(tires crunching on dirt) – Hiya, welcome back to
the Mountain Bike Podcast presented by GMBN. I’m Neil Donoghue and I’m
back, ready for round two. I’ve always wanted a Podcast, actually. Glad we’re finally doing it. It’s been lots of fun, actually. So we’re making plans going
ahead for future guests. We’ve actually got lots
of racing coming up. Next weekend is the Enduro
World Series in Madeira and then the Cross Country World Cup kicks off with two rounds back to back. Albstadt in Germany and then Nove Mesto, then up to round two,
downhill Fort William. We’ll be doing a Podcast
from Fort William, hopefully, catching up with
some of the pros there as well. Thanks for the great
feedback on episode one. Of course you can leave
your comments on YouTube. You can watch this on
YouTube, if you want to. Really it’s a Podcast,
of course it’s meant to be audio so you can
listen along on YouTube. Also it can be found on
Audioboom, so via Audioboom it goes out to Spotify,
Google, it’s on iTunes, and I think Deezer is coming as well. Right, so for this episode we’ve got an ex-World Cup mechanic and
the new GMBN tech presenter, Henry Quinney, so thought it’d be cool to have a chat with you.
– Yeah. Thanks for getting me along.
– Get to know you a little bit.
– Yeah. – [Neil] Ask you some questions about being a World Cup mechanic, so I’m interested to hear a
few of those stories as well. – Yeah.
– Also, get to know you. You’ve been on the GMBN tech show, Doddy just this week.
– Yes, yep. – Get over there and watch that if you’ve not done that already. Really I think it just shows how small the industry is really, the bike industry. I’ve never met you before.
– Yes, totally. – Until like last week.
– Yeah. – But it seems that we know
probably at least 20 people in common.
– Yeah, I kinda subscribe to the theory there are
only 12 mountain bikers in the world.
– Yeah. (laughing) – And you meet the same
people over and over and it’s people that you know really well. – Yeah.
– That I also. It’s not like, oh I saw them once. Often it’s like–
– Yeah. – Oh yeah, you know I was talking to him last week, you know? It’s such a small place.
– It’s funny, at my age as well, there’s
loads of people now that I know working in the industry so it’s just sort of people,
pro racers or mechanics, that have sort of grown up a bit and actually gone on
to stay in the industry and do some pretty cool jobs.
– Mm, yeah totally. – And they’ve yeah, given
you references actually for your job.
– Oh. (laughing) I’ll pay back later, you’ll
have to give me a list. – So let’s start off with sort
of where you’ve come from. You’re British, you’ve
been living in New Zealand but how have you ended
up in the bike industry for people who maybe want
to do the same thing? – I remember just being,
kind of when I first got into biking it was like, oh my god, like this is what I’ve been waiting for. – Yeah.
– You know? It felt like, oh my god, being a teenager and thinking like how? It’s like, I think it may
be a bit different now, although it’s only been
10 years or whatever. – Yeah.
– But it felt like it was just the best kept secret, biking. I only got into when I was like 17 and I was just like, how
have I not been doing this the whole time, you know?
– Yeah. – And from then I just
thought the best thing to be or the coolest thing
to be, and all I wanted to be was a good mechanic.
– Right, okay. – And so I started off just
working like, you know, shops. Here I started working
Leisure Lakes in Cheltenham. – Yeah.
– That was my first kind of taste of working
on, you know it’s funny how you get desensitized to it. I remember when a downhill
bike used to come to the store. – Yeah.
– Like a nice downhill bike and we’d all just be like, oh my god. Like time would stop, you know? Like, holy. And everyone would just be like, you know, jumping on it and like, I want to work! You know that sort of thing? – I think that’s a common theme as well. I think almost everyone
I know in the industry, racers included, have worked in bike shops probably as a mechanic.
– Mm. Yeah, totally. And I think it’s, I mean I
think that everyone should do, it should be like public service. – Yeah.
– When you’re 18, you should do six months in retail, just to learn how to treat
to people in shops, you know? But also it was working
loads of different bikes and after that I kind of, I
was a loose end and I thought, I heard New Zealand’s pretty good. – Yeah. What for riding specifically?
