7.19.04 Interviews by Rob

While Rob was in Whistler, he had the chance to interview a couple of freeride legends. These legends include Brett Tippie, Dylan Tremblay, Glynn O'Brien and Wade Simmons. Look here for the interviews and stay tune for more updates…
Submitted by Rob, Edited by Iggy

While Rob was in Whistler, he had the chance to interview a couple of freeride legends. These legends include Brett Tippie, Dylan Tremblay, Glynn O'Brien and Wade Simmons. Look here for the interviews and stay tune for more updates…
Submitted by Rob, Edited by Iggy

Brett Tippie

Brett Tippie, the name alone conjures images of huge hucks and big smiles. Tippie is one of the pioneers of the freeride movement and is still throwing down. Armed with a 2004 Demo 9, Tippie looks to go large and spread the Specialized groove across the world. Brett took an afternoon out of his busy schedule to session a photo shoot at Whistler’s GLC drop and to have a few words afterward.

Rob: Everyone knows you came up with Rocky Mountain, who do you ride for now?
Brett Tippie: I ride for Specialized, Marzocchi and Raceface.
RR: Where do you ride mostly?
BT: I’m living in Kamloops right now so right now Sun Peaks. I love the Interior. Sun Peaks is great, but I think I’m moving to Whistler soon.
RR: Why did you move back to Kamloops from Whistler?
BT: I was partying way too hard. It was crazy here. I had the hottest apartment in downtown Whistler and the hottest babe in town. I had a fireman pole going from my living room into a bar.
RR: Wow.
BT: Yeah man. It just got too hectic.
RR: What happened to the girl?
BT: She said if you go out riding one more time that’s it.
RR: So?
BT: I said, “I’m going to miss you.”
RR: Wow. So what are you doing now?
BT: I’m traveling around with my dad in the Gulf Islands of the coast of B.C.
RR: How’s that?
BT: Cool. It’s so beautiful out there. Total hippie land. Really nice descents. I’m trying to get my dad back into riding. He’s about 290 lbs and I want to help him get back in shape. I had to take all the padding out of the biggest helmet I could find to fit on his melon.
RR: What kind of bike is he on?
BT: A ‘04Specialized Big Hit with a 750 weight spring. He’s still bottoming it though.
RR: Got him rocking any 12 ft drops yet?
BT: Actually he used to ride when he was a kid. He grew up on a farm in Alberta and used to ride over the teeter totter in the playground.
RR: Are you saying he was the first free rider?
BT: Hmm. I don’t know if I’m prepared to make that statement.
RR: What are you doing in the Gulf Islands?
BT: I’m going out to look at a pick-up truck. I just trashed mine.
RR: How’d that happen?
BT: There’s this guy in Kamloops I hang out with who is soo sick in a truck. The guy hits corners like the thing’s on rails. I followed him over a train track and we both went airborne and I just couldn’t manage the corner.
RR: Where you hurt?
BT: Naw. The thing flipped, but I just got out of it and walked away. Had a little bruise from the seatbelt, but I was fine.
RR: What’s your most serious crash on a bike?
BT: I fell off a 42ft cliff.
RR: What happened?
