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Getting To Know Ben Cruz

Apr 2, 2016
by Tyler Maine  
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"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.

by rachel wolyniec

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.

by rachel wolyniec
It takes a good effort to get up into the snow line.
by rachel wolyniec
But the reward is one long downhill to enjoy.

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.

by rachel wolyniec

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?

Catching fish on the fly rod.
Ben's favorite of his many hobbies is 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 for Moto updates and videos.

Whyte G-160 works
Doing his best imitation of brapping along a trail like he was on his moto.

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.

by rachel wolyniec

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.

Whyte G-160

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.

by rachel wolyniec

MENTIONS: @bencruz-ridelife / @whytebikesUSA / @wilderness-trail-bikes / @one-industries / @sixsixone / @SramMedia / @FiveTen

Must Read This Week


  • 65 3
 More blind Enduro events.. I have to agree with Ben, stop practice days and just give riders their map. "Here is the course. They're your stages, these are you start times, best rider wins"
  • 29 1
 hard to beat a local with that scheme
  • 5 0
 @Trekfueler: You say that like it's a bad thing?
  • 22 2
 @hangdogr: He said best rider wins. With that setup, it's best local wins. Not the same thing.
  • 2 0
 @hangdogr: not a bad thing if your the local. But when your not... Guess your there for the experience. Not the win unless your a pro that shows up the week before to scout
  • 10 0
 not with some creative taping, if a rider is used to the one line every time, sending the race to the left or right of the next tree would wreck their heads.
  • 55 2
 Anyway.... Back to the Sasquatch story?
  • 9 61
flag AZRyder (Apr 2, 2016 at 1:52) (Below Threshold)
 Fo real. I was like, nigga, really!? Damn!
  • 20 7
 @AZRyder: ^Yuppie spotted
  • 9 27
flag Trekfueler (Apr 2, 2016 at 10:08) (Below Threshold)
 @shredjekyll: as a community that enjoys mountain biking we need to stay away from comments like that. I feel as a whole if you try and have the newest of bikes, and components your considered. A yuppie....if you have older bikes and gear your a Joey... I can't keep up! Just ride your bike, and like your moms should say, if you got nothing nice to say! Don't say nothing at all! But ha ha! This is the internet! And Trolls will be trolls!
  • 13 1
 @Trekfueler: Not sure what you're talking about. AZRyder just sounds like an immature clown
  • 4 14
flag Trekfueler (Apr 2, 2016 at 10:44) (Below Threshold)
 @shredjekyll: that's like the pot calling the kettle black. Your comment wasn't to far off his
  • 7 2
 @Trekfueler: Yeah ok Mr.Delusional, mine was a joke (doesn't even make sense) and he is using the n-word for absolutely no reason. All you need to do is look at the upvotes/downvotes.
  • 2 14
flag AZRyder (Apr 2, 2016 at 15:28) (Below Threshold)
 @shredjekyll: How does "yuppy" fit anything I just said? You're a moron.
  • 2 13
flag AZRyder (Apr 2, 2016 at 15:31) (Below Threshold)
 @shredjekyll: Yes, because up votes and down votes on pinkbike actually have importance and are relevant.
  • 4 14
flag AZRyder (Apr 2, 2016 at 15:33) (Below Threshold)
 @shredjekyll: The "N" word? Grow up. It has an A at the end.
  • 1 6
flag Trekfueler (Apr 3, 2016 at 8:39) (Below Threshold)
 @shredjekyll: Mr. Delusional ha ha! That makes me laugh coming from the dude with a meathead profile pic.
  • 1 3
 @Trekfueler: Good one, except once again you're making little sense. I said delusional not egomaniacal.
  • 12 0
 This entire stream of comments should be deleted. its embarrassing
  • 18 2
 I can relate to this guy. I'm a white Amercian male who can afford multiple badass hobbies, but on principle, hate materialism and greed. However it's so integrated into our culture, (certainly biking) there is no escaping a life of hypocrisy. Become a hipster, deny you're a hipster, hate hipsters.
  • 3 0
 I would totally give up a few hobbies for more time to pursue the cheaper ones. Our problem in American culture is that our economy and our job market is based around 8am-5pm, 8hr days, 40hr weeks, with only 2-4 weeks of paid vacation a year. Unpaid time off is usually not good for your career. Sabbaticals are unheard of outside of education and the most progressive companies, and not everyone is a remote-work software developer or programmer. If I was king, I'd force all American companies to allow employee to buy up to a 6 weeks of vacation a year, along with 15 holidays a year that wouldn't necessarily need to be paid holidays. This would allow those of us who prefer (or need) the money to not take any vacation time, and those of who prefer to travel would be able to do so for a month out of the year. Our job market is so based around greed that even the average worker buys into the idea they should get paid for every holiday, for every vacation day, but more and more we're getting fewer holidays and fewer vacation days, and still not getting paid worth a damn. Americans don't need to stop chasing career dreams, but we should at least start enjoying life.
  • 15 1
 This comment probably isn't going to go well, but did anyone else find this funny? "I'm slightly addicted to Amazon Prime," "...People that base life off material possessions."
  • 12 24
flag shredjekyll (Apr 2, 2016 at 9:10) (Below Threshold)
 A lot of his interview is contradictory and downright stupid. Should've kept his opinions to himself.
  • 12 1
 A man's got to eat. I'm sure he just fills his amazon cart with blue Gatorade, Ramen, and crack cocaine.
  • 3 1
 @topherdagopher: Ahh you're probably right! Forgot all about Amazon Pantry! Lolololl
  • 7 3
 Buying things and "basing your life off of material possessions" are not the same thing. Ever checked out Portola, CA? Ain't nothin' there...
  • 6 12
flag shredjekyll (Apr 2, 2016 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 @scvkurt03: Point still stands that talking about material possessions then going onto say you're slightly addicted to Amazon Prime is the definition of ridiculous.
  • 9 0
 @shredjekyll: You're right. I'm sure his bike sponsors send him everything he needs to live on.
  • 7 4
 Could not agree more. People love to hate on "yuppies" who work in tech yet those same people couldn't live without things like their iphones and Amazon Prime. Definitely contradicting.
