Dustin Adams Interviewed

Feb 3, 2003
by   
Whether it's on the race course, dirt jumps, skate park, BMX track or on a motorcycle, Dustin Adams has some mad skills. In a season that wasn't supposed to happen, Dustin became Canada's National Champion, finished 3rd overall in the NORBA series, garnered a 4th place finish at the Durango World Cup, in addition to winning Velonews' Comeback of the Year and Canadian Cyclist's Reader's Choice Awards. I recently caught up to Canada's future in downhilling and spoke to him about the 2002 season and what's in store for the future. Pinkbike:
When I first met you at the 2001 BC Cup Finals in Rossland, you were adamant that it would be your last race as a professional biker. You were giving it all up to go back to school. What happened to change that?

Dustin:
Well, I actually did hang it up. I mean… I went to Calgary looking for work and I almost got on with Precision Drilling. I was about 30 seconds from signing the forms with them, and without a word of a lie, I got a cell phone call from Giant USA offering me a deal for 2002. So I walked out of Precision Drilling there and thought about it for oh, half a second and figured that would probably be the best way to go. So I fired up my truck, drove back to Kamloops, got myself a coach and trained all winter.

Pinkbike:
Nice

Dustin:
Yeah, if it weren’t for that phone call, I’d probably be a rig pig now.

Pinkbike:
And you wouldn’t be living like a rock star!

Dustin:
Oh, I don’t know about that!

Pinkbike:
2002 was obviously a great year for you, you had some pretty stellar finishes. I think you finished 3rd overall on the NORBA circuit, Pretty impressive…

Dustin:
And 4th at a World Cup event

Pinkbike:
Exactly, and you finished 29th overall in the UCI points, again, that’s pretty impressive stuff, to come out of obscurity like that. In the last couple weeks you’ve received a bunch of awards, starting with the “Reader’s Choice” award from Canadian Cyclist and I think you got the comeback of the year award from Velo News.

Dustin:
Yeah, I was pretty fired up when I heard about that!

Pinkbike:
Absolutely!

Dustin:
Yeah, that was pretty cool

Pinkbike:
So, what would you attribute your success in 2002 to?

Dustin:
Well, I focused pretty much 100% of my energy over the winter into preparing and mental focus and fitness. I really just said to myself I’ve got this huge opportunity with a major US team, I’m not going to blow it! I’m not going to go out and, you know, just not train and not be prepared. So I went out guns-a-blazing and it worked. I mean, I trained really hard over the winter. Like I said, I got a coach and she helped me out a lot with muscle imbalances and what not. I just got in the right frame of mind, compared to when I was pretty bitter, like in 2001 when you first met me. It made a big difference.

Pinkbike:
Definitely, I’ve seen a big change in your outlook over the last year

Dustin:
For sure!

Pinkbike:
That’s awesome! Besides hitting the gym, what sort of stuff are you doing as far as training, fitness and your bike handling?

Dustin:
Well, I bought a motorcycle, actually I’m riding for Yamaha Canada through a local shop here in Kamloops. I started racing Hare Scrambles. It’s basically a cross-country event, so it’s about a 3 hour long endurance event. It’s like going downhill on your mountainbike for 3 hours, except you’ve got a motor and a throttle there to take you as fast as you want to go. The crossover there was a huge advantage for this year. I also did a lot of training and reading about what F1 drivers do to increase their reaction speed, that helped a lot. Skiied a lot, cross country skiing, the basic things you know. Most of all I think I tried to have more fun than I ever had, you know back when I was a junior I was in the right frame of mind, I was all about having fun. Then I got really furious and that’s when I started to get bitter because nothing was happening for me. I tried to go back to when I was a junior, doing really well. You know, every time I was on my bike I would try to have a fun time and I was never really worried about how I was going to do at the race. I was just going to end up where I was going to end up, and if it was a bad run, it was a bad run, if it was a good run it was a good run. I think that was a major difference as well, I would focus on the fun aspect, not the making-money-serious-got-to-make-a-living aspect.

Pinkbike:
That’s a good way to look at it. As for the changes riding for Giant USA, obviously you’ve got a lot better support, how would you compare the two, compared to when you were riding for Rocky Mountain Bicycles 3-4 years back?

Dustin:
It’s far and few between. You can’t compare Canada to the USA, just because of sponsorship, I mean all of the sponsors I had in Canada were great to me, they treated me real well, but if you had to compare them it would be like comparing apples to carrots. It’s a huge difference, the guys in the US, anytime you need anything at all, you just ask and you get it. If you need it to win a race or to be the top racer or at your peak you know anything like that, they’ll help you get whatever. If you need your bike worked on, I’ve got a mechanic there all the time, no questions asked, he just fixes it you know. It’s not like he’s my slave or anything, we get along really well, but I mean there’s no bickering if anything ever has to be done. If I need it it’s there, it’s not as unprepared as Canada and Canadian racing. It’s a big difference. If any riders get a chance to go to one of the larger races in the US, they should definitely take a chance because it’ll open up their eyes to the major differences in racing.

Pinkbike:
Let’s get back to riding a little bit. You and I spent some time riding together at the Kamloops Bike Camp just before the Sun Peaks Nationals in Kamloops last year. It was a very valuable few days for me, was there any words of wisdom you could maybe throw out there? You talked a bit about how important dirt jumping was. When I was following you (well trying to) during the Camp, it seemed as though everything was a transition for you, either take off or landing. Can you give any advice to the young groms wanting to be like Dustin.

Dustin:
Oh the groms, how I don’t want to give advice to the groms! (laughter) Well you know dirt jumping is a huge benefit. One, it makes you a smooth rider, you always want to be as smooth as you can for more than just being fluid and not wasting as much energy when you’re racing, but also it’s a lot cheaper for your mom and dad when they’ve got to buy you parts. Try to pay attention when you’re out riding, you want to be thinking “What’s going to make you better?” Rather than just going out and riding your bike, you want to challenge yourself, try and take yourself to that next level every time instead of just going out for a pedal. Nowadays, kids are out doing a lot of street riding and stuff like that. It helps with balance, trials helps a lot. Basically, you just want to go out and ride your bike, practice every aspect of the sport that you can and try to have the most fun you can at it and before you know it you’ll be a really good bike rider.

Pinkbike:
You’ve talked a little about the mental side of things, what’s going through your mind when you’re preparing for a race run?

Dustin:
Oh geez; just trying not to think too much about it. Of course you are thinking about it, you just don’t want to dwell too much on a section maybe that was giving you trouble or something like that. Keep a positive frame of mind, you want to be relaxed, put 100% into your race run. You don’t want to be thinking about how you’re going to make your next mortgage payment or how you’re going to make that next cell phone payment, or anything like that. Just visualizing how I’m going to beat the competition, sounds kind of cocky, but if you can beat everybody in your mind 9 times out of 10 you’re going to win when it actually comes down to doing it! Try not to do that off the course, or no one else is going to be your friend. You know, being the off-season and all, I haven’t done it for a while I can’t remember what the hell goes on.

Pinkbike:
I understand, no problem. I remember you telling me to concentrate on breathing and everything else would just come together.

Dustin:
Breathing is a major thing when it comes to racing. If you can breath properly, you’ll get yourself into a rhythm right off the bat. Focus on how you’re breathing, how fast you’re breathing, you know. If you can slow your breathing down you’re not getting as fatigued and you’re also focusing because it’s putting you into a rhythm. Every section is turning into a rhythm, next thing you know you’re at the bottom and you’ve been smooth.

Pinkbike:
You’ve recently just come off an injury. You broke your scaphoid , do you want to tell everybody how that happened?