BT: Well I was doing this canyon shoot and there a 25 ft drop then a flat segment then another 17 ft drop to the left. I’d done the drop like 6 times for this guy and as I was coming into the drop my front wheel tracked into a crack and I tried to push the bike out in front of me. My shorts caught on the seat so I just sort of slid down the drop attached with my bike. I landed on my feet and ass with 6 inches of dust on my head. So the photographer just saw me spill from the top but didn’t see the landing. I was real quiet for a minute and I hear him scrambling over and man I was just trying not to laugh. Finally he comes over and the guy is just white as a ghost and he says, “Aw shit man, I thought you were dead!” It didn’t hurt too much, so I dusted off and got back on the horse.
RR: Fair play, so you got up and did the drop again?
BT: Have to get back on the horse.
RR: Where do you ride in Kamloops?
BT: I’m living in Kamloops now so I’ve been riding Rose Hill and Harper a lot. I’ll be at Whistler and Sun Peaks more and more now though.
RR: How’s the riding in Kamloops?
BT: Dope. The town is a bunch of neighborhoods on different levels so you can just rip from the hill all the way downtown. There’s trail’s that link every elevation right down to the river. I’ve been riding this little 4 inch skinny of cement right in front of the cop shop. It’s like 45 feet long and begins at their front door. I’ll session it like 12 times in a row before they kick me out.
RR: Got any good Kamloops stories to leave the kids with?
BT: Yeah, there’s this bridge over Peterson’s Creek in Kamloops that’s got to be 250 ft high. There’s a little 3 inch railing across it and I used to go and stand up there in my boarder-cross days to practice calming my heart rate. I would get in my snowboard tuck and look over the edge and my heart rate would just skyrocket. Then I would close my eyes and through bio-feedback I would calm my heart rate. I would do this every fall before going to the World Cup Boardercross Circuit in Europe. I told my friend Greg Olssen about the bridge and we went up there together. We both got up on the bridge and got in the crouch. Of course we started to outdo each other so next thing I know we’re both hanging by one arm from the bridge. He climbs back on the bridge and says, “Hang on to my leg.” He hangs his leg off the bridge and I’m hanging on to his leg with both hands. I say, “Greg are these 501’s?” He says, “Yeah.” So I take a bunch of the fabric at the bottom of his pants and bite them. And for a split second I took my hands away.
RR: Hold up. You were hanging off a 250 ft bridge by your teeth, biting into a pair of Levi’s?
BT: Yeah, instant rush.
RR: Wow. Got another quick one?
BT: I fell 3 flights onto my back and walked away from it.
RR: What happened?
BT: I was at a party in Kamloops at a 3 story dorm. Each level had a terrace with 3 posts with chains between each post. So I tried to free-grab the chain from the 3rd floor to the 2nd. I caught the 2nd floor chain, but it wasn’t attached at the ends so I just kept sailing down. So in the air I counted the levels and knew when I was going to hit the ground. I was back facing the ground and as I was about to hit the ground I gave a huge judo slap to counter the force. I got up and walked away, but the next day I realized I burst the fluid sacks in both my elbows.
RR: Damn. Any parting words?
BT: Thanks to my sponsors for all the support and I’ll see you on the trails.

