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The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 94 - PBA Contestant Tori Wood on Her First Race and Finding the Right Mindset

Dec 3, 2021
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

The Pinkbike Academy is back for its second season, and with riders competing for a pro contract with Orbea and a $25,000 purse, the stakes are even higher. The ten-part series sees competitors face off against each other in all sorts of races and challenges at the Big White ski resort, from full-on blind enduro stages to flat corner challenges to the dreaded FTP test, with a single rider coming out on top.

Thousands of riders from all over the world applied, but only ten made the big show. Now it's time to catch up with some of the PBA competitors, starting with Squamish local Tori Wood.

Dec 3rd, 2021

How many thousands of people watched your first race?

Also available on YouTube
Watch the full race runs from episode 3 here.

Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking
Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?
Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)
Episode 51 - Should MTB Media Post Spy Shots?
Episode 52 - Our Most Embarrassing MTB Moments
Episode 53 - Should Climbers Still Have the Right of Way?
Episode 54 - Best and Worst MTB Product Marketing
Episode 55 - Big Dumb Rides & Staying Motivated
Episode 56 - What Were the Most Important Inventions in Mountain Biking?
Episode 57 - What Were the Best (and Worst) Trends in Mountain Biking?
Episode 58 - Debunking Mountain Biking's Biggest Myths
Episode 59 - Value Bike Field Trip Surprises & Spoilers
Episode 60 - What Kind of Mountain Biker Do You Want to Be?
Episode 61 - Athlete Pay, Lycra, Equality and More from the State of the Sport Survey
Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter
Episode 63 - Our Best (And Worst) Bike Buying Advice
Episode 64 - Who's On Your MTB Mount Rushmore?
Episode 65 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 66 - The Best and Worst of Repairing Bikes
Episode 67 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham
Episode 68 - Who Are Mountain Biking's Unsung Heroes?
Episode 69 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 1
Episode 70 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 2
Episode 71 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham - A Pinkbike Podcast Special, Part 2
Episode 72 - Hey Outers!
Episode 73 - The Details That Matter... and Some That Shouldn't
Episode 74 - The Best Trails We've Ridden and What Makes Them So Special
Episode 75 - Things MTB Brands Waste Money On
Episode 76 - MTB Originals and Copycats
Episode 77 - Interview with Outside CEO, Robin Thurston
Episode 78 - Modern Geometry Explained
Episode 79 - What's the Future of eMTBs?
Episode 80 - The Best Vehicles for Mountain Bikers
Episode 81 - You've Got Questions, We've (Maybe) Got Answers
Episode 82 - Behind the Scenes at Field Test
Episode 83 - Does Carbon Fiber Belong On Your Mountain Bike?
Episode 84 - Explaining RockShox's Computer Controlled Suspension
Episode 85 - Is the Red Bull Rampage Too Slopestyle?
Episode 86 - Greg Minnaar on the Honda DH Bike, World Cup Racing, and Staying Fast Forever
Episode 87 - How to Love Riding When it's Cold and Wet
Episode 88 - Mountain Biking on a Budget
Episode 89 - The Derailleur Pickle
Episode 90 - Is Supre the Future of Trouble-Free Drivetrains? (with Cedric Eveleigh of Lal Bikes)
Episode 91 - Riding Every Double Black in the Whistler Bike Park with Christina Chappetta
Episode 92 - Does Bike Weight Really Matter?
Episode 93 - Staying Motivated and Overcoming Burnout

