The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 96 - PBA Contestant Israel Carrillo on Riding in Mexico and Why It's Not Always About Speed

Dec 6, 2021 at 16:34
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

The second season of the Pinkbike Academy is back, with five men and five women competing against each other for a pro contract with Orbea and a $25,000 prize purse. Contestants came to the Big White ski resort from all over the world, including Mexico's Israel Carrillo who quickly became a fan favorite for his openness and upbeat attitude.

If you haven't watched the first couple episodes of season two yet, consider this your warning: there are definitely some spoilers in this podcast. Israel and I chat about his local riding scene in Mexico, what he brings to the table that a quicker racer might not, and how his time at the Pinkbike Academy went.

Dec 10th, 2021

If you need me, I'll be in Mexico at Israel's house.

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
Episode 94 - PBA Contestant Tori Wood on Her First Race and Finding the Right Mindset
Episode 95 - Field Test Down-Country Bike Debrief

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 39 5
 "It's not always about speed." -slow people
  • 4 0
 Haha! I was going to say the same thing, but also that this dude seems like a genuinely good dude, so I’m glad he’s enjoying the ride.
  • 12 0
 Its about his love for the sport and uplifting cycling communities. Hard not to love israel and his heart. More people need to be like israel.
  • 3 1
 It’s not about size…
  • 1 0
 I resemble that comment...
  • 20 0
 Its all about speed in racing. Perez isn't racing in F1 because he is a cool guy from Mexico. He is racing because he is fast. If you want to be a MTB influencer, you don't have to be the fastest. You also don't have to be the fastest to be a great person.
  • 6 4
 Hilarious that you think that, as if pay drivers aren't a thing. See: Nikita Mazepin for the worst example, Lance Stroll for the best case.
  • 4 0
 @matadorCE: Lance Stroll is also sitting at 13 in points and Perez is sitting at 4. Maybe you can pay to get into the race, but you can't pay to win it. While we are at it, Mazepin is in dead last in points.
  • 2 1
 @HB208: Both are in F1, are they not? Are there faster drivers in F2, F3 and other classes that can fill those seats? Most likely. Being the fastest isn't enough.
  • 1 0
 @matadorCE: Right, and I am sure there are pros in mountain biking that kinda suck but have had a lot of financial backing from their parents. The point is that if you want to be racing at a high level, you need to be fast and Perez would not be racing in the F1 if he were not fast.

Yes, in F1 there are teams struggling financially that are willing to put a billionaire's son in a car in exchange for funding. No, those are not the drivers that are winning.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: You just need to be fast enough
  • 1 4
 F1 doesn’t have the faster drivers anymore. Beside Hamilton being the OG, they re just rich teenager playing video games. The cars, are high tech and obviously some of the fastest in racing, but not the drivers...
  • 1 0
 @redmountaingoat: Do you want some memberberries? I don't think the drivers are that much younger than previous era drivers.
  • 7 0
 @matadorCE: Meh, you know who was a pay driver? Schumacher for a while. Lauda. Senna. Anyway, Mazepin has had success in other formulas and is a very good driver, as is Stroll and almost anyone who's ever raced an F1 car. Grosjean and Kevin are fast AF, but that car is super inconsistent, difficult to drive, and made them look terrible as well. I've read that it's the rear-suspension pick-up points on the gearbox housing; as things get hot, the housing flexes and literally changes the ride-height of the car. A few millimeters of ride-height change can wreck an F1 car's handling, but I think they were locked into using that part this season because rules.

Mazepin and Stroll are obviously not the same caliber as some other guys, but they're still absolute wizards behind the wheel and I don't care how they got there or how much money their parents have. TV makes everything look easy. And I love that some cars are faster than others; there are plenty of great spec / controlled racing series out there if you're looking for that, including Indycar and all sorts of sports car stuff (I also follow the ELMS stuff pretty closely), but I love F1 for it's combination of technology and the best drivers. Should someone like Oscar Pastrami have a drive over Mazepin? Yeah, probably, but that's not how F1 works or how it'll ever work. And Pastrami is so good he'll end up somewhere anyway.
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy: I think there is difference between paying to get in which like you've pointed out even the great ones have done, to the case of your dad bankrolling the entire team as is the case of Stroll and whatever financial backing Mazepin has as well as Kvyat.
  • 3 0
 @matadorCE: Entire teams have been bankrolled around a single driver since day one, regardless of how good or not they were. Questionable drivers have been funded by governments, wealthy individuals, and even corrupt politicians. I know that doesn't seem right, but it's just how F1 has always worked and hopefully always will.

I think what bothers me most is the assumption that guys like Mazepin, Stroll, etc don't belong there, but that's exactly how this sport has always worked. Hope it never changes tbh Smile
  • 2 1
 @matadorCE: Its not super surprising that a sport that costs tens of millions if not hundreds of millions a year ends up getting bankrolled by billionaires that want their kids to participate.

Its not that much different from mountain biking in a way. To actually grow up mountain biking, your parents need to be upper middle class or middle class and sacrifice a ton. Bikes are expensive. Travel is expensive. Etc. You also need to live somewhere with access to mountains, which is expensive for the most part.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: u been watching micheal fassbender road to Le Mans? Second best thing on YouTube, imo.
  • 1 0
 @notsoogood: I have! It's amazing. Sportscar racing can be so confusing but they cover it so well. Some of those POV shots in that RSR are ridiculous.
  • 1 0
 F1 banter on PB made my day. Love it.
  • 14 0
 I'd just like to apologize for that attempt at rolling my Rs.
  • 4 0
 I've heard far worse, Levy! :-) Guanajuato is an awesome place by the way - get yourself there for the urban DH next year. I raced it in 2012 but haven't had the chance to go back since. ¡¡Vientos, Isra, saludos!!
  • 8 0
 Keep working on your "stanchions."
  • 2 0
 @krka73: I've got that one on lock
  • 10 0
 @eurojuice had it right, see the original comment below from EP 3

eurojuice (Nov 4, 2021 at 15:57)
After watching this third episode, I’m of the opinion that this format should be left to shows like Top Chef and Project Runway.

