Darren Berrecloth needs no introduction. In fact, this man is an introduction to mountain biking. I am sure that I am not the only who discovered big, freeride mountain riding thanks to him. But descending down massive lines on a mountain isn't the only thing this extremely talented rider can do. Nowadays, we take slopestyle comps for granted, but the truth is that it's only a little bit more than one decade old. The Claw, amongst a handful of other top riders has created a new discipline, "slopestyle," and thanks to Crankworx, it is booming these days.
Catch up with Darren, who is in his early 30s now, and doesn't even thinking of giving up the field to younger riders. He still has loads of interesting things up his sleeve. Darren, tell us how 2014 has gone for you so far.
This year started out pretty slow with being out all winter from my back injury - 8 months total. So, I spent a ton of time in the gym getting my strength and mobility back. I focused on all-mountain riding and got back on the DJ bike over a month ago and ended up with 8th place at the Les Deux Alpes competition. Have you achieved your main goal for this year or is it still waiting to be fulfilled?
My goal this year is to get on my bike a bunch and have fun. Film projects and other big things will come in the fall. What was the biggest line you rode this year and... the biggest fish you caught?
Biggest line I rode this year was in Peru and the biggest fish I caught this year was a 25 lb / 11.3 kg Lingcod Seems like fishing is a great passion of yours... Where are the roots of you interest in fishing?
Ya, I love fishing, because it's a great way to relax and hang out with friends. I also love the ''eat what you catch'' part. Coming back to mountain biking - there are pretty serious rumours about the sequel to 'Where The Trail Ends'. Can you tell us more about it, please?
Yeah, we are just waiting to get budgets approved from the big guys! Let's go back to the year 2002 - you just made up your mind to leave your BMX days behind and started riding 26 inch wheel bikes. You went to the first Rampage as a totally unknown rider, with no sponsors or even your name on the official list of registered riders... and you finished as 3rd. Those were some of the craziest days of your life, am I right?
Yes, those were insane days for me! It was all so new and fresh and everyone was wondering where the sport was going. We just kept shredding our bikes on whatever we loved and it was awesome that people were so into it and still are. One year later, you were deservingly the winner of the first ever Whistler Summer Gravity Festival's Joyride Slopestyle, beating Eric Porter and Richie Schley. Are those days still fresh in your memory and heart?
Yeah, it was a long time ago but I remember it like yesterday. So what does Crankworx mean to you?
Crankworx is the Super Bowl of the mountain biking world. Its super fun, super rad and always going to be a great show. 11 years later, Crankworx Joyride is going strong and since 2012, it has a stop in a beautiful alpine village, Les Deux Alpes. For the first two editions, there was always something that stopped you from going there. However, this year you finally made it! I think your expectations were high. Did the place and the event meet them all?
Yes, I was always building my course for Bearclaw Invitational in the past and this year I had time to fit French Crankworx in. I thought the event was great. What were the first thoughts and impressions about the village and the whole place of the event?
I love the European alpine villages, the goods, the culture and friendly people, too. L2A slopestyle course has introduced a new obstacle to us all - the Open Loop. Opinions on this feature are divided in half - some riders hate it, others enjoy and pull big tricks on it - on which side are you?
I'm easy... It has its place, but I am good either way. Who you like hanging out with when not riding?
Hometown buds, friends I've made in the industry or simply whoever is around. I am pretty sure that you're stoked with your fellow countryman, Anthony Messere who took the win.
Yes, for sure Anthony killed it. I love watching all the guys ride actually, everyone has such different styles. It can't be easy to compete against so many skilled and younger riders, but it does not stop you from doing it. Where do you find all this motivation to keep going big?
Yes, it is tough to compete against the young guys, but I am not trying to go out and throw crazy tricks to prove myself. I try to just have a good time and do tricks I know I have fun doing. I guess being in place like Les Deux Alpes bike park was extremely tempting to ride at and you definitely had some awesome descents down the local tracks.
Ya, I was loving the tracks there, I'm a big fan of DH racing so I gave it a go. You have been involved into slopestyle comps since literally day one. How did they change over the years? Surely they're bigger and more popular, now, but what is your personal and inside take on it?
I think it's awesome to see how far we have come and even though there have been some growing pains, I think we did it all the right way. Without a doubt, you're looking forward to Crankworx in Whistler. Who are you going to put your money on in slopestyle this year?
My money is on whoever wants it bad enough! HahahahaWords and Photos By Simon Nieborak