Here's a transcribed interview from a casual conversation between Sterl, the Anthill crew and Aaron from last February.
Do you see training and your approach to it as a key to the core of your success? I'd say it's a big piece of the puzzle for sure, but there are a lot of other things that go into it as well.
Confidence is huge in racing, what gives you confidence as you approach race day? The biggest thing that gives me confidence is my faith. I know God's got my back with whatever happens so I just try to have fun and roll with it!
Where do you do the majority of your aggressive downhill training? Do you ever feel the need to get out of dry, sunny California and practice your wet conditions downhilling? I do most of my training here near my home in Temecula. We have a decent mix of trails and stuff to keep it interesting. I would like to get out and ride more mud since it's literally impossible to have mud where I live. Usually I get my mud training in on the east coast early in the season at some races before the World Cups start.
Do ride moto? How often? Is that part of your training regime? What is one key thing it does for you? I try to ride moto about once a week, but unfortunately it's usually less than that. I think a key thing that moto helps with is reading speed. The fitness part is pretty good too.
Is there any person that you credit for your knowledge and how to train? Well there have been tons of people since the BMX days that I've gained training knowledge from. I think you eventually learn what works for you and how to apply it. Right now Johnny is a big part of that, I've learned a lot working with him.
You mentioned working with Jonny T (John Tomac), can you please tell us what you work on with him? Is it mental or more physical? Any cool examples of what you do? We mostly focus on the physical stuff. He writes out my day to day routine so whether it's gym, road, xc, dh, moto or whatever, he's in charge of when I do it and how I do it. The exercises and rides change depending on what time of the year it is, we always try to keep things as fresh as possible to keep it fun.
Tell us about your truck - what is it and what year is it? Haha Ohh the Brown Dragon? Bronze Bandit? Factory baja race truck? Yeah she's a '98 Toyota Tacoma, 4 banger with 5 on the tree. No big deal, she's got a keyless entry (gotta climb through the back window to unlock the door), custom sometimes-working stereo and a start up squeak that will wake the neighborhood.
How many practice runs do you generally ride before your race run? I usually do about 4 runs on a practice day. Qualy and race days I'll get in maybe 2 before the timed run. So that would make my race run about my 11th run of the weekend or so?
How do you approach a race run? Do you break it up in to sections or just go for it and hope for the best? I try to just approach it like a practice run, link all the sections together and hope for the best!
What are three key things someone has to being a podium racer consistently? I'd say speed, fitness, and mental toughness.
What has made you especially faster in the recent 1-2 years? People are shocked when they see that you can pull 6-7 seconds on second place? What do you credit that difference to? I think it's just everything coming together. Speed, experience, fitness, equipment etc.
How would you describe your favorite DH course? Fast and loose!
Is visualization of your run on a course something that you spend time at during the race day and week? Definitely, I'm always going through the track in my head. Mostly before qualy and race so I can kind of get a game plan together for when I'm out there.
Are you very sensitive to how your bike is running, or more concerned with your own riding? A little of both probably, I become more picky as I get better but at the end of the day it's still up to the rider to throw it down. I have an awesome group of people around me though so getting the bike dialed is usually pretty easy.
Each year, does your bike set-up change much? Inside of the race season? Would you ever let that happen? Do you have non-race bikes that you practice on to try new things? What is an area that you are often tinkering with? How has your bike evolved in anyway since your bikes 3 years ago? We’re always looking on ways to improve so things change a little every year. Suspension is probably the thing that improves the most often. The guys at Fox are always innovating and somehow they keep finding ways to make the stuff better.
As you have seen success, has your relationship to Shimano intensified? Yeah it has for sure. When I first started in ‘08 I was on Saint product just flowed through my sponsor. Now I'm one of the top testers and anything I want, they pretty much do. I'm super thankful that they have allowed me to be so involved with stuff, it's pretty cool.
You have ridden Saint product for a number of years how is the new Saint group more DH friendly? The new line is just more race specific. In the past the Saint line has been more gravity specific meaning race, freeriding etc. The new line is lighter, stronger, smoother, and just has an overall improved feel. They were able to do all of that without sacrificing the reliability and strength that the line has offered in the past.