Dylan Tremblay

To those who don’t know the name Dylan Tremblay, Google the name. What will come back is the star of ground breaking Canadian television show Drop-In, Rider’s Anonymous, Monkey Style and appearances in countless street and freeride competitions. Tremblay has pushed the bounds of hardtail riding mixing xc, bmx and downhill skills into a dynamic style of riding completely his own.

Rob: What’s up Dylan
Dylan Tremblay: Not much, I just judged the Air Prentice event for NSMB.
RR: How was it?
DT: Incredible. So much young talent coming out of BC these days. These guys were just going off.
RR: What was the competition all about?
DT: North Shore Mountain Biking had one spot left on their freeride team and this was a comp for the last spot.
RR: What was up for grab?
DT: Well great exposure by being on the team but the winner also walks away with a DEMO 9 and a pimped out P3.
RR: Sic.
DT: They accepted resumes and took the best 12 for the comp. We went to some major features in the park-the box, wall ride, some hips, jumps and let them do their thing.
RR: Wow. What was the big moment of the day.
DT: Well some guy gapped the box, which hasn’t been done this year on the new box.
RR: Balls. I noticed you were riding a little 4 banger, what’s up with the full suspension?
DT: Body preservation. Trail riding is taking a toll on me and I need the squishy. Too many injuries. All winter I’ve been trying to get healthy, then at the Bike Battle in North Carolina I hurt my shoulder.
RR: Where have you been filming?
DT: I just did a heli-drop with my hardtail. Super nice alpine terrain. I just hit random natural stuff on the way down-wall rides, drops and gaps.
RR: All on your hardtail. Wow. You and IDUN revolutionized the way we look at hardtails. Do you see the industry picking up on that.
DT: Yeah. Big bikes are dead. Companies are getting back into hardtails with single crowns. People want one bike. Slope style stuff and urban in one bike. Yeah if you have 5 or 6 grand it’s nice to have a resort bike. But most kids don’t get to resorts enough and want one all around bike. If a company made an under $600 all around bike with a long travel single crown fork they would make a killing.
RR: Most kids today never had a xc hardtail. How do you feel about that?
DT: It’s sad really. Those are the roots. Just you and the trails. Now what kids see is straight up downhill or street riding. There’s a whole other world out there if you pedal. The bottom line is that the industry has trouble selling the XC image. The racing is unmarketable and ultimately the industry drives where the next generation spends it’s money.
RR: Where’s your favorite riding spot?
DT: Invermere, BC. There’s this little cabin we stay at right up in the alpine. Right in the front yard there’s a huge shale slope into a concrete tabletop. I could session that all day.
RR: When did you start riding?
DT: When I was young. I raced XC for 6 years and I just watched the scene evolve. From dirt jumping, to technical stuff that keeps getting more technical to resort bikes to street bikes.
RR: Where do you see it going?
DT: More competitions like the Air Prentice. Slope style competitions with stunts as natural as possible. Hips, banks, bmx style jumps. That’s what NORBA needs to start thinking about.
RR: Do you think the BMX crossover is good for mountain biking or is it killing the trail riding roots?
DT: Hmm. Depends on how the rider crosses over. Look at Berrecloth. He takes it to the trails. He shows that the BMX skills are transferable and that they can expand the perimeters of trail riding.
RR: In your travels do you see BMX and street riders getting along?
DT: Some towns they do. Most they don’t. I’m seeing more mountain bike guys crossing over to BMX though. When I was in Nelson and flat broke I didn’t have the money for a new rig, so I rode a $300 BMX for a year.
RR: Where do you like to ride in Canada?
DT: Whistler, B.C. is definately the best bike park. Sun Peaks is cool, and I love to ride Furney.
RR: What about the U.S.?
DT: Sea Otter is cool. I rode Vegas 2 years in a row during Inter-Bike. I’m trying to compete in the Red Bull Rampage this year.
RR: What do you have in mind as far as new tricks for the Red Bull?
DT: Well the venue is played, they need something new, but I’m going to try a tail whip of a decent size drop.
RR: What other events will you be doing this year?
DT: John Henry days in Vancouver. They’ve got outdoor ramps set up, they even have a roof drop. I’m doing a German street competition with dirt jumps, stairs and stunts.
RR: Does your sponsor help you to travel?
DT: I actually am not sponsored right now. After all these injuries I’ve just been so burnt out on finding a decent sponsor who will give me a travel budget to do my thing.
RR: How was Norco?
DT: Well they don’t let you keep your bike, and not a very good travel budget.
RR: What about Drop-In?
DT: It’s about 5 years ahead of it’s time. The industry doesn’t even know what to do with it. We didn’t even have a bike sponsor for the show. Labatt’s Beer was our main sponsor. We’re pushing for it get on the Fox network for next season though.
RR: How did Drop-In get started?
DT: Three years ago some movie industry guys were traveling around in a bus and they wanted us to take them around for a ride. They had XC bikes with barends and they definitely weren’t ready for what we showed them. I think we showed the best riding day of their lives. They had worked on some big movies before, umm I think they did Shangai Hai Noon so they knew how to get things done. They worked that side and Mike Kinraid has industry contacts so he worked that side.
RR: Any tips on sponsorship?
DT: Get your name known, figure out a way to market yourself, and work hard to get the shot.
RR: Thanks Dylan.
DT: Peace.

Glynn O’Brien

Irish rider Glynn O’Brien was thrust to center stage last October at the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, Utah when he stunned the mountain bike world with a 3rd place finish aultimate freeride competition. By creating new lines and pinning the big stuff among the top riders on the planet. Riding for Orange on the European Race Circuit, O’Brien was recruited by Sombrio owner Dave Watson to compete in the with smoothness, he rode his stock 222 to bronze. This year he’s riding for Cove, and is doing a brief stint in BC before completing his European race season. On the shuttle ride up to 19th Hole in Squamish in the West Coast Freeride Guide van, Glynn and I had a quick chat.

