Interview: Claudio Caluori

Apr 8, 2015
by Fraktiv  
 
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INTERVIEW: CLAUDIO CALUORI - GSTAAD-SCOTT TEAM MANAGER



Claudio Caluori is a man of many hats Team Director for Scott Gstaad Red Bull Crashed Ice Competitor Don t know what that is Think 4x racing. On ice skates and Pump Track and Bike Park designer. Fort William 2014.

Claudio Caluori is a man of many talents. Born in Switzerland in the heart of the Alps, Claudio discovered his passion for mountain biking at a young age and went on to ride competitively from the late 1990s, with an extensive race history, he is now regularly back at the start hut doing his infamous Red Bull Bike/ GoPro course previews.

While being a team manager for Gstaad-Scott, Claudio is setting the groundwork for future generations of cyclists by building pumptracks, pumpparks and downhill trails all over the world under his Velosolutions company. Before the season kicks off at Lourdes this weekend, where Claudio will not just be doing his usual course preview but also joining Rob Warner in the commentary box, in this exclusive interview, we talk to Claudio about biking and his various spinning plates.




The first Velosolutions asphalt pump track in Asia

People tend to know you for your Red Bull course previews and your role as team manager for Gstaad-Scott, but where did mountain biking begin for you?

It began when I was playing hockey as a kid. My parents asked me if I’d be ok riding my bike to the hockey stadium so they wouldn’t have to drive me there five times a week. That’s when they bought me my first mountain bike. I used it for training in summer, but soon it became a bigger passion than hockey. I was racing XC (and even CX, road and track) but then found a BMX track during a XC ride, which pretty much turned my life around.

How do you juggle doing so many things? Do you have a team of helpers?

I’m building up a team, as everything is growing, and there is no chance anymore to do everything by myself. I’m learning to give things to others and let them do their job without constantly looking over their shoulders. The good thing is that there are actually people who love to do things that I hate, so I can leave it up to them. With Cyril Lagneau, I found a passionate person as a sports director for Gstaad-Scott, and Ben Vergnaud is taking more and more tasks as head mechanic. Two of my best friends quit their well paid jobs to join me at Velosolutions. I guess I can’t delegate my POV runs at the World Cup and at Red Bull Crashed Ice, they are too much fun, and also, I still want to be able to sit in the digger for Velosolutions.

You’re a man of many talents - from team manager, trail designer and builder, to ice-skater - if you had to do only one, which one would it be and why?

It would have to be the Velosolutions pumptracks. I love all of my jobs, but there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing the children’s smiles during their first laps on a pumptrack we just built.



What’s been your favourite track of the World Cup series? Either current or in the past?

Mont Saint Anne. Don’t know why, this place just rules. The funny thing is that the year I thought the track sucked was when I placed on the podium!

Do you prefer tracks with varied featured or straight-up steep and fast downhill tracks?

I like them all, I just don’t like them too tight, where you have to be careful not to clip your handlebars on trees or rocks.

Do you think racing downhill has changed now compared to when you started? If so, how?

Sure, the level has gone up incredibly, but on the other hand, the spirit remains the same, which is good! There will always be the guys who take it over-serious, and there will always be the guys who do it for the fun to smoke them.



What’s been your most scariest moment on a bike?

You know, those POV runs get more and more scary, having to pin it on a World Cup track without practice, with new tracks every year, and with no time to ride my DH bike at home... Oh, it’s going to be fun!

What are you most looking forward to this season?

As always, Mont-Sainte-Anne. It’s not only an awesome track. It’s awesome people, an awesome place all around!

What’s your favourite Scott bike?

If I had more time to ride it, then it would certainly be the Gambler, but since I have to squeeze in some rides on a pumptrack with my Voltage. Yesterday, I just did a ride at my new home with a Spark 900 that Ben built up for me, ohhh it was good!

Course Preview

Where’s your favourite place to ride?

There’s no place like home. I'm lucky to live in Switzerland with places like Gstaad, Lenzerheide all close by. I just moved to my grandparents farm, where I can do the most fun rides right from my doorstep. I'm loving it but at the moment I'm never home enough to enjoy it as much as I would like to.

