Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thomas Vanderham

Here is an interview from pro mountain biker Thomas Vanderham that i thought you might like.

Vanderham is a real pro athlete. He walks and talks and acts like a guy who could be a professional in any sport; he’s calm and confident and precise. On his bike he goes bigger than most and has more style than most. We caught up with TV from his home in North Vancouver. Here’s what he has to say:

Not riding scares me.

A lot of different things inspire me: aspects of other sports like the size and speed of motocross and backcountry wedges that skiers build. These are things I try to incorporate into my riding.

In the winter I ski, play soccer and I started playing hockey this winter. Its great cross training and a ton of fun.

The coolest trip I’ve done was either Morocco with Roam or Alaska with New World Disorder. In both cases we were able to experience the culture and the riding turned out to be better than expected. You take quite a risk going that far to film mountain biking when there is so much great terrain in your back yard. Its great to have it work out.

I have my own style. What sets me apart these days is that I’m one of the only guys who rides a big bike the majority of the time.

I have always tried to be an all around rider. So I work on improving everything from the basics like cornering to the more difficult tricks. This year I would definitely like to learn a couple tricks and continue to up the difficulty of the drops and gaps that I’m doing.

It seems like the big mountain riders are a bit of a dying breed which is too bad.

I compete, but I’ve never had a result I’ve been happy with. The Red Bull Rampage was probably my best chance to have a good result but I could never put it together. I was also second place at Bike’s Monster Park a couple years in a row but second is a hard place to finish. I enjoy competing, every course is different and has something to offer. I’m hoping that in the next couple years there will be another big mountain event.

Injuries are a given when your riding a lot, so I try not to let them slow me down. I also work hard to prevent injuries. I’ve broken my front teeth, bruised a kidney, separated both of my shoulders, had a major ankle sprain and most recently a broken leg.

I try to make smart decisions while riding and I keep my body ready to crash.

I was born in Vancouver, but I lived in Edmonton for 10 years. Riding there is a little tough, there’s not much elevation and its cold and snowy for half the year. I started out riding cross-country and then got into dual slalom when a local shop started up a series.

The riding in North Vancouver is wet and technical. The trails are hard to ride fast and I think that’s what I like best about them.

My riding goal is simply to contribute something to the bike industry. Wether its through my riding, coaching, or the work I do with my sponsors to make better products. I want to leave my mark in as many ways as possible.

In life I want to stay healthy, learn from experience and age gracefully.

The future of mountain biking is a bright one. The biggest reason is probably bike parks. They allow many people to easily experience the sport who wouldn’t have in the past.

Riding a trail for the first time excites me. I also like a good photo or film session. It’s like a competition with yourself, knowing all the time and effort you put in to building, waiting for light, and then killing it is very rewarding.

The burliest riding I’ve done has been on the North Shore when it’s soaking wet, trails like GMG or Hangman. Big ridgelines in Utah would be next on the list.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Schwartz World Domination

Big Mountain guide Joe Schwartz is on the cover of the latest Freeride Germany....railing his bike in a medow of beautiful flowers. Meanwhile, his younger brother Even is table-topping his steed on the recent cover of Bike Magazine. Ahhh, the two Schwartz' doing what they do really well and getting some solid play. Congratulations boys!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Costa Rica DH: trip report

Alright...bear with us here, we're going to toot our own horn a bit. We recently wrapped up one of our Pura Vida Costa Rica DH mountain bike trips and Paulo and Wade and the crew of riders had a super time. Here are some words from Johannes, a participant from Vancouver BC. "The guides, the trails, the drivers, the people, the country - all came together to make it a most memorable vacation. We were treated like royalty from the minute we stepped off the plane. Riding down volcanoes and through villages, high-fiving the kids hanging over the fences - we felt like rockstars! Paulo and Wade were excellent on the trails. Never pushed anyone too far, always understanding if you needed a breather, or just a moment to take in the beautiful views. Nene and Ricardo took great care in loading our bikes, we never worried about anything but making it down the trails in one piece. I cannot think of anything I'd want to change - it was a well-oiled machine and I am already negotiating with my wife to be able to do
it again next year! Thank you again for everything - I will never forget the experience!" Thanks for the kind words Johannes- we're really happy that you had such a good time. Big thanks to Paulo, Wade, Nene and Ricardo.

So? Are you coming with us in 2008?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Land of Smiles

Just back from Thailand. Good times, very good times. Have you ever been? It was my first time. How nice is it to leave rainy and cold (well, not that cold...) Vancouver and pull into a zone where evening is comfortable in a t-shirt and mid-day is scorching hot? The truth is we got mild sunstroke on a big day of riding and nearly died at the beginning of the trip which sucked. From Bangkok we went straight north, flew into Chiang Rai and did a loop further north along the Burma and Laos borders. Our trip consisted of about four days of riding off and on road, a few days of dirt biking, an elephant ride, a long-tail boat ride and some van driving. We were blown away by pretty much everything. What stood out about Thailand from all of our travels that we've logged were the people...they don't call it the land of smiles for nothing. They were laid back and happy all the time. I love it. Thailand is one of those places that when you leave you, i could stay here for awhile...maybe forever. It's good living over there. The riding is great but the heat is intense from about noon to 3:30 each day. Unless you live for heat, a mandatory siesta is what will keep you healthy. The dining was all time and the hotels too. Oh yea, and the massages too...

Paulo and Wade are riding down in Costa Rica on our Pura Vida DH trip as we speak. The trip is off to a great start and they are finishing up Day 2 of riding...I'll keep you posted!