Samantha Soriano’s career path was set. By age 20, the Colorado native already had an enviable résumé, with three national DH championships under her belt, dozens of enduro podiums, a bevy of big-name sponsors and a full international Downhill World Cup schedule on the horizon.
But something was off. A nagging feeling weighed on Soriano for most of the 2019 season, her first racing World Cups as an elite.
“I felt like there was immense pressure, like I needed to prove something to everyone after winning National Champs (in 2018, the youngest pro woman to take the title),” she said. “The whole mental side of the sport just crushed me.”
Race results were how you showed value to sponsors, especially as a woman, and she didn’t want to lose her career; she loved riding bikes and getting paid to do it was her dream. So, following shoulder surgery in late 2019, she stayed within the lines she thought were already drawn for her, and planned her 2020 schedule around the World Cup DH circuit.