How do you get the most out of your riders?

By letting them do their thing and providing what they need. There’s not much more I can do.

What is it that you look out for when choosing a team?

I want to have riders that are able to show how much fun they have with their job. They need to pass on their passion to the fans.

The Gstaad-Scott Team is a lot leaner this year, can you explain why you moved to just two riders?

We tried for years to develop top riders and juniors at the same time. But without having top results on the team, it is hard to pull the juniors to the top level. This is why we decided to focus on two top riders for now. We will add juniors and female riders again when we have the level that we want to have. In addition to that, it’s also a question of budget. But with top results, the budget should be increasing.

Course Preview. Photo Sven Martin.

With a lot of other teams having an increasing amount of very young riders featured, how do you see the Gstaad-Scott Team developing in the coming years? Have you thought about creating a feeder-team?

We did have a feeder team in 2013. But we really want to start fresh this year by providing top support to Brendan and Neko, and then take it step by step to where we can grow our own top riders.

What was your toughest moment during last year’s season as a manager?

Having to let go Emilie, Noel and Patrick, who were not only good riders, but also friends, was definitely the toughest bit. But I was really happy when I saw that they all found good places on other teams.

How did Velosolutions develop, and what is your ambition for it?

Our ambition is to provide a pumptrack to every kid. World wide.

Velosolutions Pump Park

What’s been your favourite pumptrack build to date and why?

This is clearly the one we built in Thailand last December. What an experience! There was no hecticness, just smiles, good food and a 30 day ongoing party. The result of it is our flagship pumptrack and it’s pretty much being used 24/7.

With the Swiss authorities opening up the mountains to biking, how do you see Switzerland developing as a destination, either for leisure or the venue for more World Cup races?

Yes, we have a couple of very diligent people in Switzerland, who push the rules in the right direction, so that the sport of mountain biking can develop in all of its facets. We’re lucky to have enough mountains to satisfy riders who seek world cup action as well as remote back country riding. Gstaad and Graubünden are on track to take mountain biking to the next level, and others are going to follow.

If you could build a pumptrack anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

New York City would be a dream. Oh, wait: I just drew that one! We’re so excited that we can almost not sleep any more because of it. But you know what, it doesn't matter where: Every town needs at least one pump track. World Wide!

Some haven t showered for a few days and arriving in the blistering heat meant for some not so traditional bathing techniques.

Follow the Claudio and the Gstaad-Scott team via:
www.gstaad-scott.com and www.velosolution.ch


MENTIONS: @claudiocaluori @velosolutions @SCOTT-Sports

Must Read This Week

73 Comments

  • + 157
 Claudio on Commentary?? It's like a dream come true
  • - 18
flag dirtnapped (Apr 8, 2015 at 20:05) (Below Threshold)
 How awesome would it be to get Tippie in the box with him.
  • + 110
 I'm not so sure about Tippie in the box for World Cups; I think he's more at home on Heckler's Rock.
  • - 55
flag Mcfc1987 (Apr 9, 2015 at 4:42) (Below Threshold)
 Tippie is a moron and only appeals to America
  • + 34
 ....hereee we go. First off ya british piece of turd, tippie is canadian, and secondly hes a pioneer of our sport whether you like it or not.
  • - 49
flag Mcfc1987 (Apr 9, 2015 at 5:37) (Below Threshold)
 Canada/America, same thing

Sarcasm aside, so what if he's a pioneer, doesn't make his shit jokes funny or his personality entertaining for more than 10 seconds
  • + 14
 @mcfc1987

you know what. i was like you too. used to see him in Whistler a bit, thought he was a flog.
(if you look back in some of my old pictures, you'll see I used to pay out on him).
eventually realised what an icon he was/is/forever will be. i spoke to him a few times, my opinion took a 180* turn.
i also realised that he is hard as f*ck. anyone that can go pick out a wall of rocks and just hit it like he does is deserving of respect.

