Team: Dirt Corps
Sponsors: Troy Lee Designs, Dirt Corps, Trek, Greggs Cycles, Fox Racing Shox, Deity, Smith Optics, FiveTen, SixSixOne, Twenty6, SnoRidge CrossFit
- 150 lbs
- Whangarei, New Zealand
- Snoqualmie WA
After moving to the PNW, some friends introduced me to Freeride mountain biking in the Whistler Bike Park back when it was just getting started in 2000. That got me into Freeride. A few years later (’04) some buddies of mine suggested I try DH racing at the Beacon race in Spokane WA back when it was in WIM series. Racing just clicked with me; I love the emphasis on progression, bike setup, fitness and of course the whole community aspect! Been going at it ever since!
How old were you when you started riding?
I started riding as a kid, during the 80’s, growing up in Northland, New Zealand. My parents got me a BMX that I would ride everywhere, skidding, jumping, even doing a few BMX races. It was also my newspaper delivery ride, which with 50+ pounds of the Saturday newspaper hanging over the handlebars, probably helped me learn good bike handling. But then I got hit by a car doing my paper route, and when my knee finally healed, my mangled BMX was replaced by a boring 10 speed… My passion for riding kind of died and mountain biking didn’t really exist or interest me as much as surfing, sailing, girls and cars. It wasn’t until I moved to the states in 1998 that I got another bike, and then 2001 when I was introduced into the modern era of gravity-fueled riding.
Where did you grow up?
Whangarei New Zealand from birth until 11, and then Auckland for the next 10 years. I moved to London, England at 21.To get some overseas experience and in 2001 moved to Snoqualmie, WA near Seattle with my wife Chelley and 2 awesome kids Sam & Jess.
How did you first get introduced to TLD and/or Troy?
Not sure how or when, just seems like all the best pros in DH, BMX, and moto had sweet lids and kits with Troy’s signature style all over them! Everyone wants to look like the pros right? It turns out TLD gear backs up that style with performance and function too! When Ryan Finnegan with Gregg’s Cycles and Shannon Churchill at Troy Lee presented the opportunity for the Dirt Corps to run TLD, we jumped all over it, as we have always had the utmost respect for the brand and the products.
How long have you been riding for TLD?
Dirt Corps and myself started with TLD in 2010 and are going into our 3rd year as a TLD team.
Which TLD products are you using?
Pretty much all the bicycle and moto gear I can get my hands on, including casual and baggage. Best product hands down though is the incredible D3 Composite helmet. I’ve worn many full face lids over the years, but none have fit me as well, provided 100% confidence in protection, or looked as good as my D3!
Do any athletes/riders influence or inspire your style?
Despite having only been on the scene a few years, without a doubt Aaron Gwin has made a big impression on myself and those I ride with. Gwin’s level of skill is only matched by that of his professionalism towards the sport.
I’m also a huge admirer of the “Godfather” of Freeride , Mr Wade Simmons, for what he has done to evolve the sport through progressive riding, building, and product development.
Then there’s local legend Bart McDaniel who at the age of 44, showed all the local pros (and some traveling world cup DHers) that age in our sport should never be an excuse for anything less than excellence, by winning the NW Cup series (then Fluidride Cup) as a pro in 2008.
What do you like to do when you're not riding?
Off the bike, I love digging trails and being with my wife and 2 kids. We get out and camp, ride our bikes, hit the slopes in the winter. I still Whitewater Kayak when I find time, and I enjoy hanging out with friends, doing CrossFit, shooting pics and video… the list goes on. Most of all I just try to fill every day with fun and focus on the things that matter most.
What bands/music are you into?
Definitely a wide range of rock, alternative, grew up with grunge and classic hip-hop. Love new music and anything you can dance too or sing along with. Only one thing I can’t listen too and that’s Country.
List 3 goals you have for the upcoming season:
1. Ride/race places I’ve never been (BC Cups, Angel Fire, Sedona).
2. Be competitive as a pro in regional events. To me this means consistent top 50% of the field and ideally a podium.
3. This one’s a stretch, but I would love to podium as a Master in the DH World Champs in Pietermaritzburg S. Africa!
List a few highlights of your career:
1. Three times CAT 1 Men’s 30-39 NW Cup series champion.
2. Silver medalist at US Nationals in DH 2009.
3. 3rd in A-Line AirDH as a Master in 2009.
What’s your favorite race/event and why?
Crankworx Whistler. Open to both pros and amateurs of all ages, It covers a full range of gravity disciplines, it attracts the best talent from around the world, and it celebrates just about everything we love about mountain biking. Being only a 4hr drive from home, it gives a whole lot of friends an opportunity to get an extended amount of play together in the worlds best riding venue once a year.
What's your idea of an epic day riding?
Racing the Whole Enchilada Enduro in Moab is the most epic thing I’ve done lately. This event is a close 2nd for my favorite event. I hope to get back in 2013 and also enter more of this style of ‘epic’ events.
What's the best thing about being a Mountain Bike athlete?
Always progressing. Whether through trail building, racing, training, improving bike performance, and showing other people through images or words what we do. I’m just 100% stoked to ride at all times! Even better though is all the great people who you meet and the friends you’ll find who love doing it too!
As a team manager I’m also keenly interested in the development of other riders, in particular the Jnr Dirt Corps (JDC). I’ve always felt like a kid at heart, and getting to experience and guide these young rippers is a total blast. Whether it’s working on their racing lines in practice, or taking a run down Crabapple Hits together, having rad kids like them as part a part of my life makes it that much more fun!
If you weren't a Mountain Bike athlete, how would you want to spend your time?
Not sure, if I lived back in NZ it would be surfing, kiteboarding, photography, kayaking, drinking beer… All this stuff is better when you include biking though, so let’s hope that not an either or situation for a long time to come!
If you were running things, what would you change about the industry?
Couple of things. The cost of the bikes and gear is a concern, there needs to be more affordable options for people getting started, particularly for younger riders and women. On the racing side of things, I’m hoping we see more trails and venues to have world class Enduro events, more like those in Europe, with mega descents and lots of up-lifts to ensure maximum vert. Oh, and I’d like the World Cup DH series to include more races and have a longer season, ideally with some events in the southern hemisphere (other than SA).
Who would you like to thank?
Thanks to my wife and kids for not complaining that I’m gone riding a lot and turning all our family vacations into mountain bike related activities. Thanks to my Dirt Corps team mates for their support and encouragement, whether it’s dragging my butt out to ride on a cold winter morning, or helping grow our great group of friends. And last but not least, thanks to all the trail builders. The unsung heroes of mountain biking. With out their creativity, passion, and perseverance, we’d still be riding fire roads and dropping off Costco buildings.
Any words of wisdom?
Do what you love, and love what you do!