This kind of drama is good for classic TV junkies, but I’m not so sure that’s what MTBers are. I want to see all of the riders for the whole series, no elimination. I want to see their struggles, see them grow (or not), all while following them on a cumulative leaderboard. Rather eliminating the “losers” each week, it would be cool if they focused on rewarding the winners. Basically, run it like an end to end season of Enduro racing including pre and post season type activities (e.g., training, edits, social, etc.).

I think that kind of approach would make better use the the time of all contestants and would make for a proper battle for the whole season. I want to see the real deal, not this Real World vibe; just a bit contrived. Just my opinion.
  • 8 0
 Thanks man. I really appreciate you sharing my comment. Of course, I would be happy to see those or similar changes, but I’m happy simply to have been heard. Cheers!
  • 5 0
 Not at all interested in the “reality” format - what academy boots people out vs teaching / working with them to improve over time (way more interesting & useful)? But whatevs - its vernacular for “someone wins”. However, I am a rabid PB podcast listener and still enjoy the interviews, so a big shoutout to PB for the major podcast drops lately - it really awesome, silicon implant “academy” or not. PS - an olympics / comprehensive scoring format would be worth a try; more fun in my view to see these riders the whole series & watch them evolve, compete, get them all a kick in the ass, vs making them leave. Competition is great: hence, having less & less w/ each episode is actually what happens vs more of it
  • 2 0
 The 'real world' style in which the PBA is made makes watching the show incredibly difficult. In turn I'd say the PBA focused podcast episodes are a little disappointing when compared to the other topics y'all cover. It does seem like some folks enjoy PBA so I guess I can be content with one 'regular' PB podcast a week. Unfortunately PBA is a cool idea executed like cheesy primtime reality show. End rant.
  • 2 0
 Would also love to see PBA with a focus on improvement, 10 riders of the same skill level working towards progressing.
Or PBA with 10 elite level riders who are actually on par with each other skill wise. The gap in levels between say Flo and Kyra is laughable (not putting Kyra down she's awesome but also not on the same skill/experience level with Flo).
  • 1 0
 @Mikelevy...this ain't no bromance, but it is scary how simular you and I are. I live in chilliwack and grew up in the valley freeriding on vedder, drove a inpactcal foxbody mustang (still have) with a roof rack to house my 04 Norco Atomic (which fell of at one point and dented the roof), have a Shiba Inu (Mushu...loves only himself) that decided to run off during a ride and lost him for half a day until he was found at the boarder in Columbia Valley. Loving the podcasts...and enjoy listening while working on my classic cars. So from one dirtbag to another...get your Mini (perfect mtb car) back on the road...and get back after it! Those who don't understand the mtb prowess of the mini...are just to dull to to listen to.
  • 1 0
 I'd like to see PBA help develop and coach the riders during this series, without elimination. Let the final test be an actual enduro race and pick the best rider who can also meet sponsor demands. You can account for mechanicals, personalities, etc at the end.
  • 1 0
 BTW - killer cast w/ Israel on. Really enjoyed it. Why PBA wants to have such awesome & international people & talent show up only to boot em in a few weeks is silly, esp the more I keep hearing these cast interviews (Tori, Israel). Again, just whizzing in the wind, but it would be way more real & interesting to keep people like Tori & Israel on the whole time have an actual scoring system (or however) vs. rolling heads. Maybe the outcome would be the same but - maybe actually not...
  • 1 0
 Why so much love for Israel and Tori and not Cody?
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: More coming! Just catching up.
  • 1 0
 @israelcarrillo I live in Guanajuato's 'sister city' in the US - Ashland, Oregon ( We have some great mountain biking trails here - let's get together someday, I'd love to visit Guanajuato, and you would be welcome here in Ashland!
  • 1 0
 You are right there Man, let's make that happen, no kidding
  • 4 0
 Looking forward to seeing you shred on a Kona Israel!
  • 3 0
 Not showing up on Apple Podcasts for some reason... Ep 94 is the last one showing up on my phone.
  • 3 0
 "Sometimes it's not about speed, it's about not dying".
  • 2 0
 Israel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how are you?
I have A Question: What re the main differences between Mexico trails and big white?
  • 2 0
 Jamaal!!! Have you been at big white? I found my self so comfortable on two of the trails at big white cause the grip was so damn similar to Mexico on general this where "ace of spades" and "rock hammer" ... But we'll the main difference it's at big white's flow trails the top speed it's ridiculously high against anything at Mexico, and at Mexico when you find a technical line that line it's going to be with more exposure or the easiest lines at Mexico takes more time as a penalty if you're taking those.... Sorry for the crappy redaction.
  • 2 0
 The last two episodes (95/96) don’t appear to be on Apple podcasts? 100% possible I am just technologically inept.
  • 3 0
 Should be fixed now!
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: nope still not working for me. Don't want to miss my dose.

I didn't think it could get any funnier but then there was the addition of Henry, Looking forward to #100.
  • 1 0
 Great podcast interview! So happy to see Mexican representation on this pink bike podcast. More of Israel Carrillo :-)
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Still not working on Apple podcast
  • 1 0
 Maybe 36er would help you roll better?
  • 1 0
 Don’t forget about Ibis Exie or whatever the name
  • 1 0
 Don't tell Frank haha

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