– For riding, yeah pretty much because actually, sorry,
actually a bit before that I actually did my first
season in New Zealand before working for Leisure Lakes and basically I was a road cyclist when I was a teenager,
that’s what I got into. And I got a mountain bike and I thought, this is cool man.
– Yeah. – Immediately, although I didn’t know much about mountain biking, I
knew that Stratford upon Avon wasn’t like the hub of activity and I actually saw a
video, it’s really stupid, I saw a video of Kelly
McGarry riding Dreamline in Queenstown.
– Oh yeah? – And I just thought, yeah
I want a slice of that and I just pretty much
went and that was it and I was the world’s biggest punter. I was absolutely terrible. I didn’t really know,
well, I still am probably. You know I was there with
all my coordinated kit just getting absolutely roasted by these super talented Kiwi riders. – Yeah.
– I was just like, what? I’m coming from like
working in shops and stuff like but I’ve got the Troy Lee kneepads and matching with my jersey. How are you better than me on a bike? – Well it’s a good biking scene. – Oh it’s so strong. – So whereabouts in New Zealand were you? – First season I ended up in
the north of the south island in Nelson.
– Yeah. – And ever since then I was in Queenstown which is just, yeah, such a strong scene. – There’s quite a lot of
ex pats out there as well. – Yes.
– Brits? – Yes, yeah. Brits, North Americans.
– Yeah. – Big like South American
contingent as well. – Oh wow, okay.
– Yeah. – It’s funny, I went to Santiago,
I’ve been there twice now. – Mm-hmm.
– I went with Blake earlier and it’s crazy, the scene in Chile is huge and it’s something I’ve not
been to South America that much. I’ve raced Brazil World
Cup a couple of times and you just don’t really see it. You don’t see it, especially
in our media as such. – Yes.
– I mean, we’re trying to readdress that a bit by going there. – Yeah.
– But, you know, it’s hard to comprehend how big the scene really was in Chile before I went there and saw it. – Yeah, and I heard the
riding’s incredible out there. – It is amazing, yes.
– Because my wife’s from Santiago.
– Right, okay. – So, you know, I’m
hopefully gonna go over in the next couple months.
– Yeah, you gotta get over there.
– Yeah and she says that just
the mountains huge and– – I’ve not actually
been to New Zealand yet. It’s top of my list place.
– Yeah. – I need to get out to
and see Crankworx, really. – Yeah, Rotorua has got
undoubtedly amazing riding. But I think, you know,
I’m probably a bit biased but the riding in
Queenstown is sensational. – Yeah.
– It’s only getting better. The Mountain Bike Club digs. You know it’s funny because
there’s always been amazing descents but only in
the last couple of years where getting to those
descents has been easier and it’s just the unsung heroes that slug out and build the climbs. – Yeah right.
– Yeah, everyone’s excited for kicking in a rut but it takes like, you know, somebody a bit of work ethic to be like, oh let’s get a
really consistent gradient. – Yeah.
– Lots of switchbacks. You know, fair play to ’em.
– So how did you make that step from being
an enthusiastic rider? – Mm-hmm.
– Working in a bike shop to actually working on a World Cup team? – Yeah.
– What team was it, firstly? – Working originally for
what is now Insync Racing which was like the Fun Factory team. – Okay, yeah.
– So with Harry Molloy and that and that was
my first taste of it. It comes from, I think
when you live in a town, you know Queenstown or
Morzine or maybe Whistler? If you can get in a good shop there, it’s amazing the contacts you make. – Yeah.
– You know, I don’t think, you gotta have some substance,
not just who you know. – Yeah, right.
– But, it helps. (laughing) – Wow. I think, yeah I know that from my side of the industry as well. Definitely if you know people. Same in the wider world I suppose but it definitely helps
who you know of course. – Yeah and that was working at Vertigo with Paul Angus, you know
our mutual friend, Pang. – Yeah, so I raced
downhill in the UK with him in the early 2000’s probably.
– Mm. – So yeah, those people then go on to work all over the industry.
– Yes, totally. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– And then you moved on to Polygon UR Team?