Do you feel the new Saint helps you win races? Does it give you an advantage over your competitors? Definitely it has given me an advantage. With racing, the old stuff was good we're still on some of the old stuff all year but the new stuff is that next level - better - as far as the derailleur goes - just in reliability - I haven't broke a derailleur all year during the race season - I've never had one problem - like we just run a derailleur for a few races ‘till they gave us the next one and we never had any issues -same thing with the brakes - so I think reliability when it comes to downhill has got to be your number one priority because if it breaks and you can't finish the race it doesn't really matter how good it worked until it broke. So that's the first thing, and then performance obviously - yeah I've been nothing but very pleased with it.
You know, just the consistency - I guess on the brakes - that's one thing that stuck out big with me - is some of the tracks - with how much it rains at World Cups it is hard to get that consistent feel on the brakes with the water - with how hard it can rain. You'll get brake fade problems trying your lever in the right stop - with this stuff we set it and didn't have to touch it - even at Champery it felt like we were cheating a little bit there because everybody was having problems with their brakes and I didn't touch my brakes all weekend through the weather - on the steepest brake drag track on the circuit - they stayed perfect and never had one problem or even a little bit of change in performance. That kind of blew me away because I remember being there the year before and having some issues with that. So the new stuff is pretty awesome.
Did you win on the new Saint protos? Yup! I think South Africa was the only race last year that I didn't have prototype stuff on my bike.
What do you ride? 8-speed? 9-speed? What do you race with? Um, I don’t even remember, they went back and forth this year. I lock out some gears so we were just running the stock stuff. And then I think the new stuff was all 10-speed.
Talk about being number one, the pressure of being number one, and what you’re doing to deflect this pressure: Yeah I mean pressure is just inevitable with any sport once you reach a high level and it comes from more people than yourself. I think people try to make it up to be more than it is. I keep it in the back of my mind it’s just bicycle racing and as much as I love it and it’s a very big part of my life, it is just that. So just focusing on my routine in training and enjoying the process and then the sponsors get behind me. You know I think we are all on the same page there, it’s like we can only do as good as we can do, so just give it 100% effort and let the rest of it kind of fall where it will. I think that takes a lot of the pressure off being around, you know surrounding yourself with good people and just working towards a goal and doing the best you can and trying to have a good time while you’re doing it.
Bike set-up and your approach to bikes, what are you thinking? For me bike set-up has always been a proiroty, I guess it gets more complicated every year as I develop my likes and dislikes and learn more about what stuff does. I think when you first start riding when you’re younger, you’re kind of like “oh I just want it to get me down the hill” and then as you get older you become pickier. So I guess for me a clean and a quiet bike has always been a top priority and stuff that doesn’t make noise and is consistent. With the new Shimano stuff that was a gain that we made as far as the derailleur goes, it’s the only derailleur I have ever ridden that you can’t get to make noise, so when you’re going down the track it’s just the tires on the ground-it’s the only thing you hear. That’s huge for me ‘cause noises drive me nuts and you know just how stuff functions and how clean it is. The stability of performance has always been a big thing, just being level all the way across. You know, just knowing what you’re riding and knowing that it’s not going to change every time you get on your bike. Pretty simple probably, just those few things, just being clean and quite is a big thing.”
So performance of your products in a race will affect the decisions you make and how fast you can go? Yeah, definitely. I think fatigue with not having to really squeeze on the brake levers at the end of the run when you’re getting tired. Your hands are usually blown out towards the bottom so when it comes to racing, especially World Cups having that good system, the consistency of the product is a big deal for me.
To what level are you actually processing that during a run? Do you think it’s instinctual or are you like ‘’Whoah my brakes are failing me?’’ [laughs] Well it depends, when they are going bad you know they are going bad it could be a little bit of panic mode, but I remember at a few races a couple of years ago I went to throw an extra finger on the brake levers to get ‘em to slow down. So now I wouldn’t say I think about it at all, and that’s exactly how it should be. [laughs] I think I take it for granted already how good this stuff is, I forget about some of the problems we’ve had in the past and I’ve been able to work through that now is pretty cool.
Do brakes make you go faster? Yeah, brakes will make you go faster. Sounds like an oxymoron. It’s like my Camero, it will go fast but it won’t stop, so if you can get it to stop then you can go faster.
Have you reached the pinnacle of your speed? Can you go faster? No there’s definitely more I think. Last year was good, I started to hit my speed in a few spots and had some fitness and things that were starting to come together, but I did make a lot of mistakes last year in my runs, so being able to smooth that out and just getting faster - I definitely see a lot of room for improvement for myself still.
