New draft no black

Sep 23, 2015 at 10:44
by Mariusz Wnęk  





One wrong move



The spires of the Cariboo look like canines, they're curved and sharp and lethal, just like the teeth used by man and beast to rip flesh from bone. The chutes here are lined with geological fangs - one wrong move and your carcass could be torn apart.
It's an inhospitable place for bikes and camera equipment, but it has been an iconic location in mountain biking since Richie Schley first laid tire tracks here back in the mid-1990's.




Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake





A big mountain superstar


James Doerfling is 27 years old, he lives with his girlfriend Julie and their dogs Sarge and Chewy (short for Chewbacca), in a house he bought not far from downtown Williams Lake and the Tolko Industries lumber yard. His neighbourhood is quiet, except for the roar of lifted diesel trucks (seemingly a prerequisite for any red blooded male living here);
you'd never guess that a big mountain superstar lives in the house on the left. His porch holds water bowls for his dogs and a collection of muddy shoes stacked neatly in a rack. His living room and kitchen are bereft of mountain bike imagery, he's modest to the point of anonymity, but there's a bear pelt mounted on the wall for decoration.






Williams Lake





The other walls

It's not until you enter his garage that you get a sense of the man. The garage is grimy with dust, grease, and oil; there are probably beers in the mini fridge, and a couple empty tins of Copenhagen Smokeless Tobacco in the trash. You can see his Red Bull Rampage number plates in a place of honour above his workbench, beside a row of battle-scarred helmets. The other walls feature a scantily clad pin up girl and a shot of Doerfling airing into the sunset on the Gobi Desert while filming for Where the Trail Ends.
There's enough room here for a car, but instead the garage houses a dirt bike, a quad, and a quiver of Knolly bikes. The garage has the understated elegance of functionality: everything from the tools on the workbench, to the two-wheeled toys, is designed for the pursuit of fun in the mountains. James Doerfling is an outdoorsman and an adrenaline junkie; this is all he needs.





Williams Lake
Williams Lake




The puddle

Williams Lake is a hard town filled with hard men. The logging industry is a major employer and the town is filled with raised trucks, gruff beards, and blue jeans. Williams Lake, aka ''The Puddle,'' is one of the largest towns in the Cariboo region of central British Columbia - approximately 11,150 people call it home.
Drive through the outskirts of town and you can pick out the massive drop from his first Unit video and several distinctive chutes across the river. Doerfling was born and raised here and, with the recent purchase of his new home, it seems unlikely that he'd move. Why would you when the riding is this good?




Williams Lake


bigquotesThis line was pretty cool because it was a totally different kind of dirt than most of the ones I ride. It was mostly clay and riverbed rock, this makes it only rideable early in the spring while the dirt is still pretty wet and tacky. During the summer it will harden up almost like concrete. This almost never happens but we were able to shuttle this line too, my girlfriend Julie ripped up on the quad for every lap on the line while we shot it


James Doerfling




Skiing on a bike.
00:00 04:21
Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake




Williams Lake




The terrain around Williams Lake is a mixture of low rolling hills covered in lodgepole pine trees, and the infamous steeps found on the banks of the Fraser and Chilcotin rivers. The Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium and their Ride the Cariboo campaign has resulted in the construction of some of the best trails in British Columbia. The consortium focused on 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Wells, and Williams Lake, and worked to develop extensive trail networks in each town to boost tourism and cycling in the community.

Doerfling began riding well before the introduction of sanctioned trails and it will be interesting to see if the combination of an influential local freeride star (Doerfling) and world class trails will result in future big mountain superstars.





Williams Lake
Williams Lake




bigquotesRiding with Kenny is awesome, he likes to ride the same steep crazy shit I like too so it's pretty sick seeing what we come up with when we are out finding new stuff to ride. I need to get to Whistler so I can ride some of his Haney rock lines now!


James Doerfling




Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake




To the water's edge



The chutes near town were carved out by the Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers as they snaked through Pliocene era sediment millions of years ago. If you can find the right line it's possible to ride powdery dirt 1,000 feet down to the water's edge. Doerfling rides a bike like Kye Peterson or Eric Hjorleifson ski a big mountain face: fast and loose, slashing turns across the steeps and throwing up huge clouds of roost behind himself.



Doerling, however, is tired of riding featureless steeps. His new goal is to find and descend natural multi-hit lines. It's a difficult search, but it's what he perceives to be the coolest thing to ride on a bike: steep faces with tricks thrown in mid-run.






Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake




The other walls

The image Doerfling has cultivated - fast and aggressive music and riding - is seemingly at odds with his personality (he's a big country music fan). He is quiet, good-natured, and hard working; you could picture him in a Wrangler Jeans commercial or working on an actual ranch breaking wild horses with ease. He's so modest I doubt many locals even know what he does for a living, or just how good he is at his job.
The juxtaposition of his personality and his riding seems strange until you consider that everything he rides is calculated. He still pushes himself to progress every time the camera rolls, but he has a confidence built on years of experience. He's a freerider, not a hucker.




Williams Lake
Williams Lake




bigquotesRiding the chutes of Williams Lake with James was something new to me. I was out of my element of roots and rocks, and very intimidated. Doerfling's confidence and fearlessness inspired me to ride the Hane of interior BC. He needs to get down to Whistler so I can scare the $%&# out of him


Kenny Smith




Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake




bigquotesDefining Hane just takes away from the Hane.


Kenny Smith




Williams Lake




A slow burn

Doerfling's mountain bike career over the past decade has been on a slow burn. From his first small appearance in Pissed-N-Broke Productions' CKD to his co-starring role in Freeride Entertainment's opus Where the Trail Ends, we've seen his rise to the top of the big mountain world unfold before us. Until last season he'd worked winters in the oil field. Sponsors have since realized the value of his riding and now he's able to focus on film and photography projects all year round.
During our time in the Cariboo, Doerfling pioneered a number of first descents before our lenses. The chutes were out for blood but he escaped unscathed, drifting sideways out of the maw of the beast. And the canines went hungry again.







Williams Lake
Williams Lake
Williams Lake




bigquotesRiding the ridgeline at night with Kenny was quite the adventure. I have ridden that ridge a million times but at night with a little Petzl light (and a few beers deep) it probably wasn't the best idea. We both made'r down alive though and got the shot haha. That one will be a good story for a long time.


James Doerfling




Williams Lake
a



Riders: James Doerfling & Kenny Smith
Photography: Margus Riga // Story: Scott Secco



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