– Yes, yep. – Okay so working on,
who’s bikes was that? – I kind of moved around a bit. Originally I was working for Tracey. – Yeah. – Basically her mechanic, Jamie, who also worked at Vertigo
just before I started there, we were really good pals.
– Yeah. – He was kind of not sure he
could commit to the season so I started working on Tracey’s bike and then he was actually gonna come back. – Yeah.
– So, a little bit into the season I ended up
working with Kenta Gallagher? – Yeah.
– But I also worked for, did some work with Sam, Sam Reynolds. – Oh yeah.
– Then did like test camps with Mick and stuff like that. You know they’re all
a great bunch of guys. – Yeah.
– It was cool. Kenta especially I’ve just
got, I’ve not only got respect for him because he’s a really nice guy. – Yeah.
– And he’s genuinely one of the good guys, but also
just, I’ve also always got a lot of respect for like
hard work and determination. – I think his story’s
pretty incredible really. It’s like you don’t
really hear about someone, so Kenta, he was a really
goo cross country racer sort of on the British
cycling program with with good support.
– Mm-hmm. – He won one of the Cross
Country Eliminator World Cups didn’t he?
– Yeah, he did indeed. – And then sort of jacked it all in and wanted to race downhill?
– Yeah, and he’s just such a genuine guy.
– Yeah. – And I think that displays in that. He genuinely felt he
wanted to race downhill. Not that he was gonna make more money. Not that he was gonna be more successful. – Right.
– But he just loved, he was like, I just want to ride downhill. – And gave up that sort
of rising star status? – Oh, yeah totally.
– As a cross country racer. Sort of risked it all to
race World Cup downhill. – Yeah. – It’s really impressive, actually. – Yeah, and he’s, you
know he wouldn’t tell you but the amount of like,
because he’s a very humble guy but he’ll drop in conversation, oh yeah, I actually had just
won this road race in Belgium or whatever.
– Yeah. – And you’ll be like, oh okay cool, so did you do a bit of that? Oh nothing much, I mean I
lived in Belgium for six months but you know, that’s just how you do it. I was like, oh okay, cool,
cool, cool, cool, you know? – [Neil] That’s good to
see he’s all around rider, he’s so good at everything.
– Yep. – What type of riding do you like doing? – I just like, well actually for years
I’ve been a bit of, you know a real kind of trail rider. For me, I’ve never really liked the whole chair lift thing.
– Ah right, okay. – I’d always much rather pedal. – Yeah.
– But I’ve actually got a hip injury and then this season after a few years without a downhill bike I got a downhill bike
and I’ve had to eat a lot of humble pie because oh my god, I’ve been having such a good time. – Yeah.
– I’ve always felt that like when you go and ride some
like awesome back country, which can be steep and tacky, et cetera, loop it’s like you’re curating the trails. It’s like being a fine food critic. It’s like a small amount but that stuffs really, really good.
– Yeah, right. – Then like bike park, I felt in the past, has been a bit more like,
you know your fast food that’s just easy to get to
but it’s not necessarily good for ya.
– Yeah. – But like I said, I’ve
actually been having a good time this season, so.
– Yeah true. – Probably should quiet
up about that. (laughing) – Yeah I need to get
back on a downhill bike. It’s been a long time
since I’ve been on one. I sort of just jump on my trail bike now and it’s just the easiest thing for me to ride, whatever.
– Yeah. I think with trail riding as well, I’ve gone incrementally just lighter and shorter travel bikes.
– Yeah. – Without really intentionally
gravitating towards it. – Yeah.
– But it’s like 170 then 160 and now I’m 140, my bike. Then when you hop on a
downhill bike it’s just like, oh my god.
– Yeah. – This can do anything. You just feel like an absolute hero. – Yeah, totally. I’ve not ridden a modern
one, that’s for sure, it’s been a long time.
– Right. – It’s been old bikes when I rode ’em. So you came from working in the bike shop as a mechanic.
– Mm-hmm. – I guess a lot of pro
mechanics start that way? – Mm, I think so.