Another thing we might touch on is the shifting, how you can click out multiple gears at a time now. That’s the thing I kind of forgot that I did over the old stuff. That was something that was cool with the new Shimano stuff, on the shifter being able to slick out multiple gears further down the cogs is a big thing ‘cause a lot of World Cup tracks have come out of a pretty teckkie woods section so being a pretty low gear or an easy gear and then it will drop straight out on to a bomber or a fire road and you have to go up like six gears right away and without having to bang out six gears you can just punch the thing through a few times and you’re already there. Just like a down shift lever, so that was a big advantage, something that I really liked as far as the new stuff was concerned and that was one little thing that we had feedback on ‘cause when they first made it for me, they made it so smooth that if I did only want to go one gear I kept going two because it would just punch through so easily so I had to actually have a talk with Shimano at the beginning of the year; “Hey that stuff, it’s like too good” [laughs] could you make it a little harder to shift?” ‘cause sometimes if you do just want to go one gear you got to have that little more distinctive click and I don’t know how they designed it on that stuff to make that happen but it was a week an a half later and I had that and it was perfect.
So you really like a positive shift? Yeah, it’s good to be able to feel so you know how many it’s shifting but at the same time not having a struggle to have the lever to go down.
How much value do you place on that process, to be able to go back and forth with Shimano? It’s huge having Shimano. The main guys from Japan were over at most of the World Cups this year, and being able to sit down in the race truck with them after a practice run or after a race run and they’ve got the note pads out and they are very attentive to whatever you have to say. They don’t say much but they’ll come back a week or two later and hand you something new and you’re like “yup” [laughs]. I think they are definitely the best at what they do. It’s a huge advantage for us to be able to go through something like the length of the shift-lever, how that clicks or how a derailleur is working or maybe bouncing that little bit and then at the next race you have a product that has your idea and Input put into it so being able to do that with a company so big, with Shimano, man it’s crazy. Kind of blows me away, how fast they are able to get stuff done, and what an advantage it is to our program.
Are other top racers kind of looking at one another’s bikes and equipment and sussing out how important parts are? I think there probably definitely is. I try to pay attention to my own deal and I am confident that I can say pretty openly that I have the best equipment so I don’t really pay attention to what anybody else does ‘cause I know I am stoked with what I have. If you’re having problems with your equipment and you’re looking at other people’s stuff it could definitely be a thing. I think the media thing is huge; when we put this stuff on my bike I think there were photos of it all over the place so any time something new comes out it creates a little bit of hype and I think it’s good, you know it pushes the industry, keeps everything going the right way. I think it’s a mental thing for sure, and I have been lucky enough to be on the positive end of that where it’s been a confidence booster for me knowing that the stuff I am on is as good as it is.
What do you think about speed and performance, when you’re going really fast do you feel you can see characteristics of parts in a different way? Running them through the World Cup circuit it’s kind of the gnarliest of conditions that parts are going to be in as far as how rough the tracks are, the weather conditions and how fast we ride the bikes. Those three things coming together is the ultimate testing grounds. I don’t think you are going to get anything outside of that that’s going to be any harder on parts so to be able to develop it there and then give it to a customer for what the average rider is going to throw at it. You know no matter what they throw at it you know it’s going to handle it. I think that’s cool when buying a product to know that it has that background behind it.
When you’re training and riding wherever, would you say you have more moments of intense speed and then a World Cup is run is like pure/top speed? I think it’s like a puzzle almost [racing]; there’s a lot of different pieces that need to come together to reach that top spot. Whether it’s training on our bikes or a team, or whatever it is, there’s a lot of things that come together and I think getting all those things to come together perfect on race day is what can add up to a winning run. Putting in the work, everybody has the same goal, doing everything the best we can and then on race day the pieces “fall together” if you will. It feels like a big group effort, a team effort with outside of my race team everyone that’s around me and supports me. Yeah I guess that’s what it’s all about.
Talk to us about ‘the Line’; when we’re out shooting with you, you are always looking at… I mean the average guy looks at a trail and he sees a trail – you see something else obviously. Talk to us about that: I am probably bigger on line selection and picking a track apart that way, it’s kind of my way I keep focused on a race run, keeps my head into the moment as having a game plan every straight-away, every turn, every rock section, and whatever knowing exactly where the lines are going to be and then kind of putting the pieces together as you go down the track. I think maybe it was my motocross background. My trainer there was really into line selection - the way the momentum carried so when I look at a track now I don’t even have to try it’s just the way I see things. I am just trying to open stuff up so you can carry speed so it’s not something I think about too much anymore. It’s just the way I look at trails now, and it makes it fun, it’s probably the part I enjoy the most about riding.