  • 12 0
 You do realize not all of Amazon prime is shopping right? Dude doesn't have cable. Pretty sure he's streaming stuff off it as well.
  • 7 3
 @krisrayner: haha! All these yuppees are so disconnected from young people they don't know that Amazon Prime means video. Not free 2-day shipping on tie clips.
  • 4 9
flag ninjatarian (Apr 2, 2016 at 12:47) (Below Threshold)
 @sevensixtwo: And how would one view Anazon Primes streaming service? With a computer, a TV, a stereo? All hooked up via a nice expensive internet connection with a router. Yup, no materialism involved there at all.
  • 8 0
 So if I need some new underwear I can't buy it off of Amazon?
  • 1 2
 @ninjatarian: yuppees really stand out.
  • 16 0
 Ride to live. Live to eat tacos. Go get em kid!
  • 10 1
 If you want to talk politics go on yahoo! The reason I come to pink bike is to escape all that bull sh!t !!!!
  • 11 1
 Thunder Bringers! Yuppies in Marin suck extra hard.....
  • 8 1
 Lots of unnecessary hate going on in the comments... I really enjoyed the interview! Seems like a cool dude. Best of luck to him!
  • 8 1
 I met him once in France, when he was riding with Jey Clementz. He seemed just a simple humble guy, very kind and fun.
  • 12 8
 Garbage interview. He seems like an angry dude. "PUNCH OUT YUPPIES" meanwhile he grew up in one of the richest areas in the US riding his bike everyday. His favorite website is Amazon? Favorite riding spot in the South of France. Posts a picture with his assault rifle drinking a beer! Dude look in the mirror you are a F##KING YUPPIE!!
If I was sponsoring an athlete I would be pissed if they were alienating a large percentage of customers.
Now he is sponsored by Whyte yet his favorite bike was his Jekyll?!
Ben Cruz is obviously a very talented rider but he has a lot to learn about being a pro.
  • 6 1
 Exactly my point. In any case, he's a young fellow so I chalk it up to that. Nevertheless, he certainly didn't gain a fan with his comment.
  • 3 1
 He's 25. I'm sure he knew what he was saying. I assume it was a typed interview and he had time to think about his responses. Risky move in any case.
  • 15 12
 The yuppie comment is just stupid. To speak in such generalities is absurd. Mountain bikes at the level he rides are over $7000. Who can throw down that kind of money on a bike or two or three? Sure, there are some younger guys with no attachments that eat Raman over steak so they can afford them. The rest are yuppies. As a brand ambassador this guy just alienated a major market segment for one of his title sponsors. Jackass.
  • 7 4
 Spot-on, he makes it seem like if you can't get your stuff for free or heavily discounted you shouldn't even bother trying.
  • 6 2
 That's not true. I built my first $7k bike while making $12 an hour. One of my good friends has done the same thing. There are smart ways of building a nice bike. Priorities and saving money.
  • 8 6
 His favorite website being Amazon Prime feels like a "yuppie" comment to me
  • 7 1
 @dualsuspensiondave Whats not true? I built my bike for around 5k between the ages of 15 and 17 making $8 an hour. That doesn't mean his yuppie comment isn't still stupid and alienating....
  • 4 2
 @shredjekyll: When the guy above said that it's either Ramen eaters or yuppies that have nice bikes like that. Simply not true. If one is not married with kids, they can buy nice bikes without being a yuppie. Just from having a regular job. With all Cruz's experience in Cali, when he says "yuppies", he's likely talking about the big, big money goons spending money to feel cool and in charge while having a closed mind.
  • 1 0
 @dualsuspensiondave: Can't argue with that. But I think people aren't interpreting Eurojuice's comment the same way. I thought he was being sarcastic when he said "the rest (of people who have expensive bikes) are yuppies". If he is actually saying that everyone who has an expensive bike other than the ramen eaters and yuppies then I completely disagree. @eurojuice is that what you're saying? I make 80k+ a year working HVAC and don't have a family, am I a yuppie?
  • 3 2
 @shredjekyll: yuppie is a derogatory term for young urban professional. Yes, it is possible to scrape and make sacrifices to get the dream bike even making meager wages. I've done that. On the other hand, there are many people like me that started by scraping, but have also worked their asses off to build a strong career, one that affords a lot of cool things like bikes, travel, a good home, a great education for my daughter, and so forth. I'm young, live in an urban area, and I'm a professional. After taking care of all the "adult" stuff in life, I spend all of my disposable income and time on bikes. I know I am not the only one. So, for this guy to speak about people in my demographic in such broad strokes is utterly ridiculous. Moreover, I'm sure his sponsors aren't giving him equipment and travel out of shear "stoke". They're business people, professionals, that see value in supporting him for the mutual good of the sport and their business. So, I just think his comment is naive and misinformed. There are all kinds that ride bikes. Some of them are yuppies and proud I guess.
  • 6 2
 @eurojuice: I think that you're taking his comment out of context. I'm 100% sure that he is not talking about people like you. I've never even heard the term "yuppie" used in that way. Mainly for super rich people that try to buy there way through life without appreciation, and close minded.
  • 10 0
 Everyone needs to understand the Bay Area is really under fire with yuppee / tech money right now. For the last 20 years. Almost everyone is getting pushed out. And a yuppe is not an hvac pro. A yuppe is a vanilla douchebag who has too much money and not enough humility to respect culture they bought their way into.
  • 4 1
 dont know the Bay Area at all but I get the sense that putting a comment out the hating on a part of the demographic in general is risky given his role as an ambassador of the sport. I'm sure he's a great guy and all that. Anytime you see a polarized discussion because of something someone said it seems to bring on the wrong kind of attention to all of those great product names. Not saying he's wrong or right, just a risky move.
  • 6 1
 Keeping in mind that Ben is still relatively young at 25, let's give him a break for now. His experience and opinions will no doubt be rounded out more in his 30's and surely in his 40's. He meant no harm.
  • 3 0
 Sure you're not Canadian Ben? You'd fit right in in my crew with statements like this;