Author Info:
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Member since Oct 18, 2005
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  • 61 2
 Would love the series have more of an Academy vibe, not only in name. Keep everybody till the end, teach valuable info on racing, bike mechanics, skills, etc... test them at the end of each episode and rate them. Then prep them for a full enduro race at the end of the series. Think about it PINKBIKE. You got great riders being disqualified for a blown out tire. Chance should not influence who wins. My take on the matter, anyway.
  • 7 1
 That’s be rad, and you could have multiple prizes: pro contract, most improved, best all around rider, worst attitude, etc.
  • 6 1
 Agreed: tried watching one episode but once I realized it was BS “reality” where actually talented riders get zapped I couldn't watch. Personally I find this type of setup to be incredibly lame vs something like what you're describing. Sure, races are ultimately about the fastest but PB is missing a major opportunity here, I think, to work with & develop riders vs the Two Minutes Hate version where the “best” wins and everyone else loses. It’s outdated and weak in my view or at least, holds virtually zero interest and actual value in my view
  • 3 1
 I like this idea. Or even something in between like how F1 does qualification (I know a bit of a stretch). Have three eliminations where each time three people go. That way you still get a more balanced elimination once it comes around but you also don't have to have complainers stay until the very end.
  • 3 1
 Agree, all of these riders have potential to succeed in the industry given the full privateer treatment. Seeing as PB is generating clicks and advertising dollars off their hardwork, it's only fair to give them all the best opportunity they can get. Like E bike article said, the industry is projected to grow to be worth hundreds of billions, there is a salary for every contestant somewhere in there and I feel like the academy should be focusing on steering them in the direction that best suits them. We can't all be Emmett's and Flo's but the industry is so much bigger than just the podium.
  • 3 1
 @inside-plus: Very well said: wish I’d said it this well vs pissing on the whole thing. There can still be competition - al these riders wanna rip - without get cast to the side like they don't matter. Anyway, I doubt the writers & planners for this event care too much or they'd have a format thats more realistic vs “reality” which means making people leave. I real races, all the riders continue to hang, progress and actually compete vs their removal. PB’s format to me is a joke and Im honestly surprised theyd structure it this way
  • 2 0
 Watch "School of Chocolate". That is how it should be done.
  • 1 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Haha, I agree with your whole post. It had to be said.
  • 2 0
 I'm with you. Definitely the way to go !
  • 1 2
 Participation trophies for all!
  • 2 0
 @Assclapp: Nay, that's lame as we all know but what "academies" just cater to the best & smartest or in this case the fast & gnarliest and toss everyone else out so there's no more real competition? Just seems like keeping everyone in - its only 10 people and let them fight it out for 2 months or whatever is a lot more realistic than making them go away. World Cup doesn't force riders who don't qualify or make Top 10 to never compete again...would be a bore. That's partly why this is so damn dull...
  • 1 0
 Sounds like a good idea but I think i like the PINKBIKE academy too much, but it would still be great as a different thing like I dont know PINKBIKE..............school?
  • 21 1
 I can’t wait to listen to this! Thanks for bringing her on, love her!
Of course, the obligatory #torigotrobbed can’t be missing Wink
  • 5 14
flag kokofosho (Dec 3, 2021 at 11:22) (Below Threshold)
 She was definitely fit, just not the best rider by far. No robbing at all.
  • 10 0
 These little interviews are awesome! Keeping the episode count higher each week has been nice too
  • 6 0
 I finally watched the first 2 Episodes of the Academy s.2 after hearing @toriwood's interview. Ive been a regular listener of the podcast for a while now and would love to hear more interviews like this (sidenote: Henry should be on every podcast). I agree with the top comments, keep all the contestants around til the end. Or just eliminate people with bad attitudes. I would have loved to have seen Tori overcoming flat corners, setting up her camera and watching the tape as she's described her process since elimination. Watching that would benefit all of us pinkers as I do feel that we gravitate towards riding for those transcendental moments of progression. Great show still. Gonna keep watching. I thought Tori was the most relatable as I am also relatively new to my MTB full-blown addiction.
  • 6 0
 Mike's comment on Elaina's BMX background and Tori just keeping on going. Glad Mike is going to make a note of that, lols Wink I hope they highlight that in future episodes.
  • 6 0
 It's a bummer she got cut when she did. Tori was a super capable rider with an awesome mindset. Her performance in the FTP was awesome. She should still be in the mix.
  • 4 0
 Season 1: "PBA needs more racing, its BS that ppl get eliminated for not being able to swim, or work a GoPro!"
Season 2: "Its BS that ppl get eliminated based on their race results and not their attitude!"
Season 3: "Its BS that ppl get eliminated at all!"
  • 3 0
 Topic (obv) PBA!
It dawned on me today whilst riding my local trails (best thinking courtesy of mountain biking), IT'S FRIKIN' REALITY TV but with mountain bikes! it's meant to evoke "insert adjective/emotion here"! It took me this long to figure (hopefully) the PB isn't that stoopid and it's job is to create content that's viewed, reviewed, talked about and commented on! There would still be drama if Cam and @toriwood were still there, but probably less wrath from the masses and who doesn't like a good wrath filled comment section?! Touché PB.
Also PB, why don't you give @toriwood an on going vlog on starting from absolute scratch, never having raced, facing physical fears and mental and psychological challenges and barriers? An honest, candid look at what goes on in ones head and how to overcome, or at least placate and calm the howling demons! (sorry, got a bit carried away there...) I'd watch that and I bet hoards of Pinkers would too!
Lastly, @killedbydeath @mikelevy Never grow up!!! Smile
  • 5 0
 Tori it's great to hear that you're racing! it was fun watching you and seeing how you progressed through the challenges. You have so much potential. Keep it up!
  • 2 0
 I’m putting this question here from the “ask us anything” article, since you guys didn’t anwser it (lol)

Loking for tour honest opinion here, Levy often talks about the kona process 111 as one of the first downcountry bikes made.
How does it compare to downcountry bikes these days?
If you update some parts for a 2015 Kona Process 111 for instance, like 12 speed drivetrain, dropper post and 4 pot disc brakes, would it still be a considered a modern-ish bike? And does it make more sense to you guys buying a used Process 111, and update it were it makes sense, or buy a lower end 2022 29er with similar caracteristics.