– If you look at the World Cup pits? Cross country and downhill
and Enduro World Series, they’re probably all
ex-bike shop mechanics. – Mm-hmm. – It’s funny, I’m not saying
all bike shop mechanics are salty but I think
some of the angriest, saltiest people I’ve ever met.
– Yeah. – Have been ex-bike shop mechanics. – Yeah.
– Why do you think that is? – Oh man, I actually, I
was working in a shop once and this guy started who was
kind of a bit younger than me and he had been working
in some really good shops and he immediately came in
and was like a bit salty. – Knows everything.
– And I just said, “Dude, we can do this if you want? “We can spend six months arguing “and being hard on each other, “talking about who knows which about what “but I’m not really interested.” – Yeah.
– I think there’s almost like, I think it’s sadly like a
sort of alpha male thing? – Yeah maybe.
– You know, like, kind of like puffing the
chest and, oh you don’t know about those 1998 Mazakis? You invalid.
– Yeah. (laughing) – But actually how would you? No one’s born with knowledge.
– Yeah right. – I think some of the best
workshops I’ve worked in have been just like really
about the freedom of knowledge, not about the exclusivity of it. – Yeah, right.
– And I think, people get annoyed ’cause,
and I’m not gonna be like hurling that, I probably
in the past got annoyed when somebody comes in
and you’re just like, oh god, why me? You see their bike.
– Yeah. – And it doesn’t inspire you to be like, and it’s dog whatever, oh.
– Yeah, right. – I know what you mean. I think some bike shops just
need a clip ’round the ear and be like, you life isn’t so bad, mate. – I think if you get to know
the right bike shop mechanic to look after your bike, it can be like a cool relationship where this person can be the person to go to for advice and also give ’em the
cash to fix your bike. – Yeah, totally.
– I guess they have to deal with all sorts of people that don’t necessarily know everything and they want their bike a certain way and it might not be the best way so it’s pretty tricky job, to be fair. – Yeah.
– Dealing with Joe public and their bikes.
– Yeah. – So what would be your
job responsibilities when it comes to a World Cup?
– Oh, making sure it doesn’t fall apart, that’s
the main thing. (laughing) The mechanics actually, I think, when you look at World Cups externally you think it’s like this, you know, multi faced beast and it’s
this huge rampaging thing that there’s, but actually, when you actually go a bit down
to like the structure of it? The mechanics don’t
just work on the bikes. We do a lot like, you know, the driving. – I was gonna say.
– Also the pit set ups. – Yeah.
– All that sort of stuff. And you know you do do a lot,
you cover a lot of basics but I think mechanics, you
know, when I was working at Polygon it wasn’t just, it wasn’t just working on the bike, it’d also be doing all the
ordering, all the stock. – Right okay.
– All the product feedback and development would
be handled by mechanics. And also, even logistically,
that’s one thing when I started doing
that, that’s one thing that I was taken aback by was. – Yeah.
– I didn’t actually have the skills logistically,
because when we’re say, in New Zealand and we know
that we’re only gonna be in Mont-Sainte-Anne for seven days? – Yeah.
– But we also know, the nature of the beast, we’re gonna break a lot of rims in Mont-Sainte-Anne. – Yeah, right.
– So we need to get some rims delivered there,
but you’ve got no where to get them to.
– Yeah. – So you’ve then got like a two day window that you’ve got to get
all these spare parts to. – Yeah.
– And stuff like that for? You know, I didn’t, it was like a huge baptism by fire, oh my god this is like a big operation to be taking on, essentially with no experience
in that sort of thing. Logistically, it was quite in depth. – It’s difficult, I
remember when obviously, well I rode for MBUK Santa Cruz which is a British based team so European World Cups is easy, you just, well we had a
big camper van motor home. You pack everything in there, off you go, you’re sorted, with loads of wheels. But it comes to
Mont-Sainte-Anne or anything in North America? You’ve got to try and like you say, get your logistics over there. We used to actually pit with,
like a sponsor, like Fox. – Yeah.
– So bench with someone like that, they’ll really help us out but it must be hard for those big teams that really want to take loads of stuff. It just gets expensive, I suppose. – Yeah.
