an opportunity to earn money by performing stunt shows and being sponsored.
Conscious Connection: As one of the most progressive mountain bikers in the world, how has this unique style helped you be successful?
Ryan Leech: My creative riding style and curiosity about what is possible on two wheels turned out to be very enjoyable for others to watch which is why I was featured in over 25 bike films, was hired to perform at shows such as Cirque du Soleil.
Conscious Connection: What were some of the challenges you faced with taking such a progressive approach?
Ryan Leech: For any successful athlete, musician, or performer, there comes a time in their careers when the demands of the fans and the industry conflict with the natural passions that brought success in the first place. Navigating this can be tricky. You can ignore these external demands and risk losing your career, or you can follow them closely to please everyone but risk becoming a robot. In any career there is a never ending series of decisions and choices to make, as I become more aware of these choices and more in-tune with who I was (beyond my reputation as a pro), I was able to find a satisfying balance.
Conscious Connection: Tell me about your Trials of Life and Ride & Reach Program — what was the inspiration behind these?
Ryan Leech: The Trials of Life school presentation was launched based on the question, ‘how can I inspire the younger generation to do the work necessary to discover and pursue their own unique gifts, abilities, and talents?’
For the Ride & Reach, I’ve practiced yoga for over a decade, and I can directly credit the practice to my longevity as a pro athlete, but more importantly to the increased ability to enjoy the experience of biking. I naturally wanted to share this with other mountain bikers, hence the creation of Ride & Reach.
Conscious Connection: Blending yoga and mountain biking sounds like a promising match. Tell me more about the benefits of this type of regiment.
Ryan Leech: I believe that through practice, we can increase our capacity to ‘experience’, for example, we might go on the same bike ride and both experience ‘enjoyment’, but the amount of enjoyment experienced can be quite different. I want to expand how much enjoyment is possible, along with a variety of other feelings, and that can be done through yoga, and various body/mind/spirit practices while out in the forest on the bike. Does that make sense?
Conscious Connection: Yes definitely. Tell me about how you got into becoming an Integral Coach.
Ryan Leech: There is an epidemic of silent suffering in our world, I stayed quiet while I tried to navigate the harder times in my life..and thought I did a decent job by reading books and talking to friends. It wasn’t until I received coaching on an important developmental challenge I faced that I discovered how much more efficient it was than doing it alone. Athletes, whether pro or hobby, often run in to challenges that revolve around over training, escaping life through sport, finding flow, dealing with injury, and finding balance with sport/work/relationships. I saw a need, got the training, and have created a coaching community called RealActionAthletes.com.