James Doerfling's Journey into Fear

Nov 8, 2018 at 18:17
by Knolly Bikes  

Rides: Delirium, Community: Williams Lake, BC
Social handle: @jamesdoerfling
Interview by: Brenda Ryujin
Photos by: John Wellburn

This Fall I caught up with James Doerfling, Knolly Big Mountain Athlete, to connect with him on his role in the newly released mountain bike film “Reverence”. Having just come back from a recent hunting trip, Doerfling shared with me why he got involved in this new movie.

Doerfling is from Williams Lake BC, an area that he’s known for riding super steep chutes of fine, loose dirt and shaley rock. He has been riding with Knolly for years and has worked closely with us on several product releases over the last eight years. We respect his quiet persona and embrace his big mountain riding style.

Recently Doerfling was featured in the making of a full-length mountain bike movie, “Reverence”. This film delves deep into the psyche of select Mountain Bike Superstars on a quest to understand what motivates them to tirelessly lay down their legacy. It explores how these athletes conquer these fears and use it to push their limits and fuel their next adventures.


I asked Doerfling what motivated him to work on this special project. When the producers, Ryan and Darren Berrecloth, first approached him about the movie it hit a personal cord. Doerfling felt that this film was different from the typical action-packed mountain bike videos that stream into our social media channels every day. It tells the story behind the ride and explores the emotions that every athlete feels. It dives deep into how these athletes have the choice to either embrace their fears and use its’ energy to push their boundaries. Or alternatively they can listen to their intuition, respect their experience and walk away from a line. Doerfling tells us,

“I’ve learnt a lot over the years, working through my fears on and off the bike. In the early days, I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to ride super gnarly lines, trails that were incredibly exposed and required total commitment. I’d ride something, even if I didn’t feel totally certain about the line that day. At this point in my career, I’ve grown as a rider and look at risk differently. Through my seasons on the bike, I have gained confidence in my abilities and trust my intuition to make the right call. Today, it all comes down to just having fun on the bike. That’s how it started and that’s how I want it to be.”

Doerfling’s years of riding experience have provided him with the ability to take calculated risks so that he can progress as a Freerider, while still enjoying the moment. I asked him if he had any advice to other riders when dealing with their fears,

“I can usually tell instantly if I am going to ride a certain jump/line the first time I look at it. It’s always been pretty simple… if you’re not feeling it, or if there’s something throwing you off that day, don’t do it. Sometimes you need to come back to the trail, when the dirt has settled, or your confidence is running higher. There will always be another day.”


In the film, Doerfling and the crew spent hours hiking in, prepping and analyzing the potential of one spectacular line. This moment in the film provides Doefling with the opportunity to share with viewers how he works through his fears and the risks associated with it. For many athletes, the crux move is being able to complete something that took hours, days, months and even years to plan. For others, the crux moment is being able to walk away when your intuition tells you that the conditions aren’t right. It’s not never, it’s just not now.

Reverence provided Doerfling with an opportunity to share his story and work with an amazing group of riders and producers. One of his favorite parts from the film was when Rachel Atherton gets her shoulder put back in on the side of the race course. For Doerfling, it showed viewers the commitment, pain and perseverance that Atherton puts out every time she rides. For Doerfling and this super talented crew of riders, the film was a way to tell a new story. It exposed and shared the mental commitment and hardships that come with riding, in an honest way.

To download the movie now: http://geni.us/Reverence

To check out the premier on November 17th in Vancouver; you can purchase tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/reverence-a-journey-into-fear-premiere-tickets-51307446955


1 Comment

  • + 1
 bring back the tank top

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