– You’ve got to take boxes and boxes of kit and an
easy up and all that stuff. – I think when you got, we
called it the mothership because it’s this huge lorry.
– Yeah, I’ve done a thing, a GMBN van tour.
– Yeah, I mean it’s massive. – It’s huge isn’t it?
– But you kind of, you fall into the trap
of every bike component that’s ever made should be in that truck. – Yeah, right.
– Which is obviously really impossible because
actually although it’s very big you have got very limited space. – Yeah.
– And when you’re at Mont-Sainte-Anne or a fly
away race and somebody says, “Have you got that previous
generation chain device “that went out of fashion 10 years ago?” They’re never gonna ask
it because they know you haven’t got it.
– Yeah, right. – But when they’ve got that anticipation? You know even though you
have got a lot of space, everything is so tightly packed. There’s no wiggle room in
one of those race trucks. – Yeah, sure.
– And cause you go on the road for so long,
you gotta take like tires. Think how much room
that takes up, you know? – I think about that now, when looking at the first round of
the World Cup downhill where they’re running mixed wheel bikes now you’ve got take rims, and spokes. – Don’t even.
– Spokes would be, oh I used to hate building wheels. I used to have a mechanic but sometimes I’d do a lot of it myself.
– Mm-hmm. – And Mont-Sainte-Anne,
Fort William, I knew, especially as a flat rider,
I think, flat pedal rider, I would go through three or
four wheels at those rounds. Rear wheels. Front wheels would last
me all year pretty much but I would then have to take all that kit to make sure I’ve got it.
– Yeah. – Some unfortunate person’s
gonna have to start rebuilding wheels for me.
– Yeah. I remember my first year in
World Cup, so at Fort William and, I’m not gonna name names but, carbon rims, we were
going through them like. – I was gonna ask you that. I remember, yeah, one of the big teams, getting no names
mentioned, big teams going to Mont-Sainte-Anne and
going through 30 rims I heard in one weekend, just
almost expendable things. – Yeah. And, I mean I don’t want to
chuck anyone under the bus, but do you ever feel like, why
are carbon rims so expensive? – Yeah, right.
– It’s because they give so many away to race teams. (laughing) And they just destroy. Oh, can I have like a batch of 100 rims? Destroyed.
– Yeah. – But those, tell you
what were very, very good. Last year, I think the
whole team, so four riders who are all obviously really really hard in Mont-Sainte-Anne?
– Yeah. – Those E13 wheels. I think they did three?
– Okay, right. – The whole team. Which is, Kenta didn’t do one and Kenta? He looks at a wheel wrong and it breaks. – He’s a pretty big guy, Kenta. – Yeah, and he’s, how to put it? Mechanically unsympathetic maybe? – Yeah. (laughing)
– Yeah. – Mick Hannah must break
things I woulda thought? He’s so strong.
– Yeah he is, he is but he’s also, I think, you
know when you break a wheel in a final?
– Yeah. – Who cares? That’s fine.
– Yeah, right. – I mean obviously it’s
disappointing for the points but in terms of actually
expectation, it’s reached pushing. But I think Mick, and you know, and in fact they’re
all pretty good for it, when people, for me an unforgivable sin is first run on weekend breaking a rim. – Yeah.
– What were you doing? – Yeah, right.
– You’ve walked it but now we’re gonna coast
it and then you can decide where you can push.
– Yeah. – But if you come back with
like a busted front wheel? On the first run on a World Cup? – [Neil] Yeah. – Like limited run time anyway? – Yeah.
– It’s just like, you pillock. You know what mean? (laughing) – You wouldn’t like me. (laughing) – Mick’s real experienced. Yeah, he knows when to push the bike, knows when not to, but
he’s also deadly smooth. You wouldn’t think it cause
he’s such a muscly guy. – Yeah true.
– But it’s, it’s pretty impressive to watch. – It’s funny, I always
had a bit of a reputation for being smooth but actually
I used to break more things on bikes than the rest of the people. Marc Beaumont was winning World Cups. – Yeah.
– He looked more ragged than I did, but actually,
I think I look smooth but would punish the bike?