that is just the way tippie rolls bro.
dw, you'll see it one day
  • - 8
flag Mcfc1987 (Apr 9, 2015 at 5:49) (Below Threshold)
 @hodges
Think you misunderstand me, I like everything he does other than present things, not disputing what he has done or can do on a bike
  • + 25
 @Mcfc1987

With respect, I made the same point as you then, only using very different language. I too like everything he does other than present things; which I feel, is not my proverbial cup of tea. However, I politely suggest your choice of the words "Tippie is a moron and only appeals to America" makes it both:

a) likely people will not be able to understand the meaning you wished to convey and
b) rather inevitable that people will join you in a slanging match.
  • + 3
 so much wisdom in this post!

also: Mont-Saint-Anne f*ck YEAH!
  • + 119
 I read all the answers in Claudio's voice. how could you not?
  • + 32
 WOUHOUUU HIIIIII WAZAAA
  • + 67
 "There will always be the guys who take it over-serious, and there will always be the guys who do it for the fun to smoke them."
  • + 131
 Gee I wonder who he's talking about?
  • + 78
 He doesn't give a Rat's ass.
  • + 21
 Long hair, don't care.
  • + 11
 I was gonna comment the same thing, best attitude to have, explains why he with sticks with brendog
  • + 50
 Really wish Claudio's course previews were subtitled so I could see what everyone's raving about it! (I'm deaf)
  • + 3
 I wonder if there's a tool online or in a dedicated app that could do subtitling in video based on voice recognition...? I thought I saw something like that from Google once, but I couldn't find it when I went looking for it recently.

It would be pretty awesome if someone had the tools to subtitle his runs. I have my hearing, but I always watch TV with subtitles. For some reason, I often have trouble with understanding speech.
  • + 3
 YouTube has a feature like this, however it doesn't work very well at the moment. That shouldn't be a surprise though, quite a tall task!
  • + 19
 Wooohoooo eeee ahhhhh waazzzahhh holy shit that was close ahhhh eeee oooooooo
  • + 4
 One thing the internet is not lacking is tools!
  • + 24
 It's always amazing to see the people that our sport draws– Claudio is a perfect example of that. Someone who loves their play so much that it becomes their work, and eventually they end up being an ambassador for mountain biking in general. Congrats, and thank you for all you do Claudio! Can't wait for this weekend!
  • + 5
 That's the key to success. Find what keeps you up at night and find a way to make a living doing it. Apparently farming is working out in my favour.
  • + 10
 I'm not sure I could find a way to make a living masturbating...?
  • + 20
 Hot damn, can't wait for more track previews. Every town needs a pump track world wide. Fuck yes!
  • + 17
 Checking Pinkbike every hour, waiting hard for his course preview.
  • + 9
 That sounds so dodgy, I love his previews as much as the next man but not to arousal levels
  • + 5
 You got me. I check Pinkbike every hour in any case
  • + 5
 Claudio really is the epitome of what is so great about our sport. Also thanks Pinkbike for the great article it would be great to see what some of the other team managers have to say about their teams.
  • + 4
 Claudio is definitely an inspiration for me right now, mad respect for the man. As I'm about to wrap up my degree here and about to hit the job market, stories like his remind me not to settle for something that doesn't drive me to do better everyday, something that my heart doesn't really want to do. Reading up on where his road has taken him so far by sticking to what you love and doing your job well - inspiring stuff, really. Best of luck to Gstaad Scott for the upcoming season and beyond!
  • + 4
 You forgot the most obvious question: "Claudio, did you ever think a couple of course preview videos would somehow result in you becoming the unofficial voice of UCI DH Tracks to THE WORLD?"

Love this guy. What a tremendous personality to have involved in racing and cycling.


