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.

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