Take us through a practice session. You’re at a World Cup and what do you do in your first practice run? What do you look for as you progress to the final race? First practice run can be… it depends, if we haven’t been to the track before then pretty much the first day is spent trying to get down in my head to where you can do a run top to bottom in your head and you don’t need to know lines, but just knowing like right turn, left turn, rock section, jump… whatever. Just so you can start to build a game plan and the second day of practice is usually when you start to get up the speed a little bit more and you try to dial in your lines and you start becoming a little pickier. If you’ve been there before though, then you get up to speed pretty quick just seeing if there are any changes from the year before, and then just kind of getting refreshed with the track and maybe making a few little changes to your bike to where you think it will need to be, or sometimes when you start practice the speeds are slower so the bike’s going to feel kind of weird because a lot of times your suspension will be too stiff or you have too much air in the tires for the speed you are going, but as you get up to speed you’ll kind if build into your bike set-up. I usually will actually leave my bike alone, like my suspension guys- they won’t even let me adjust my suspension for two or three runs at least on the first day because a lot of times you’ll end up going right back to where you were ‘cause you weren’t up to speed yet. First day of practice for me is probably a lot more relaxed than for most people - it’s just riding down the hill and having a good time and just trying to figure out where the track goes.”
You’ve had a relatively short mountain bike career, but your process is dialed. Did it start out like this? No, I think it’s something that in time you build. My manager Rich, he was always big on creating a routine from when I first started, and I have been racing for a long time. A routine for me just gives me something to stay focused on so your mind doesn't wander or get distracted. It helps me with nerves and all that stuff. Just having a game plan/routine - we call it “racing routine” so you show up going through the movements, so by the time you actually think about “wow it’s a World Cup race! This is a big deal”, it’s usually when you’re in the start gate dropping in for your run. I try not to think about the race until 10 seconds before you actually drop in for the race. Going through the movement, just getting prepared and doing the best you can, then when it comes time for a race-run you just kind of throw it down and let it work out however it can ‘cause ultimately you can never control the outcome, so it’s just controlling the process as best you can I guess.
So did it start out like that back in the day? It’s something that’s developed for sure [laughs]. I think a lot of people get that backwards, they’ll be thinking about the race all week and instead of getting ready for the race they’ll fail to prepare a little bit and then it will become kind of a crazy deal. It’s something that comes with experience in racing. I’ve been lucky to have some good people in my corner to help me that have been there for a long time and can lead me in the right direction, so I am definitely thankful for that.
To hear that you have such a figured out/dialed program and knowing that not everyone can just step into that, how did you know in the first place that you were fast and in a sense worth it to take those steps forward? That’s a hard one to explain ‘cause I was at that point for a long time. I think I started racing bicycles, BMX when I was 4 and I had some pretty good success with that so I kind of always had that confidence from a young age from being able to ride a bike fast and it was something that I did well and probably better than most people - just from the results we were seeing. The trainers I have had growing up, whether it’s Moto - now mountain bikes, people that are honest. More honest than you want them to be sometimes growing up you know, but really keeping you humble and hungry to be better. That kind of creates that confidence, when you start to see yourself succeed. You know where it comes from and you know how to get there, it’s just a lot of work. It’s that self-believe and knowing that you have it, and there’s always that little bit that you’re not sure - but if you don’t go at it 100% then you’re never going to know, so I always figured better to try and fail and move on than to not try and wonder if it would have worked out. Maybe it’s different for everybody, but for myself it was something I really enjoyed doing and I figured I’d give it everything I had and just see how it worked out, and it worked out pretty good so far [laughs].
So even though there’s a bit of a phenomenon within our mountain bike world and now, especially with your success there’s a back-story to Aaron Gwin and his World Cup dominance. The public perception right now is ‘where did this guy come from?’’ And ‘’he must have just been born fast’’ – He’s just BOOM on the scene:’’ I think that it’s been a lot of years. It’s been crazy, it’s been kind of funny to me ‘cause we’ve struggled so hard since I was young to race and you make it happen - we’ve been through so many injuries with motocross, so much money, credit card debt, my parents gave everything to help me race and they weren’t expecting anything back from it, it’s just trying to help me live the dream that I had. There’s a huge racing background since I could walk I’ve pretty much been riding something with two wheels and I’ve always wanted to be a racer - I was luck enough to fall into that [downhill] perfect mixture of BMX and Motocross and my style of riding I guess. There’s definitely a big background behind the racing, it's not just downhill.