'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.'

'Long days on the bike. the longer and harder the better'.

Trout are always bitten in BC and the rides go for ever if you want 'em to.
  • 6 2
 @pinkbikestaff .. dear pb staff, I've been waiting for DH WC articles to flood in too long already .. i hope you guys understand the pump .. thank you in advance
  • 8 2
 ben carson+ted cruz=ben cruz. you see the confusion
  • 6 1
 He could beat Trump
  • 5 0
 OK now we HAVE to hear the Sasquatch story
  • 2 0
 Seriously, PB, get on this. Maybe hook him up with 'Finding Bigfoot'.
  • 1 0
 Flatlanders are funny! I'm from Mendocino county, lots of bears, pot growers, and fish and game wardens in Ghillie suits.
That said, I also have a kinda strange story of something I saw I cant explain, so?
  • 4 0
 We all have some pretty common non-bike websites.
  • 17 3
  • 25 1
  • 6 4
 Punch out yuppies and send it!
  • 2 0
 So all the names are capitalized other than Ken Block. Conspiracy?
  • 2 0
 Awesome interview. Good luck this year, Ben!
  • 2 0
 Had a cold one yesterday after the Fontana CES. Solid dude!
  • 3 1
 Hahahaha I love this!! Ben Cruz is the man!!! Just send it!!
  • 2 0
 Nice bike
  • 1 0
 That is a fantastic motto.
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