What's been going on lately? I hear you just bought a piece of land?
Just hanging out and enjoying the offseason right now, it's been a really fun one for me this year. And ya, I actually bought the land about 6 months ago. I decided last year that I wanted to build a house on some land with a view. I live in a normal tract home type neighbourhood right now and although I really dig my place, it's hard having such a small yard. I grew up on a bit of land as a kid building jumps and tracks so I'm definitely looking forward to doing some more of that. I do a lot of my road and cross country training in the area where I bought the property as well so it's gonna be cool to do all the loops straight from my house. It'll probably take another 8 months or so before the new place is finished but I'm looking forward to having some more space to enjoy life when I'm home. What are some of the plans for your new home? Any custom features on the house?
Actually the entire house is gonna be one big custom feature ha ha. I pretty much designed the whole house with the help of my architect, it's been a really fun experience. That was the big reason I wanted to build instead of just buy a different house on more land. I found that most houses in the areas I liked were way too big, or the layouts just didn't suit my wants. I also wanted a place with a certain type of view, architectural style, etc. At the end of the day I decided that if I was really going to get exactly what I wanted, I'd have to build it myself. The whole process has been a huge blessing so far. Building this place has been a big step of faith for me in a lot of ways and I really prayed that God would bring about the perfect spot. He's far exceeded my wants and needs with this place and I'm extremely thankful. With the larger amount of yard space, I imagine you must have some ideas involving either a bike or moto. What is the master plan for the yard?
Heck ya, I've got some plans for the yard! The lot is 11 acres but most of it is on a hill with two large house pads near the top. I'm gonna build the house on the main pad but I'd like to do some fun stuff on the other. I got a trials bike (motorcycle) a few months ago - that's been a lot of fun. Those things are pretty quiet and you don't need much space to make a cool course so I'll probably build a little set up on the pad along with a pump track or something. There's also a small bit of elevation on the property with my driveway as the shuttle road, so I think some 30 second-ish DH tracks will have to happen. How's the neighbour situation at the new place compared to your current home? Got any weird neighbour stories?
The neighbours at the new place are a lot further away but so far, the ones I've met have been really cool. My current neighbours are about as different as it gets. I've got Asian families on both sides of me, they're both super cool and quiet but man they flip the switch and like to party once in a while. We're talking huge, shut half the street down and blast music till 2 in the morning parties. Karaoke nights are one of the funnier things you could ever experience. Other than that, there's an elderly couple that lives across the street and the only time you ever see them is when they're outside yelling at each other. And then the next house down is another elderly couple and they're both from Italy. That guy's my homie. When I told him I've raced in Italy and love the place we hit it off straight away. We've got an agreement that he runs security for my house while I'm on the road and I watch his place when he's not home. He also absolutely hates karaoke night I've noticed, ha ha. Overall the neighbourhood is really cool, there's a lot of pro moto guys and action sports athletes that live within a few streets of me, but the neighbours directly surrounding me are definitely a unique blend of personalities. What are the trails like in your area?
The trails are really fun. We don't have much downhill but there's some good options for XC and enduro type riding. We've also got some really cool areas to ride road with very little traffic. I got nailed by a truck a few years back on the road, so ever since, I try to get as far away from people as possible. Have you been getting out on your moto much? What is your favourite place to ride?
Ya I've been riding my moto a ton lately. The guys at KTM hooked me up with a couple of bikes for the year and man those things are so much fun. I really can't put into words how thankful I am for the opportunity to enjoy the sport as much as I do now. I've been riding tracks, desert, trails, whatever. I'd like to do a few GP-offroad style races these next few months. I gotta try my best to be safe but it's great training for downhill and way too fun to pass up. How are your trials skills coming along?
Umm, slowly? Ha ha. Naw, those things are a blast. I have huge respect for the guys that are good on them. We've got a solid crew around here that rides and a few of my buddies are pro level. It's crazy to watch them go up stuff. The balance and technique it takes to ride those things is crazy. Does being on the moto help with racing World Cups at all? If so, in what way?
Ya I think it does for sure, the biggest thing I notice is the fitness benefits along with the ability to read faster speeds. When you get on a downhill bike which is lighter and generally going slower it kinda mellows out your perception of speed and allows you to attack more without feeling so fast. If that makes sense.You've been spending quite a bit of time up in Big Bear at the Snow Summit bike park, how has that been going?
