Tarah Gieger is mixing it up in the action sports scene. As a young mom, she has risen to the top of three male-dominated sports. The 10 Barrel/Red Bull athlete is a pro motocross racer, MTB rider, and surfer. Follow along with shredding three ways in this new film by 10 Barrel.
Interview from 10 Barrel Brewing
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Tarah Gieger: I always just wanted to be an athlete really. Every sport I was doing, I pictured myself as a professional. Even when I played baseball with all boys, I wanted to be the first girl playing in the major leagues.
Was there a point in your life when you aspired to be a Red Bull athlete?
Tarah Gieger: I am lucky enough to have been with Redbull for 17 years. So when I got signed on it wasn’t what it is today. But I still knew it was a huge accomplishment in my career and they have been the most amazing part of it all.
When did you first realize that motocross could be your full-time career?
Tarah Gieger: I think I realized I was going to be a professional motocross racer when each year it just kept getting better and better. Going to college and getting a “real job” just kept getting further and further in the rear view.
What’s it like leading the charge for women in a male-dominated sport? Does that even cross your mind or does it all just feel normal?
Tarah Gieger: When I first started riding motocross in Puerto Rico when I was a kid there were no other girls doing it on the island. But I also came from surfing with all boys and playing baseball with all boys. So it was never something I saw as being different from the norm. Now as I’ve been through it all and look back I know all the girls I was racing with and the things we were able to accomplish in our sport had a big impact on younger girls getting involved in all forms of traditionally male-dominated action sports.
Outside of participating in the sports that you do; how do you keep yourself in shape?
Tarah Gieger: I love being super active everyday if I can. I find a lot of enjoyment in somewhat mundane activities too. I really enjoy swimming laps in a pool, riding my road bike for miles, or even just putting time in the gym when I get a chance.
You’re an expert surfer, endurocross racer, and mountain biker. Do you feel that the skills you’ve learned from each help you excel in the other sports?
Tarah Gieger: All those sports are so unique to themselves I think but being able to adapt to a lot of different things really translates across the board. Just figuring it out as you go is a great skill as well. Which I find myself having to do a lot.
What have been some of the biggest challenges with balancing your athletic career and being a parent? How has that adjusted your attitude and expectations in the field?
Tarah Gieger: Finding time to be present in each thing has been really hard. Trying to split my time between it all but being 100 percent in the moment is a thing I’ve found myself having to figure out. I went from having all day to do the things I needed for myself to having a very small amount of time for myself. I wouldn’t want it any other way though.
On a given day, how do you decide which to do?
Tarah Gieger: Thankfully in central Oregon you don’t really have to decide. You can pretty much do it all any day you want.
If you could only do one for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tarah Gieger: I would have to pick surfing as a sport I would do forever. It’s a little easier on the body than two-wheel sports.
What was the most physically challenging single athletic feat of your life, and why?
Tarah Gieger: There have been numerous races that have pushed me physically but I would have to say that the past year of being a professional racer and raising a child has been the most demanding. There were no off days or recovery days. It was back from the races straight into chasing around a toddler. He didn’t care how tired or sore I was. He was full throttle and I just had to keep up.
Now that you’re a mom, do we need to get you a sidecar?
Tarah Gieger: My son would love that! He is crazy about bikes. ‘Bike’ was actually one of his first words.
Now that you’re a parent, how do you feel about encouraging your son to take on the sports that you hold near and dear?
Tarah Gieger: I will fully support anything he is passionate about. I want him to try it all but if he finds something that he wants to be in 100 percent I’m ready to be there no matter what it is. Obviously, I think we already do the most fun sports out there but it will be exciting to see what fuels his fire.
You’re technically retired, but something tells us you’re not planning to slow down much. What’s next?
Tarah Gieger: I definitely intend to keep doing the sports I love as much as I can. Hopefully, some more filming projects I have had to put on hold because of my racing career. Now I’m hoping to have more chances to say yes to fun things.
Nature Calls, APOC or Profuse Juice … do you have a go-to favorite?
Tarah Gieger: Nature Calls all day. I love that stuff!