If you didn’t know that Asheville is home to a flourishing downhill skateboard scene, now you know.
This month, local longboarder Rachel Bagels will represent our city as a member of the USA national downhill skateboarding team. Bagels, along with five other women, will compete at the biennial World Skate Games, which runs through Sunday, Nov. 13 in Buenos Aires and San Juan, Argentina.
The crux of downhill skateboarding, Bagels explains, is “all about going fast.” The average race traverses steep and curvy roadways between one and three miles long and usually concludes in a few minutes.
“On open roads, I can usually hit about 30-40 miles per hours. The fastest I’ve ever gone is 65,” Bagels says. “Sometimes I’m driving on the highway and think to myself, I can skate faster than this!”
Another important element of the sport: crazy leg strength. In order to go as fast as possible downhill, Bagels explains, skaters compress their bodies in a “tuck” position, which after a few minutes, really burns your legs.
Bagels, originally from Los Angeles, says she moved to Asheville a few years ago and was drawn in by our mountainous landscape, relative affordability, and friendly skating community. She has been skating since she was 19 and now regularly competes in skate competitions worldwide.
“Asheville has so many options when it comes to downhill skating. The community here is massive, too. It used to be that everyone from all over the world was moving to LA area as the mecca of downhill skateboard. Now, that’s kind of here.”
In 2019, Bagels was a member of the inaugural USA downhill team, finishing in seventh place worldwide. This year, despite battling a shoulder injury, she’s hopeful about making her mark and reconnecting with skater friends from all over the world.