MTBO – Pro Rider Interview
So, it’s not everyday you have the chance to interview six of the top endurance mountain bikers at once…but thanks to Taylor from the MTB Oktoberfest, I had these fine racers yucking it up for about 20 minutes prior to the final NUEC race of the year.
It was a grand interview. A big crowd. Ã‚Â Applause afterward. Ã‚Â We laughed, we cried.
Well, actually, it was just me that was crying when I went to play back the vid and found out the audio didn’t come through (despite THREE seperate mic checks!!!). Ã‚Â The good news? Ã‚Â I figured out what the problem with the mic jack is, so hopefully this won’t happen again the next time I have a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity like this.
Hit the “more” link to read a transcript of the interview…there are some funny questions as well as race tips from the pros…
This is virtually entirely from memory, so it’s heavily paraphrased, but still entertaining. Ã‚Â Here goes…
HEY, I’M TYLER WITH BIKERUMOR.COM HERE AT THE MTB OKTOBERFEST IN DAVIDSON, NORTH CAROLINA, WITH A WHO’S WHO OR ENDURANCE RACING…
Tinker Juarez, a 2x Olympian and MTB Legend, he placed second at the 24 Hours of Moab this year.
Jeremiah Bishop, the 2008 National Champion in both Short Track and Marathon and a 12-time member of USA Cycling’s national team.
Pua Sawicki of Team Mata, she placed 1st at the National 24 Hour Solo Championships and the current course record holder for the Cohutta 100.
Nat Ross, a former 24 Hour National Champion and new inductee into the MTB Hall of Fame.
Ernesto Marenchin, an overall stellar endurance racer, better known as Solo Goat.
Harlan Price, pro rider for Independent Fabrications and US Ambassador for the 2009 India MTB Stage Race.
LET’S START WITH AN EASY QUESTION…WHO’S GOING TO WIN TODAY?
(everyone mumbles, smiles and looks at each other…)
PUA: (laughing) I am! Ã‚Â Or at least I’ll ride right behind these guys and scare them!
EVERYONE HERE IS PRETTY FRIENDLY ON THE TRAIL, AND A LOT OF TIMES YOU END UP RIDING WITH EACH OTHER FOR MUCH OF THE RACE. Ã‚Â WHAT HAPPENS NEAR THE END OF THE RACE? Ã‚Â TRASH TALKING? Ã‚Â SILENCE?
(everyone sort of chimes in) It stays friendly…not really trash talking, but you stop talking to each other as much…
NEAR THE END, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO ATTACK?
(again, everyone sort of chimes in) You just look for an opportunity…someone may take a bad line or stay in the pits just a bit too long…yeah, you may see someone stop for a bottle and decide you’re just going to keep riding near the end…
WHAT’S YOUR #1 TRAINING SECRET FOR ENDURANCE EVENTS?
NAT: Show up! Ã‚Â There’s a lot of people that may have not come today just because of the rain, but just showing up can make a big difference.
HARLAN or ERNESTO:Ã‚Â …and ride in bad conditions. Ã‚Â At some point you’re going to race in snow or rain or whatever, so if you train in those conditions, it won’t be such a big deal on race day.
TINKER: Just ride your own race. Ã‚Â I know if I go out and push it too hard to keep up with someone at the beginning, it’s going to come back to haunt me later in the race. Ã‚Â Just know what you can do and stick to your own plan and pace yourself.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAIL TO RIDE FOR FUN?
NAT: The network of trails in Eagle, CO.
JEREMIAH: Braley’s Pond Trail in the George Washington National Forest.
(I can’t remember what the other’s said)
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE RACE OR EVENT?
JEREMIAH: There’s a local series called the Tour de ‘Burg in Harrisburg, PA. Ã‚Â It’s a mountain bike stage race and it attracts a lot of top names. Ã‚Â It’s sort of an underground thing, but I guess I’m letting the cat outta the bag now!
HARLAN: Yeah, that’s a great series and one of my favorites, too.
JEREMIAH: As far as big races, the Shenandoah 100 is probably my favorite.
NAT: Montezuma’s Revenge…and this one (MTB Oktoberfest). Ã‚Â Today it’s this one.
OK, SO NOW I’VE GOT A FEW QUESTIONS FOR EACH OF YOU INDIVIDUALLY…I’LL START WITH YOU, PUA. Ã‚Â YOU ARGUABLY HAD THE LONGEST TRIP TO GET HERE (she’s from Hawaii), SO WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE OTHER PRO WOMEN…ARE THEY AFRAID TO RACE YOU?