And those pump tracks…. wow
  • + 2
 i'm glad to hear that

What are you most looking forward to this season?
As always, Mont-Sainte-Anne. It’s not only an awesome track. It’s awesome people, an awesome place all around!


too bad that you have to leave mont ste-anne right after it finish
  • + 1
 We Fucking Rock
  • + 2
 Sorry a worldcup team is there for winning and marketing purpose. Brendan sells Gamblers to all other freeracers but he is never on the podium. Neko is a promissing talent so let´s see were the team is after the season.
Claudio is an ambassador for bike sport. What he´s doing with the pumptracks is just great!
  • + 6
 I'm sure Scott would love to see a podium out of Brendog, but you've got to remember, we're living in an age of "impressions." I'm willing to wager Brendan gets more viewers' eyes on him during Rampage than the whole world cup season combined. Add in the YouTube edits & other freeride appearances like Hardline, and you've got an ambassador for Scott's big bikes on all fronts.
It would be interesting to see a marketing type do an analysis of the exposure value that riders bring their brands, but even if you just counted YouTube hits, I'm pretty sure Brendan would outrank Neko and most of the rest of the UCI DH top-20 as well.
  • + 1
 yup u r right. They calclatete and nothing is just for a smile it´s biz. That´s want i wanted to mention. "An age of impressions" hav to think about this. cheers
  • + 1
 Bump: Brendog 6th at Lourdes, just ahead of Bryceland & Brosnan.
Looks like Scott's having their cake & eating it too this season.
  • + 4
 Was lucky enough to get to know Claudio at Hafjell last year. He's one amazingly cool person to hang out with I can tell you.
  • + 2
 Wow, had no idea Claudio was behind Velosolutions also! Is it safe to call him a magnate in the biking community / industry?!
  • + 3
 Safer to elevate him to Legend status i'd say.
  • + 3
 Claudio - one of the single best things to happen in the world of DH racing in a long time.
  • + 3
 He is the kind of person who should just get paid for being him.
  • + 1
 Such a great character, I will be pleased if he can work on a pumptrack for my town in France. or at least one close to Paris.
  • + 1
 "Every town needs at least one pump track. World Wide!"
Somebody better be planning on doing a "Claudio for president" T-shirt!
  • + 1
 PLEASE build one pump in Pilsen - Czech Republic ..... i have to go to Zürich every year to enjoy your awesome job !
  • + 1
 That last picture is . . . uhhhh . . . interesting? Reminds me of a scene from Zoolander.
  • + 2
 When i will grow up i wanna be Claudio
  • + 3
 if you want to be like Claudio... never ever grow up, it is so over rated.
  • + 1
 Is he want to build us one in the monotonous village of holmes chapel, cheshire that'd be great
  • + 1
 Pumtracks for WORLD! Dreaming to having at least one real pumptrack im my country! Go Claudio!
  • + 1
 Wow. The finish line celebration there was awesome. Wish we could hear what song he was singing on that run.
  • + 1
 I also wish Claudio all the best. His goals and ideas are awesome and he seems like such a nice dude!
  • + 2
 WHEWWWW! Let the POV's begin!!!
  • + 2
 i want to skate that asphalt pumptrack
  • + 1
 Awesome pump tracks, if i had the land and money , i'd get him to build me one!
  • + 1
 Where in Thailand is the pumptrack? Anyone.
  • + 2
 Claudio is the man!
  • + 0
 Claudio, come back to Thailand and build another pumptrack but this time in Chiang Mai. Love your passion for the sport.
  • + 1
 Claudio is bigger than Scott.
  • + 1
 I hope that cat makes another appearance in the course previews.
  • + 1
 Best non-porn POV videos ever.
  • + 1
 What do you think of Brendawg progression so far?
  • + 2
 Claudio's the man!!!!
  • + 1
 I want that job
  • + 0
 Best non-porn POV videos ever!
  • + 0
 Claudio in the commentary. BEST. SEASON. EVAH.
  • + 0
 you can watch any track preview you want, as long as its ridden by Claudio
  • + 0
 Oh man the World cup this year is going to be awesome than ever!
  • + 0
 Go Claudio!
  • - 1
 Just read this in the voice of Fozzie Bear.
  • - 2
 That was quite possibly one of the greatest finishes in a WC DH race...ever!!
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