Rob: How’s it riding for Cove?
Glynn O’Brien: Really good support. They’re full tilt. I’m super psyched about the Peeler.
RR: How is it compared to the 222?
GO: It’s a bit heavier, but it’s super solid. Good geometry for racing and free riding. I’m getting a new rear end for it next week. It looks super burly, just really strong.
RR: Where are you’re upcoming events?
GO: I’ve got a big race in Ft. William when I get back. Really pedally course with some massive hits. I’m doing the Joyride next week. Really stoked to ride Calgary, should be good competition. Supposed to be a really fun course- nice bike park with high speed wide open stuff.
RR: What’s Ireland’s trails like?
GO: Ireland has some real nice techy stuff. It’s all push stuff, no shuttle and no lifts. Super steep techy root sections, big drops and insane quaries.
RR: How do you get to the top?
GO: I get pulled by a motor bike. The runs are like 2 and 1⁄2 minutes so I can get 12 runs in an hour in. Great training. Keep the goggles on the whole time, no getting cold on the lifts because it’s BRRAAAPPPP BRAAAAPPPP the whole way up.
RR: Word. BRAAAAPPPPP! What’s your favorite spots to ride?
GO: Caprun. The World Cup run is great. So diverse. Really slow techy sections, fast wide open stuff and big drops. I love BC, it’s going off all over the place up here. Virgin, Utah is dope too.
RR: Yeah how did you get hooked up with the Red Bull thing?
GO: Well Dave Watson were riding last summer and he saw video of the stuff I was doing in Ireland. He said it was up to scratch and got me in the door.
RR: How was the terrain?
GO: Dusty, loose. I spent the first day not even looking at lines but just riding. I went out and just got used to the environment. The second day I scoped out some lines and started digging. The line that I rode in the finals I didn’t even get a chance to practice on. I just scoped it like an hour before my run, packed in the landing and went for it.
RR: Cool. How was the landing?
GO: I raked it as well as I could but it was a little soft. Never ridden, not punched in at all. The hip was good, but a little soft. I was just waiting for my fork to stick and eject me, but it went okay.
RR: Do you think the judging was fair?
GO: Yeah. Cedric ripped it. Going out with the backpack on between the 2nd and 1st run and doing the backflip. Fair play! He fully deserved 1st.
RR: What do the judges look for?
GO: They look for guys to try new things. To look confident and strong through stuff. The canyon’s pretty played out so I think they’re looking for someone who just looks good riding it.
RR: How does the rest of the season look?
GO: I’ll be here in Whistler til the middle of July, then back to some races in Ireland, England and Scotland. I’ll be back in B.C. for September.
RR: Cool. Good luck with the racing.
GO: Don’t need luck, I’ve got my shamrock socks!
RR: Word.

Wade Simmons

On the GLC terrace at Whistler, Wade Simmons and I had a chat about the state of freeride. Wade, fresh from winning Gold at the CBC Ripper Freeride Race, had plenty to say about how to sow the seeds of growth for freestyle mountain biking.

Rob: Wade, everyone knows you as one of the godfathers of freeride, how did you get started?
Wade Simmons: I raced BMX when I was younger for 9 years but it was a super competitive scene. I started out in the early 90’s with cross-country riding and the whole Rocky Mountain thing happened in 94-95. From there freeriding just mushroomed.
RR: Where do you see freeriding going?
WS: It’s about to blow up. Look how skiing changed after lift access. I mean it was a total revolution just like it is for mountain biking. It allowed for so many new options to be explored. It’s an exciting time.
RR: What do you think of freeride contests?
WS: Well from a corporate standpoint it’s absolutely necessary. Every company wants the best or the winner or something to attach there name to. For the sport to grow it needs corporate sponsorship.
RR: What’s the best event you’ve ever been in?
WS: CBC Ripper Race. Won gold and it was the most fun race I’ve ever been in. It’s a timed race that has heaps of stunts that if the rider chooses to skip he’s docked time. Super fun stunts, great way to showcase talent that in a straight downhill race is hidden.
RR: What’s the ideal freeride race? Isn’t that paradoxical?
WS: No, I think progressive races that give points for style is a great idea. Ideally the event would take the best talent in the world to a spot no one has ever seen and never practiced. The winner would have the fastest time, with time deducted for dabbing or passing stunts or features.
RR: Freeride in the Olympics?
WS: Let’s work on downhill first. Just like skiing, it went downhill first, then skiing slope style and now look how many skiing events there are. But downhill would be a good start.
RR: How do you feel about mainstream media coverage of free riding?
WS: It’s great. It helps attract attention to the sport. Your average Paul and John has no idea that this is going on. If we want the sport to keep moving on it’s crucial to get new exposure.
RR: So where’s your favorite freeride spots?
WS: Vancouver baby.
RR: Why?
WS: Variety. Everything from bridges to gnarly hiking trails. I’m from Kamloops which is in the interior of British Columbia. It’s completely different terrain than the Shore or Whistler. Pemberton is great. It’s like I go to Europe and people are like, “Oh you must be so bored, there’s nothing built here, blah blah blah.” No, I don’t leave my house to find my house.
RR: Word. Have you ridden the East Coast at all?
WS: Yeah some trails around Boston-Vietnam and some other stuff. I’ve ridden Mt Snow, Tremblant and Mt St. Anne. Fun trails, I’d love to come out and ride with you guys.
RR: Anytime Wade. Last question, what makes a good rider in your book?
WS: Anyone who goes out and goes for it. Just giv’er.
RR: Thanks Wade.