PUA: I guess so…I don’t know. I was hoping for some more competition, not to dismiss the other women that are out here racing solo… I’m just excited becauseÃ‚Â my parents are here…Ã‚Â this is the first pro race that have been able to see me race in!
TINKER, YOU’RE HELPING PRESENT THIS EVENT…IS RACE PROMOTION SOMETHING YOU’RE GOING TO BE DOING MORE OF?
TINKER: Taylor (Sullivan, the race promoter) told me about the charity behind this event, and I agreed to lend my name to help generate some awareness, and it’s been fun. Ã‚Â So, it might be something I get into more in the future…
JEREMIAH, I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS FOR YOU. Ã‚Â FIRST, YOU’RE ENDORSING THE “MY VICTORY” CAMPAIGN FROM THE US ANTI DOPING AGENCY (USADA)…IS DOPING A PROBLEM WITH PRO MOUNTAIN BIKERS AND CAN YOU NAME NAMES?
(laughs all around)
JEREMIAH: Well, it’s certainly not a problem like in road cycling. Ã‚Â With mountain biking, the sport’s only been around since the ’80′s, and it really formed from more of a free spirit rather than a ‘win at all costs’ attitude. Ã‚Â With road cycling, drugs just became such an accepted part of the culture…your drugs became just as an important part of your regimen as your training, diet and hydration. Ã‚Â By the time mountain biking came around, the move was on in cycling to eliminate drug use and ride clean. Ã‚Â I don’t want to take anything away from Julian Absalon or anything, but, uh, I don’t think most mountain bikers are of the mindset that they need to use performance enhancers to win.
SECOND QUESTION, I HEAR RUMOR THAT YOU MIGHT BE LOOKING FOR A NEW RIDE NEXT YEAR…ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SAY?
JEREMIAH: Yeah, Trek’s changing up their program. They’ve been a great sponsor and a great team… They’ve offered me the opportunity to do a frame sponsorship, but I’d have to seek out my other sponsors for parts, expenses and stuff on my own. Ã‚Â So right now, I’m evaluating my options…(looking in the camera) If there’s anyone out there that wants to give me a ride, let’s talk!
ERNESTO, YOUR BLOG SAYS YOU’LL BE ROCKIN’ A NEW RIDE SPONSOR NEXT YEAR, TOO…CAN YOU SAY WHO? Ã‚Â WHY THE CHANGE?
ERNESTO: Yeah, I’ve been riding the Asylum, which is a Titus-built bike… (that’s all I can remember…sorry. Ã‚Â E, if you’re reading this and want to finish this thought, email me)
HARLAN, YOUR BLOG SHOWS A LOT OF PICS OF BIRDS AND BUGS THAT YOU FIND ON YOUR RIDES…WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU’VE SEEN ON A RIDE?
(I think he was a little surprised by this question)
HARLAN: When I started riding on the road, I was amazed at how many dead birds I saw on the side of the road…there’s just tons of them. Ã‚Â Hmmm…the most interesting thing I’ve seen? Ã‚Â Probably a pipe bender.
NAT, AT THE 2007 CROSS VEGAS, YOU PULLED A BEER FEED DURING ONE OF THE LAPS AND GOT BANNED FROM THIS YEAR’S RACE, THEN YOU GO AND GET INDUCTED INTO THE MOUNTAIN BIKE HALL OF FAME WHILE AT INTERBIKE THIS YEAR…DO YOU THINK THEY REGRETTED NOT LETTING YOU PARTICIPATE IN CROSS VEGAS THIS YEAR?
NAT: (sort of laughing, but definitely smiling) I don’t know. Ã‚Â ‘Cross and mountain biking are definitely different cultures…I can’t say if they regretted it, but if there’s beer at a ‘cross race, I’m probably going to drink it.
SO, DO YOU HAVE ANY BEER RELATED ANTICS WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND?
NAT: Probably. Ã‚Â You’ll see in about 8 hours…
THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME, AND GOOD LUCK IN THE RACE!
– end of interview –
Here are the related links:
Our video post with the pro’s showing off their bikes is here. Ã‚Â Yes, it has audio.
National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest website.
Tinker Juarez’s website.
Jeremiah Bishop’s website.
Ernesto “Sologoat” Marenchin’s website.
Harlan Price’s website.
Nat Ross doesn’t have a website that I could find (the Gary Fisher team bio page is woefully out of date), but here’s the video of him doing the beer feed: