"Tyler asked me to say a few words about my good buddy Ben Cruz and it took me a few goes to get that rolling.
Why am I so stumped on this one, why would someone that I've spent almost half of my life with put me in a position that leaves me speechless or at a loss for words?
Looking back at the kid that jumped my fence to ride my pump track years ago. I said "What the f*ck! Who are you? You can’t be here, you can’t just ride this track…" Ben said "WHY?" With a look that made the difference.
The kid came with a chip, that's what I felt the first time I met Ben. After so many years I still have trouble explaining what Ben and the chip is. A chip, something that makes you push in a different way. A chip, something that makes you do things that you would not really do without it. The chip comes from a place that people rarely share. The chip is what has shaped Ben.
He has become a mentor to my son, and energy to my family, my friends and I.
When I think of Ben, I think of myself, never to think that this was his intention but things that he does seem to leave you unbalanced with self-position. Some of the best times in my life have been with him, what's crazy is that those best times came to us in places when we had the worst things happing. Like I said it's all riddles.
So, you asked me to intro him, I can’t. Ben's not a page, he is a book."
- Mark Weir Who is Ben Cruz?
I'm a 25-year-old mountain biker with a trail building addiction and too many hobbies. Where are you from and where do you live?
I was born and raised in Novato, California right down the road from Mark weir. I have floated all over rural, Northern California and now call Portola, California home. Who do you ride for?
Whyte Bikes USA, WTB, One Industries, SixSixOne, CamelBak, White industries, SRAM, FiveTen, Shred Optics, and Unattended Coolers Inc. Where are you happiest?
On those rad days when the trout are biting and you're hooking into more fish then you can keep, and you still keep throwing your line out. Those are the happiest days of them all. What’s been your favourite race/contest venue?
The event in the Sierra foothills, formally known as The Dirty Sanchez. Now called the TDS for political correctness. It's all on site racing, multiple days, and wicked nasty trails. It's all built by the landowner and madman Ron Sanchez. The 4x4 shuttles and oakie ass after party add to the radness and make it a damn good time. Where are your favourite trails?
Still to this day, my favorite place to ride is the mountains and trails surrounding Sospel in the south of France. What are your strengths?
Long days on the bike. The longer and harder the ride, the better. What are your weaknesses?
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I love that stuff. What’s been your worst crash over the years?
At the 2011 Transprovence, I got catapulted pretty bad at about 35mph breaking my foot and pulling a bunch of muscle tissue off the bone. That wasn't the bad part. They (Ash that f*cker, but I love him
) sent me to Nice with a cell phone with no charger, a wallet with no money, one Shimano shoe and the kit I'd been in for 3 days... Then they left me there for 3 days. It was a horrible time while it was going on but looking back it's one of my most memorable experiences of my traveling career. What’s been your luckiest escape?
I've been stalked by Sasquatch. I got the pics of the prints to prove it and still have the piss stained jeans. I know what I saw. There are many Mendocino and Humboldt folks that would never go to the valley I hunted in that day and I am now one of them that has no desire to go back. It's a night that I'll never forget. If anyone wants to hear the story I'll tell 'em, but this isn't the time or place. Let's just say ken block would be impressed with my driving that night. Which bike from over the years, conjures up the best memories?
My Jekyll MX. That bike was so bulletproof. I took it all over the world and never once did it leave me stranded. What bikes are you riding right now?
Just recently signed with Whyte Bikes USA. I'm riding on the G-160 works and the T-130c. Really pumped on the new partnership and the awesome things the future has to offer. Who’s your favourite rider?
My favorite rider to watch ride is Jerome Clementz. He has so much skill on his bike and can get down a mountain only touching on half the rocks and roots of a normal rider. My favorite memory of him was when he finished a stage after falling and snapping the buttons off of his shorts. He took them off not knowing that his chamois had ripped wide open as well and finished the stage with his junk out, full Monty flappin' in the wind. That shows the dedication of one of the world's fastest. Who or what inspires you?
Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler have had me under their wings for years. They have given me the world and still to this day accomplish things on their bikes that average humans wouldn't even attempt. They keep that fire lit under my ass to do whatever I can to not be beaten by the "old guys
". What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?
Hunting, fishing, RC cars, motor biking, hiking, digging trail, chopping wood, 4x4s, attempting to train my dogs and fishing. Oh did I mention fishing? What are you listening to right now?
At this second, I'm layin in a bungalow in Mexico and the bar next door is cranking the Monkeys at a very aggressive level. What’s your favourite movie/ TV show?
I don't have cable at home so I don't watch much tv. My favorite movie is "The Outlaw Josey Wales
" with Clint Eastwood at his finest spitting dip on dogs and shooting anyone in his path. It's a real classic. What’s your favourite non-bike website?
I'm slightly addicted to amazon prime, but on the daily I always check enduro21.com
for Moto updates and videos. What’s your favourite motto or saying?
Water doesn't break down rocks to sand because it is strong, but because it is persistent. What makes you happy?
Life. I try to never take days for granted. My amazing fiancé Rachel, my 2 dogs Luna and Hank, and my friends and family are just a few of the things that make me happy every day. Also landing big fish, the loud ding of lead striking steel and a properly built berm are a few things that stoke me out. If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?
I'd be floating around NorCal somewhere, motor biking, riding and working odd jobs. I have always loved Mendocino county so ideally I'd be up there hanging out in the big trees. If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make?
I'd like to see more blind Enduro Racing. Nowadays it seems like a lot of races are full multi-day practice fests and that's not what I'm about. On site, reading terrain, and getting out alive are the things it was about in the beginning and I'd like to bring it back to that. When you hang up your racing / riding shoes, how do you want to be remembered?
I'd just like to be the guy that was always there having fun making people smile. If I can leave a good impression on the majority of people then it ain't too shabby. But if you sucked and I let you know it, I hope you remember me as the guy that made you change your ways. What does the future hold for Ben Cruz?
Long climbs, big descents, cold beer, and tacos. Lots of tacos.
: @bencruz-ridelife / @whytebikesUSA