What’s it like riding in the hills (at home in Temecula)? Temecula is good, for me I think weather is a big part and it’s pretty much home for me. It’s an hour from where I grew up. I lived in the same house my whole life growing up so this area of California has just been home, it’s where I raced Motocross all the time and my Motocross trainer lives right down the street and I used to stay with him a lot. Now Rich my manager lives down the street - Johnny lives out here in the winter time. For me it’s good ‘cause it’s home and everybody will say, no matter how crappy the place is that you’re from, it’s always home and it’s the place you enjoy. So-Cal is kind of a cool place anyway so it’s a double whammy. Yeah, I think it’s good for riding and trails and training. I can schedule out a training program for 6 days a week with our rest day and you never have to miss a day. I mean on the gnarliest winter day here you can still train ‘cause it’s not that bad. We don’t get to ride anything like a lot of the World Cup tracks as far as mud and roots go but you do get that consistency, and for me that’s kind of more important and I wouldn’t want to move somewhere with crappy weather just to be able to ride that stuff. For me it’s good, it allows me to enjoy the other hobbies that I have and my friends and my family and just be able to train every day as we need to; it’s the perfect place for me for now.
What is your approach as far as speed and your methodology about lines? How fast are you riding out there? When do you know you’re accomplishing something that is getting you closer to your goal?’’ It’s maybe different with a lot of riders; I think I practice at a slower pace than a lot of people do. So when I am out here I’ll be working on things but they are things you can work on going that little bit slower. You know I don’t hammer out race-runs very often because it takes a lot out of you and there’s a risk involved there that I don’t think it super smart to take all the time. I usually do runs at about 90%-85% maybe working on little techniques or things to kind of add up and you always hit a section at your limit and then bring it back down. It’s different for everybody, but for me practicing - I don’t ride my downhill bike that much in the off-season, probably less than a lot of other people do. I’ll ramp it up a lot before the first race just to keep it fresh and exciting, and I guess ultimately keep me really enjoying it at the end of the season, ‘cause we do so much riding in the season, that if you are just hammering race-runs for three months before the season even starts there’s a bigger chance of a burn-out or an injury or something. I like to kind of build into it and enjoy some of my other bikes to; I guess it’s whatever works for you.
The dirt conditions at World Cup’s are typically pretty slippery – a lot of people might be really surprised to know you actually get traction in the wet versus: I know it’s weird out here I guess a lot of people dread when it rains and we love it, we can’t wait for it - we just want it to rain because it makes the tracks awesome [laughs] and it could never get muddy here. It could rain for three months and the trail would wash away but there would never be mud, so it’s good and it’s bad. It’s good being able to dig and ride and really enjoy the conditions but it’s probably not the best training for World Cups, but on the other hand when it’s dry it’s really slippery, there’s not roots or anything but the surface is slick so I guess it gives you that feeling of sliding a lot. In a way I guess it’s a help and I have heard the same thing with Sam Hill who is one of the gnarliest mud riders ever and where he is from I guess is the same deal. You step out your front door you loop out if it’s dry ‘cause it’s so slippery. I guess maybe it helps me that way; it’s kind of funny that our dry conditions are slippery and it helps us with wet conditions over there, yup it is our mud training I guess.
What does it feel like for you as you’ve done your program? How does it feel to pack up and leave Temecula? It’s good; I think it’s becoming better every year as I do it more. It’s kind of tough, honestly it’s almost like you live two different lives. When you’re here, you’re home and you train and you have your group of friends you kind of get into your little routine. But when you fly over there it’s totally different - I am really tight with my teammates, some of my teammate are some of my best friends, but they live really far away so we never get to hang out. When we travel over there it’s cool ‘cause you get to see your buddies, but at the same time it’s a totally kind of different group. You’re over in someplace totally different and you’re racing, you don’t really have much contact with anything that’s going on back home because you’re so far away and you’re so busy over there so it’s kind if like you’ve got to flip the switch into “race-mode” or “season-mode” I guess. That can be tough sometimes, but the more you learn, you learn what works for you, to make you comfortable over there and Martin Whitely is cool enough to let me pick my race schedule through the year outside of World Cups and schedule when I come home and when I am over there so that you can find that good mixture that works for you to keep you really excited to go over there and race. That’s been a big thing for me is that, and it’s just something that you learn as you go.
