"We're very proud of all that Caleb has accomplished. He's not only a great smile to have come through the door but he's also a serious sender and we're happy to call him a part of the Chromag family." - Chromag Bikes
Who is Caleb Holonko? I'm a 19-year-old Canadian kid that grew up building schoolyard jumps, playing hockey and getting into trouble, and nothing has changed. I'm on the ice about five times a week playing for the local Junior B hockey team, riding every day, teaching kids how to get down on old school Shore, workin' the odd cashie, assistant coaching a Midget AAA Hockey team, and going to University part time - I'm just a little busy.
Where are you from and where do you live? I'm from North Vancouver, BC and I am living on "The Shore" with my family, minutes away from the trails.
Who do you ride for? I ride for fun, and also Kona Bikes and Chromag Bikes.
Where are you happiest? For me - I'm the happiest when I'm out in the woods, no matter if I'm stackin' dirt or slappin' loamers. The outdoors are my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have a hard time taking a day off the bike, it's just the sh*t!
What’s been your favourite contest venue? I made it down to the Colorado Freeride Festival this year and it was great. I really got to feel out a real Slopestyle contest and surprised myself with how I rode and progressed throughout the week. It's just a big jam session leading up to the event which really helped boost confidence to overcome some nerves/injury. All in all, it was a great trip with lots of lessons learned, I'm stoked for more contests in the future.
Where are your favourite trails? Lots on Cypress, Fromme, and Seymour, they are all just minutes from my house. Narrowing it down I think is impossible. Just make it steep! Riding on the Island is sick as well.
What are your strengths? Shredding for the boys and having a good time, all the time!
What are your weaknesses? I frequently get way too many projects on the go at once with no time and energy to do it all. It's a shame I have to put so much effort into work when I really just want to be riding my bike with all my friends.
What’s been your worst crash over the years? There's been many, but last spring I overshot a backflip on a decent sized jump and my front tire blew off the bead when I landed, rim dug into the ground and smoked the next lip OR when I missed the pop on a front flip. Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with any major injuries and setbacks yet, knock on wood.
What’s been your luckiest escape? I've caught myself with loose stem bolts a few times and nearly have been hit by countless cars but dodging bears on A-Line this spring almost made me have a heart attack!
For as bad as this looks, things ended better than expected.
Which bike from over the years, conjures up the best memories? For sure my first ever dirt jump bike, the clapped out custom 2008 Norco 125 I got shipped second or third hand to myself when I turned 14. Looking back on how janky it was built and how much I loved riding it just brings up the good feelings. Taking that thing on the SkyTrain all over the Fraser Valley taught me so many lessons and bus routes.
What bikes are you riding right now? Currently riding a Kona Shonky AL as a hardtail and Kona Process 167 for everything else, literally everything. Both are Spec'd up with all the fine goods from Chromag.
Who’s your favourite rider? Cam McCaul was a popular one amongst my friends and I when we were first introduced to the sport. I would religiously watch the NWD collection and his riding, humour and vibe always got me amped to go build and ride at the school. Jamie Goldman is a boss aswell.
Who or what inspires you? All my friends inspire me every time we ride, watching them progress, get faster and push comfort zones just ignites something in me. There's nothing more fun to me than just simply riding, there's always something you can work on. Going bigger, faster and just pushing myself every ride and doing it for the right reasons makes it all worth it.
What do you enjoy doing away from bikes? Working on my '94 Toyota Pickup, hot tubs, fishing, skateboarding, cliff jumping, hiking, building etc... Being active and tinkering are great pastimes, I hate being stagnant.
What are you listening to right now? Pieces of a Man by Gil Scott-Heron, but it's usually a toss-up of gangster rap and classic rock / metal. My Mom is in the music business so I've always had an appreciation for it.
What’s your favourite movie / TV show? The Warriors and / or Pulp Fiction and obviously Trailer Park Boys.
If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing? Pro? Not me, I think without bikes I'd have pursued hockey more seriously in high school, or something. It's hard to see myself without a bike.
If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make? More affordability, it's slowly starting to happen but mountain bikers are cheep, for the most part. There are too many people opting out of the sport because of finances.
When you hang up your riding shoes, how do you want to be remembered? Just a Shore guy that gave it his all and did it out of pure love and hard work. There are too many people doing it for the wrong reasons nowadays.
What does the future hold for Caleb Holonko? The dream would be to travel and shred! Honestly, I couldn't tell you what the future holds, I'm just keeping all the doors open and cruisin', gettin' through this.
Photos by Adison MacDonald, Max Berkowitz, Kaz Yamamura and Nick Tingren.