Dustin:
Oh, that damn bone, that’s the second time. I’ve got weak wrists; I’m more than sure it’s going to be the end of me. I’m 22 years old and I’ve got arthritis in them already. What I did, I was just riding along and just happened to put my hand down. I mean, it’s something I’ve got to start practicing because I’m not falling correctly. I’ve got to learn to fall. Every time I fall off my bike I tend to put my hands out in front of me and every time I do that it jars my wrists really bad and it keeps on breaking the bone there.

Pinkbike:
Good thing you don’t fall too often!

Dustin:
I’ve just got to learn how to roll out of a crash instead of putting my hands out and trying to stop myself, that’s the worst thing that keeps happening to me right now!

Pinkbike:
You were saying you had a pretty quick recovery this go around You were back at it in something like 7 weeks, any tricks you’d like to share?

Dustin:
Yeah, 7 weeks, I don’t usually take calcium, which is probably why I have weak bones, stupid me. But I basically just rested lots, tried to focus on it mentally and stayed really positive the whole way through it. It helped a lot, this was a worse break than the last one and usually once you break it once, it doesn’t heal back, but mine healed back a week and a half quicker than last time and it was the same break.

Pinkbike:
Nice, you’ve got to be happy with that!

Dustin:
Definitely!

Pinkbike:
So you’ll be wearing wrist braces now, through one of your sponsors?

Dustin:
Yeah, 661 just hooked me up with some wrist braces. Those guys definitely kick some ass. They’re (the braces) working good for me now, every time I put a hand down, they guard it so, that’s a good thing!

Pinkbike:
For 2003, where can we expect to see you racing?

Dustin:
Well I’m signed on with Giant Bicycles for 2003 and 2004, so you can expect to see me riding Giant bikes at the NORBA events, the North American World Cup events. I’m also going over to Japan for 3 weeks to do 3 races over there along with a bunch of PR work with them. I’ll be in Australia over January doing a couple events with my good friend Jared Graves, one of Australia’s super fast racers. And hopefully the World Championships to represent Canada again. That’s basically the events. Not too many things have changed for sponsors. Still riding Manitou suspension. We’ve changed from 5th Element shocks to the Manitou rears which are basically the same product, they’re just as good, we’re going to try them out and do a lot of R&D work for them. Michelin tires, we’ve gotten rid of Fox clothing and we’re switching to Pearl Izumi which is our major title sponsor so that’s going to be really good, we’re looking forward to creating a good relationship with them.

Pinkbike:
Hopefully you’ll be able to help them expand their lineup into the DH scene.

Dustin:
Yeah, I think they’re really looking for us to help them with that. We’ve been working with a few of the girls there right now trying to design a few new school, cool looking clothes for Downhill and freeriding.

Pinkbike:
Alright, a few quick questions. First Xbox, Playstation or PC?

Dustin:
I’m going go with PS2, they’ve got better driving games

Pinkbike:
I'm with you, I can't get enough of Grand Turismo! Any good books?

Dustin:
Right now I’m reading Zen miracles, because of the wrist injury and it’s been helping me a lot. It’s not really a religion but it’s pretty amazing what these Buddhist monks believe in and what they can do. It’s actually quite fascinating I found. A little while I read Tuesdays With Maurie, a spiritual book for if you’re ever feeling down. And of course there’s the odd nudie mag

Pinkbike:
But you’re just reading them for the articles, right?

Dustin:
Of course, it’s the reading material!

Pinkbike:
What about CD’s? What are you listening to these days?

Dustin:
Right now I’m really digging, Queens of the Stone Age, U2, anything metal – Fear Factory, Metallica, of course - everybody’s favorite, Danzig, and Nelly Furtado.


Pinkbike:
Before we go, anybody you wanted to thank?

Dustin:
Manitou, Giant of course, SRAM, Titec, Hayes Brakes, Giro helmets, Race Face, Michelin, Smith Glasses – those guys are cool, 661 – Eddie Cole – those guys are really cool, onto the moto guys as well, Kamloops Yamaha, Yamaha Canada, 661’s helping us out with gear as well, Michelin – the best dirt bike tires on the market



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