An average human male athlete has a blood volume of approximately 5.29 litres (or 11.9 pints). Mike Hopkins consumes, on average, three to four double-shot espressos each day - that's the equivalent of eight cups of coffee. That's about 77 milligrams of caffeine per 1.5-ounce shot, which puts Hopkins’ caffeine consumption somewhere between 150 and 856mg of caffeine per day.* According to Health Canada, the maximum recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400mg/day. After factoring in the density of blood (about 1060kg/m3, or 1,060,000mg/L x 5.29L or 5,607,400mg of blood in his body) and assuming he drinks a not-unrealistic 462mg of caffeine in a day, Hopkins’ blood/caffeine percentage is somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.008239%. Regardless of my mathematical accuracy, the fact remains - a statistically relevant percentage of Hopkins blood volume is coffee-based, and this knowledge goes a long way in explaining the very essence of Mike Hopkins. The man is literally fueled by caffeine.
‘’It’s Frankowski’s fault!’’ he tells me, ‘’he got me on the coffee-drinking program when we first started shooting together.’’ Derek Frankowski has been instrumental in Hopkins’ career since the beginning; from bagging Mike’s his first published ad photo (for Titec Components) to filming Hopkins in 2010’s seminal Life Cycles. And introducing him to his primary vice – coffee. Over the course of the summer I’ll spend one week living at Hopkins’ place in Rossland and another three days with him at Retallack Lodge. Wherever he roams java is a daily necessity. During my time spent with Hopkins he’ll attempt to convert me into a coffee drinker. For the good of humanity I rebuke these attempts - I’m fairly high strung already.
Hopkins lives in Rossland, British Columbia, a town famous for the LeiRoi gold mine, Olympic gold medalist Nancy Greene, and the IMBA-certified ‘epic’ Seven Summits Trail. Rossland is a small town by any standard. Home to approximately 3,500 people (depending on whether or not it’s ski season), Hopkins is on a first name basis with seemingly everyone in town. This is nice, but not unexpected considering a.) It’s a small town, b.) He was raised there, and c.) He’s just a genuinely friendly and outgoing individual.
Hopkins has been a professional action sport athlete since age 20 when he signed his first deal with Rossignol Skis. Skis you ask? Yep, he was a sponsored skier before he was signed to ride mountain bikes. This may be old news for many of you but it's prescient in any discussion about the man and his riding. His ski background is crucial to his outlook on bikes. Big, aggressive, fast, frenetic, and stylish, all adjectives used to describe his unique style.
Hopkins airing over the loam
Hopkins is a singular talent when it comes to mountain biking but it’s not the only thing that sets him apart from his peers. With daily updates from his Twitter account and Instagrammed behind the scenes photos, a Facebook page, AND the most entertaining rider blog around - mike-hopkins.com** - he may be the most active pro in the social media sphere. He’s well connected to his fans and keeps his laundry list of sponsors updated. Maybe it's the ski background but there aren't many riders who are better at branding. Take note kids.
He’s seen the industry change over the past five years as web edits replaced DVD’s as the primary means to promote oneself. Hopkins, like his contemporaries, Matt Hunter, Thomas Vanderham, and Darren Berrecloth, has made the transition to our new digital era. With the help of David Peacock and Liam Mullany, Hopkins’ self-deprecating humour has made for astoundingly popular web videos (case in point – Loam Factory).
After spending a week with Hopkins I gained a far better understanding of what it takes to ride bikes for a living. The life of a professional freeride mountain biker is not what you’d assume. Sure, Mike rides his bike more than most, but it’s also a life filled with endless amounts of driving, solo stunt building, and countless hours spent on business; email, texts, and phone calls. He's a perfectionist and a workhorse, pushing himself to nail the perfect shot. He's a location scout, a trail engineer, a brand manager, and tireless marketer. The quintessential self starter. To succeed without contest wins or race podiums takes a special breed of athlete. A breed Hopkins exemplifies. He’s the prototypical 21st century action-sport star.
Random Hopkins Facts: • He brings his camera everywhere. It’s a Canon 60D with a 20-105 f.4.5-5.6 lens. • Hopkins is a big fan of motocross racer Justin Barcia . • Hopkins likes listening to audio books on long drives. In his truck he had: ‘’The Motive’’ by John Lescroart, ‘’Dark Harbour’’ by Stuart Woods, ‘’Shoot Him if He Runs,’’ also by Stuart, and finally ‘’The World Without Us’’ by Alan Weisman. • His bike room contains: one fully built Norco Rampage hardtail, a custom Norco slopsetyle bike, a green Knolly Podium missing a fork, a Scott Voltage FR, and a Scott hardtail (frame only, no components). His primary bike, a Norco Aurum, a custom painted lime green/baby blue affair sits locked to the railing on his deck when it’s not being ridden. He has a Norco Sight kicking around there too. He’s also got six full-face helmets, and enough spare parts to supply a bike shop. • His hat collection is even more mind-boggling. Upwards of 14 snap-backs, toques, and flex-fit hats and there are probably more hidden from sight. • Revolution Cycles in Rossland performs all of his maintenance. • He drives a Nissan Frontier XEV6. It had just passed 100,000 miles, has a cracked windshield, and isn’t as beat-looking as you’d expect from being used for shuttling bikes, gear, and crew. • He has Netflix and we watched the documentary Senna while I stayed there. • Shortly after Crankworx, he spent ten days in Bralorne, BC, with Matt Miles, Sherpa's Cinema, and Blake Jorgenson. Get stoked for that media extravaganza. • He visits Alpine Grind coffee shop nearly every day while at home (Rossland's finest, at the corner of Columbia Ave. and the Schofield Highway). • He enjoys Artigiano Coffee (he orders his beans from them). • He has fairly poor posture, probably due to two shoulder dislocations and one separation. • He has a fear of half sunken boats. • He no longer rides for Monster Energy and has yet to announce who his replacement sponsor is…