What are your thoughts on the Pietermaritzburg World Cup? I actually really looked forward to the first one. I wish we maybe had another month or so, I think the schedule is kind of funky with it being so early in the season, but I really enjoy South Africa; I think it’s a good track; it catches a lot of heat for being so pedal-y , but it is what it is. I think a World Cup overall should be on track like Champery and tracks like South Africa. I think you should have a track that has some pedaling and one that has no pedaling. It’s not the most fun track to race because it’s such a burn but it’s a fun track to practice and I really like the culture there and the town and everything is really cool. It’s kind of like home; it’s usually dry and hot so it’s one of the only races we get like that all year.
In relation to how well you did last year, is there a statement that would sum up your new focus for the 2012 season? I think the focus is going to be exactly the same as it was last year. I think I never really have big results goals, I know that I have done every thing as well as I can to prepare so it’s just doing the best we can to enjoy it. At the end of the day we’re riding bikes, it’s supposed to be fun. That’s why I started when I was 4; just keeping that in the back of your head and enjoying the experience, ‘cause when you look back when you’re 40 you’re not really going to care whether or not you got first or fiftieth, it’s just going to be the experience you had, the things you learned and you move on to whatever’s next in life. The goal for me is to just enjoy the time spent traveling, on the bike just do the best we can.
Some people are going to say you’re winning all the time and that it doesn’t matter, but hearing how methodical your program is, knowing how much work you out in to being prepared - the bike and physically - would you say then, that almost as you’re crossing the finish line and you feel the burn and all that, that’s almost like the reward? Yeah definitely, I think the results… it’s funny ‘cause I’ll say stuff like “it’s just bicycle racing to me” and then I’ll hear people say they almost get mad about it, they really want it to be like my entire life, like when I just have to win races or I am not happy. That’s definitely not the case, but at the same time, if I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t race ‘cause it sucks getting beat. I get just as pissed as anybody else does, but you know you have the big picture in the back of your mind it is just what it is. So that’s definitely the reward, the ultimate payoff - you know what we work so hard for. You don’t bust your butt during the week to go and get smoked, you do for a while but you want to get better. Crossing the finish line and seeing the green on the sign is the reward. Definitely. It’s a relief, ‘cause sometimes the actual racing part can be kind if hectic and not a ton of fun but you know I guess the end result is always well-worth it.
Even if you didn’t get a good result but you gave it a good run, what do you say to yourself? It’s what I base my whole race mantra off; “you can’t give any more than 100%.” So you do the best you can, you race the best you can and you let it work out. If you’re not ok with that you probably shouldn’t race ‘cause you’re going to be really disappointed a lot [laughs]. You've got to be ok with doing everything the best you can and failing sometimes and then going back and working on whatever it is and trying to do better next time. I think when you have that approach to racing and you realize you can only give 100% and if you do give 100% it totally takes the pressure off, ‘cause you’re like “well I did everything I can, if it wasn’t my day it wasn’t my day.” That’s what I mean when I say racing isn’t everything to me to, it’s just something you do but you don’t have to have that end result to make you happy I guess.
As you pass the finish line is your mind almost void of thought at the time because you’re so taxed? What’s it like? I would say it’s almost like, I don’t want to sound that wrong in a way, it’s almost a relief when you cross the finish line. Whether it was a good run or a bad run, everything build up to that point, so when it’s done you can finally kind of relax a little bit, enjoy the people you’re around, because a lot of times stuff’s more uptight at the races, especially within our team, you know I am lucky enough to have such good friends, but the industry as a whole loosens up a bit after the race and everyone can kind of hang out and chill. You usually get a day off before you go to the next spot. It’s cool just knowing that you put in the work, gave everything, when you cross the finish line you’re like “cool, well we got through another successful weekend without an injury and we can move on” [laughs].
What is your favorite non-World Cup downhill that you do each year? Last year all the east coast Pro GRT Races were super fun, anything in the States is always a good time. I looked forward to Sea Otter this year as well. People hate on that place but it has slalom and even though the DH track isn't real DH, it's still a fun race with a cool atmosphere.
What young rider has caught your eye and impresses you on and off course? I'd say Troy Brosnan has impressed me with his progress the last few years. I think Richie Rude is going to have a good first year this season as well.
Do you enjoy the world travel? What place stoked you out? Yeah I'd say I do mostly, we've been to so many cool places it's hard to choose. I really like South Africa, Italy, and Scotland though.
Photos: Sterling Lorence Interview: Sterling Lorence and Anthill Films