– Mm. – And I remember going to Mont-Sainte-Anne and hitting a bog, going off a drop off, hitting a bog on my first run. – Mm-hmm.
– Flipping over the bar, sort of getting covered in crap and my bike, you know when they sort of catapult?
(smacking fist) And they go, dun-dun-dun-dun?
– Oh, yes. – It down into the woods
and I snapped a set of Fox 40’s in two.
– Oh you’re a bad man. – When it splatted against a tree. – You’re a bad man. (laughing) – Obviously, yeah, first
run, snapped a set of forks. What are you gonna do? I had to walk down the hill. It took me probably best part of an hour and go over to Fox with
my cap in my hands, saying, excuse me, can you help me out? – Oh, that’s so bad. Yeah I remember KG did a
crash at Fort Bill last year and he comes back, “I
think something’s bent” and you could see the
handlebars were like an M shape. I was like, obviously it’s the handlebars so I replaced the handlebars
and this is, yeah, I think also as a viewer when you watch the Red Bull live stream
you don’t understand how limited practice running is. – Yeah, right.
– Yeah. – Well it was different back in my day. You used to get loads and loads so it was simple but
yeah, now, they’re a bit against the wall.
– It’s tight. So when someone comes in
with a big mechanical? You almost want to have a second bike. Just get on that.
– Yeah. – But it’s not really the way. – There can’t be many teams running, or actually does anyone
run identical bikes? I remember when Minna had a bit of a mechanical at Val du Soleil and they were scrambling around trying to get that bike ready.
– But that was um, what’s that? Remy–
– Métailler? – No he rode for Polygon before
and then he went to Giant. Is it Go? Not Govan.
– Oh, Govan who races, does he race Enduro now?
– Oh he does. No it’s different guy, it’s a French guy. I don’t he races anymore
but he used to race for Polygon a couple of years
ago then he went to Giant and he, apparently, instinctively knew what going on.
– Right. – And just grabbed the
frame and just legged it. – Right.
– Literally Mick, not Mick, Greg was still on the floor getting the dust out of eyes.
– Yeah. – Apparently this
Frenchman was just making an absolute B-line to the Santa Cruz pits. – Why?
– Like, fix! He saved it. It’s Grime? Grime something? Oh man, we’ll put something over the top. – Right.
– Insert name here. – Because that would be a real shame. I remember back in the day,
Gee Atherton actually missed his final run. It wasn’t because of
any mechanical issues, completely separate, but
he was just too lazy. Didn’t get up to the top in time and missed the last round
of the World Cup Series. – Yeah, I can believe it.
– Lost loads of points, dropped loads of positions.
– Yeah. – And got a fine, actually,
from his manager at the time. – Oh.
– For missing it. It was well funny.
– Well Sam, has a, this’ll be all right to say, Sam’s got a clause in his
contract that he has to try. – Sam Reynolds?
– Sam Reynolds. He has to make an effort.
– Oh my god. – Because he’s so laid back.
– Yeah. – There’s a story he told
me, he was just like, apparently in some pub in Whistler. – Yeah.
– Watching the live feed of the dual speed and
stuff with a burrito. Look at the guy, there’s
someone at the start gate, they’re not even there, what an idiot. – Oh no.
– Where is Sam Reynolds? Oh my god! (laughing) – As a mechanic you’ve got to deal with these sort of characters who– – Yeah.
– Some are more professional than others, should we say.
– Yeah. – And you’ve got to be a friend, almost be like a golf
caddy where you’ve got to advise them.
– Mm-hmm. – On tire choice, whatever it may be. – Yeah.
– Is that fun? Or is that difficult?
– I love that. – Yeah?
– Yeah. I think it depends who you’re working with because you kind of want, it’s the whole like, you know, unstoppable force and a moving object? – Yeah.
– You don’t want two people that are so robust in their
ideas they’ll never change. – Yeah.
– But, if somebody is too, too easy swayed? It makes the whole exercise pointless. – Yeah, right.
– If you could say, the sky is pretty green today, eh? And they go, yeah I think it is. Like what? You know? Having a rider that knows what they want but actually, what you’re there to do is to help and guide them and inform them. – Yeah.