Love the podcast guys! Keep it up!

  • 2 1
 Gotta add that tho I don't personally care for Reality style tv, still love the PB crew and enjoyed the interview with Tori. I don't at all think she's corny or a sellout for wanting to be the show - its coverage & exposure regardless, and she's a shredder for just being 4 yrs in - bigtime kudos to her on that. But def'ly wanna double down on the idea that any real Academy doesn't - or shouldn't - just uphold the naturally best & brightest, as that's just one form of knowing & talent, but should actually be more supportive of anyone at any level. Clearly this isn't a real Academy, but I def'ly agreeing with so many others above that keeping everyone for the whole time is much more interesting that zapping people for BS mistakes, a bad day or week - whatever.

Give them a f*cking chance. Some riders are obviously gonna come in fast & probably just stay fast without really all that much actual progress or advancement while someone like Tori, if given time, could really show that progress & advancement, especially given time & additional pressure. Also - this would put more pressure on some of those more advanced riders over the course of the show. Easily far more interesting that nuking riders each week which is - weak.

Anyway- again, no probs w/ these riders or their intentions. I just think the show format is silly and outdated. Its long past time to move past the Hunger Games & Survivor style (minus the alliances) thing, and just let people compete over time. Academies and even World Cup don't remove and then prevent those people who had a bad score from participating again - they are in fact required for there to even be an actual roster.

Good idea that's just poorly executed PB. Just do up an Olympics style weekly ranking / scoring and lets see all these actually talented riders (who blow most of us away any day) do their thing, get some time to learn & adapt w/o cutting them down. Can hardly believe that in the biker realm that PB would do this or that anyone actually enjoys that format.
  • 1 0
 Just do this, just do that. Thumbs down.
  • 5 0
  • 2 0
 Tori, if you could have made up your own challenge what would it have been?
  • 3 3
 I’m confused how this is a real contest when there is such a massive disparity of talent between the top rider and the rest of them. Obviously we all knew the winner from the first episode.
  • 4 1
 Do you? Is it Emit or Flo?
  • 4 1
 Who? Emmet or Bradley or Flo? They’re all rapid and have a great chance (although pretty sure it’s gonna be Flo who wins). The rest are there to provide entertainment!
  • 1 1
 @witica: Spoiler alert so stop reading from here if you want : Orbea has released a video about last season's racing and for some reasons (mistake or not) you can see this year's PBA higly praised contestant hanging with the official team. If this is not a hint then what? It still bothers me that they did that but now I can't erase it from my mind. There are A LOT of things that could be improved about PBA but still it's good entertainment for those who seek that.
  • 1 0
 @spottba: Emit definitely has it in him!
  • 2 0
 @DenSeven: got a link to the video?
  • 1 0
 Tori!!!! Hard hitting Q for you, is Jason's skin as flawless in person as it is on the screen?
  • 10 0
 It's pretty dam nice that's for sure. Never got the chance to hit him up for his skin care routine
  • 1 0
 @toriwood: I have the same gymnastic background. Discipline and focus! Definitely learned from then.
Keep it going. Fitness is key and you have the mindset.
  • 1 0
 @toriwood: Spewing, was hoping you’d go far! Great mentality!
Where abouts in in Aus did you begin life?
  • 1 0
 @toriwood: Hay Tori, I have a Q for you. If you could have made up your own challenge at the pink bike academy what would it have been?
  • 2 0
 @Waldon83: I’m from Melbourne!
  • 2 0
 @Jamaal: handstand competition
  • 5 0
 @Jamaal: honestly though.. would have been sweet to do a multi stage enduro race where we get to know the course ahead of time and have a solid opportunity to pre-ride (at the beginning so that everyone could have raced it)… followed by a handstand competition
  • 1 0
 @toriwood: Of course you are! All the best ones leave!
Good luck with the next race season, you’ll smaaaaaaaash it.
  • 1 0
 @toriwood: That sounds like a good one
  • 1 0
 Spewing, was hoping you’d go far! Great mentality!
Where abouts in in Oz did you begin life?
  • 4 5
 "PB keyboard savages" unite behind #torigotrobbed until she labels them PKS.
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