Hailing from the Icelandic capital Reykjavík, Ingvar Ómarsson has to be one of the hardest-working riders in the cycling scene. The 33-year-old is a multiple-time cross-country, XC-marathon, road and cyclocross national champion, and the country’s only full-time professional mountain biker. As a privateer racer without the support of a full factory team, he pushes himself as hard as he can both on and off the bike to keep his sponsors happy and reach podiums around the world.

Surprising no one, Ingvar came out in front at Iceland's biggest cycling event, the 2022 Blue Lagoon Challenge. Photo: Blue Lagoon Resort

What are you up to at the moment?

Balancing life between being a dad and a pro rider, and trying to get some sleep!

What do you think you're best known for?

Cross-country racing, both locally and internationally.

What's a typical day like for you?

Taking care of my family and riding my bike is what 99 per cent of my days consist of!

Describe your ideal day...

Winning a huge race in the morning and spending the rest of the day celebrating with my family and friends.

Where do you call home and what’s the riding like?

Reykjavík, Iceland, and the riding is cold!

Last time you were stoked?

Recently! I was the first person to finish a major championship race in the Elite category for Iceland at the European Champs.

First riding memory?

Crashing hard on a home-built BMX ramp – blood everywhere!

First bike?

One of Trek’s cheaper BMXs. It was the perfect starting point.

Who are your heroes?

Greg Minnaar and Sam Hill, because I was riding DH when I started.

What gets you excited to ride?

Good weather!

Who’s your favourite person to go riding with?

My mate Hörður.

Favourite bike component?

The original SRAM XX1 rear derailleur. While outdated now, it was mind-blowing at the time [because it introduced wide-range 1x shifting].

What are are your hobbies outside of MTB?

Photography is my main interest.

If you could only ever ride one location it would be…


Biggest ride this year?

Stage 3 of the Belgian Mountainbike Challenge (BeMC). I loved the short climbs and fast downhills.

Worst crash?

I was hit by a motorcycle in 2015 and almost died from head trauma and internal bleeding.

Scariest thing you’ve done on a bike?

When I reached over 100kmh going down a hill in Tenerife and had to either steer into traffic or ride straight off a cliff.

What’s one thing no one knows about you?

I once wanted to become an architect.

What simple things make you happy?

Pizza, a warm shower and the cold side of the pillow.

Biggest ride of your life?

That’s a tough one, but I’ll go for the Unbound Gravel [aka Dirty Kanza] 200-mile race in 2019. The temperature reached over 40°C and I was closer to dropping from severe dehydration and sheer exhaustion than I’ve ever been before.

Biggest weakness?


Treasured possession?

My camera. It’s a very niche one and still in mint condition!

What music are you currently listening to?

Shadows by Cannons has been on repeat for a while now.

Favourite album of all time?

Sehnsucht by Rammstein.

Favourite item of clothing?

My national champion’s jerseys, of course!

Three things you'd want on a desert island?

A bike, multi-tool and floor pump.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Start riding a bike now, not in three years’ time!

If you weren't a pro rider, what would you be?

A programmer, a photographer or a cycling coach.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

"Don't be afraid to feel proud of yourself."


This is an expanded version of an article originally published in MBUK 414