– And kind of let it manifest in a detailed way. They might not know exactly about, and they don’t really
need to actually know what five clicks of rebound is or whatever but actually if they can
describe the symptoms? And then you can put it into action? – Yeah.
– That’s what’s the good. – Talking about that, I know some riders, some racers are really good at doing that, at giving feedback.
– Mm. – You see it with people like Fabien Barel who developed things over the years. – Mm-hmm.
– But I’m convinced there was some BS with some riders where we’d go testing with
Fox prior to the season and that same thing, like, Fox would often fit something in your fork and not tell you what it was and go off for a run and
it could sometimes be a placebo effect, like maybe
they didn’t change anything, maybe they did.
– Mm-hmm. – Some riders would be saying, “Oh yeah, “that was definitely
better over this thing.” Or, “Those two clicks
definitely made a difference.” And I wasn’t always
convinced that that rider or those riders–
– Yes. – Were feeling that.
– Yeah. – I think they were trying
to say the right thing. – Yeah, I think there’s a big, you know that’s a big pitfall and I think, I’ve got a friend that used to ride for, is it Salomon Skis?
– Yeah. – And they basically
have a camp once a year where they got loads of skis and took the top sheet off all of them. – Yeah?
– And everyone would be like, oh my god. They couldn’t tell ’em and oh
my god these skis are amazing. They might be vocal or whatever, you know? And it’d amazing if we
could incorporate that more in mountain biking.
– Yeah. – Because also you get
people, I don’t know, say you get somebody that
is developing a bike? If he’s been a pro rider and
obviously an incredible rider and I’m taking that away from him at all. – Yeah.
– But if that rider maybe over a 10 year career,
the way that bike cycles go three, four years before
you get a new downhill bike? They might not have actually ridden that many different bikes.
– True, yeah. – Do you know what I mean?
– Yeah, definitely. – I’m not saying to, I
don’t know, you’ve probably since you’ve gone from being
a racer to working here, I’ve bet you’ve tried way more bikes. – Yeah, absolutely, yeah.
– Do you think you could develop a better bike now? – I don’t think I could. I definitely subscribe
to that feeling that I’m not an engineer. I know how I like a bike and
I could give someone advice, potentially, but I
definitely would not think about designing my own
bike because I don’t know what I’m doing and I think a lot of racers don’t know what they’re doing.
– Yeah. And I think it’s almost kind
of Keeping Up with the Joneses. – Yeah.
– Looking over. And you know you see like where there’s like that telemetry and stuff? – Yeah.
– I think it actually does put a bit of fear in some people. – Yeah.
– I’m not saying it’s not probably very accurate but I think there’s probably an element of psychological warfare,
do you know what I mean? – Yeah.
– And people are, oh! It’s like in 2017 season when everyone was throwing 29’s together?
– Yeah. – And now everyone’s gonna be throwing mullet bikes together.
– Yeah. – But then, was it last
season or the season before? Laurie Greenland apparently
went to Schladming and was doing faster laps on a 26, they just couldn’t get
tires to World Cups. – Right, okay.
– Do you know what I mean? Like I’m not saying that it
doesn’t make a difference but I think it’s a long
process of refinement. If something fixes all your problems? It’s probably, you know? It’s probably fake. It’s probably in your head.
– Yeah. – Oh sticking a 29 on a
front wheel of a bike? – Yeah.
– Everything’s sorted. The world’s a good place now. I don’t buy it.
– It seems like a very easy thing for people to do.
– Yeah. – Pretty much any bike, you
stick a bigger fork on it, stick a 29 front wheel on it?
– Yeah. – Are people gonna do
that for round two maybe? – But then again if it makes
the racer feel more capable? – Oh there’s a lot to be said
for someone feeling better especially when it comes
to downhill racing. – Yeah, totally. – Especially that data acquisition. What I think about that is, I’m sure it can be really helpful but you’ve also got to
know what you’re doing with the results.