That place has been awesome. We have a lot of downhill riders in Southern California, so having a lift assist mountain is a really cool thing for us. I think the sky is the limit with that place. Hopefully they can continue in a positive direction and with any luck, we'll get some racing back there again. That would be huge. Is it true they have offered to let you build pretty much anything you want?
They've been super accommodating to any ideas I've had so far. I wanted to build and film a video section up there this season but we just kinda ran out of time when the snow fell so hopefully next year. If they decide to go back in the racing direction in the future I'd be stoked to help with the trails however I can. It sounds like they've made some big changes up there lately so I guess only time will tell, but I'm hoping for the best. How did the AG ride day go? Was the stoke level pretty high?
Oh man the ride day was awesome, it definitely exceeded my expectations. The turn out was massive. It was really cool, Specialized and Fox brought their rigs out to demo and tune product. All my sponsors provided a ton of free stuff to give away. It was just a fun day of riding with everyone and I already can't wait to do it again next year. Let's talk a bit about your infamous flat tire / rim run in Leogang. Can you walk us through the details of that run?
That run was definitely an interesting one for me. On one hand, it was a huge bummer to lose all those points on a weekend where I felt like I had a good shot at winning. But on the other, I think that race almost ended up better than if I would've won. It's funny how racing works out like that sometimes. I got the flat about a minute into my run and just decided to keep pushing to the bottom. I figured I wouldn't be the only guy to get a flat tire that day and if I could still get to the finish at a decent pace, I'd have a shot at beating the other riders who'd gotten flats and gain a few extra points towards the overall which I was leading at the time. Turns out I was the only rider to flat or have a major problem that day so I still ended up last, but hey, it's the thought that counts right? Ha ha It was cool how people got stoked on it. I've found that in racing, the only thing you can 100% control is the effort that you put in. If you give it everything you have, then you have to be happy. What else can you do? So, what was the final fate of that wheel? Do you still have it?
That thing actually held up awesome. We were amazed. It had a few small dents and scratches obviously but it somehow held spoke tension and stayed pretty true. Gotta thank DT Swiss and my boy (John) Canepa for the epic wheel build. And yes, we still have it.The World Cup fans have really taken things to a new level these days, with chainsaws, drum sets and crazy costumes. What is the craziest thing you've seen out there? Any weird encounters?
It's hard to remember all the crazy things I've seen fans do over the years, it definitely makes it fun for us. The decibel level they're able to achieve in some of the rock gardens at certain venues are deafening ha ha. The most committed fan I saw this year was in Meribel, France. Think Batman, but like scandalous fish net, thong wearing, mow-hawk, chest painted Batman. And when I say chest painted, he had Sam Hill painted on his chest, ha ha. Watching Sam's face as he walked up the hill towards him at the start of one of our practice runs was priceless. He of course had a side kick in equally impressive apparel. Ask any World Cup guys who raced there this year and they know who I'm talking about. Let's wrap this up with a few random questions:
Favourite bike video of all time?
That's a tough one, there's a ton of good DH movies but the one I remember watching all the time as a kid was a BMX video called "Dead Sailor". Epic! Top three songs you've been listening to?
Changes all the time but the last 3 on my recently listened to list are:
NOFX- Seeing Double At The Triple Rock
Evil Ebenezer- Sunshine
Billy Joel- The Downeaster "Alexah"
Random... I know. Alternate career choice?
Ice cream consumer. One person you would "fan out" on?
Jesus. If you were in a 80's heavy metal band what would the name be?
Rage Bucket And The Blasted Banana. Veggies or meat?
Combo. Coffee or tea?
Coffee. If you had a time machine, when and where would you go?
Nowhere, for now. I'm right where I wanna be. In one word, what's the plan for this year?
Braaap! Any special thanks or shout out's?
There's so many individual people on this list but everyone at Specialized, Troy Lee Designs, Fox Shox, Red Bull, GoPro, Giro shoes, Smith Optics, ODI Grips, HT Pedals, SRAM and Rockwell watches. Also my trainer Todd Schumlick, Rich Houseman, John Tomac, Ryan Hughes, everyone at KTM and the Rockwell training facility. I know I'm forgetting a ton of people but you know who you are and I'm truly thankful for your help and support over the years. And of course a huge thanks to all the fans and video-photo guys out there that watch us race every year. Without them, none of us racers could do this for a living. Thanks!
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