– Mm-hmm. – So the actual raw data
that comes out of that do you know what you’re doing with it? There’s things now, the consumers
can buy things like this, like the ShockWiz and even the TyreWiz. I’ve always wondered
how useful they would be to your average mountain biker. – Yeah I don’t really get the TyreWiz. I understand what it’s there to do. – Yeah.
– This is the thing, so one of the hardest things
about working on a race bike is consistency.
– Yeah. – Sometimes you go to the top of the run and you see people check
their tire pressures there. Mechanics.
– And it’s different. It’s cold–
– But yeah. But they’ve been checking
it all throughout the week in the pits?
– Yeah. – But then when your pits get hot? – Yeah.
– Pits are hot but then taking it out it’s cold, so keeping pressure’s really weird and it’s got a little light that says. – So yeah, I always thought, for me, it does sound a bit gimmicky but actually I spoke to someone at Sea Otter. – Mm.
– And they showed me how you can just, when you go for a ride, you can press the button and
it will give you a green light if it’s within a certain
amount plus one or plus two PSI of your desired setting.
– But– – Or it will give you
a red flashing light. I though, for me, I’m lazy.
– Yeah. – I quite like that.
– No that’s great. – I’ll just go, boom, boom, yeah, sorted. – That’s great but if you
set your tire pressures in the garage all the time?
– Yeah. – And say you don’t check it then, you get to the top of a run?
– Yeah. – Where it’s always not what
you would expect it to be compared to your garage.
– Yeah. – But then you adjust the tire
pressures to suit it there? Well actually that’s not the constant one you’ve always had. It’s about checking the
same tire in the same place with the same temperature.
– Yeah. – And it’s really–
– It is. – And getting that consistent. It’s the same with forks. You know you need to make
sure the bike is cold. You need to make sure the
negative air chamber’s filled. You need to be using the same shock pump. – Yeah, true.
– It’s like people, oh can I have five shock pump less? Come in the shop, can
I have five PSI less? No. It’s pointless.
– Yeah. – Like, you can say can
I have it a bit softer? This is me being a grumpy bike mechanic. – Yeah. (laughing)
– You can have it a bit softer, but like,
oh I should have 82 PSI. Well not this one, you don’t. God knows, the dials?
– Yeah. – I don’t know maybe that’s a bit unfair. – I got a funny story about it actually. – Oh, go on.
– So racing, with Marc Beaumont, he
had a great mechanic, Al who then went on to work
for the Sky Road Team. – Oh wow, yeah.
– And become a big time mechanic getting paid loads of money. – Holy Toledo.
– But for three or four years he worked for Marc and he
had this super expensive, I think it was probably
Michelin, tire pressure gauge and they would make it to the half PSI Marc would have his tires at this. I can’t remember what it
was, probably like 32. It was back when you had to run tubes. I remember Mark had
had a really good year. I think he’d won a World Cup, probably Vigo that year actually and he’d done really well overall. I remember the last round of the year, I felt his tires and I
was like, holy smokes. That is rock hard. And Al was like, now
it’s just 28, or it’s 32. I was like, no chance. That is not a 32.
– Mm-hmm. – And I got my pressure gauge, or I put his pressure gauge on my tires and it was completely wrong. It was like 15 PSI out. So this really expensive pressure gauge had been giving him wrong
tire pressures all year. – Yeah, I can believe it.
– He’d ridden with rock hard tires and done really well. – Mm.
– And I could think was, oh my god you could have done a bit better if you hadn’t had those
rock hard tires all year. – Yeah, and it’s the same when, say if you were testing,
because sometimes you know if you were testing with
a suspension engineer but you’re not there? And he’s using his shock pump?
– Yeah. I never thought about it
with shock pumps, to be fair. – And it’s like, I know, I
mean John who’s Mick’s mechanic who’s just a fantastic mechanic, you know is really, really
good, I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he is so particular about his shock pump that he
won’t let other people use it. – Yeah.
– Cause if you’re not careful about your bike?
– Right. – And you get a bit of
dust in your air chamber? – Right.
– And then it sucks up into his air chamber?
– Oh wow. – Then he goes to use Mick’s bike? You know, it’d break his heart. – Yeah.
– He pretty much sleeps with it under his pillow,
you know what I mean? And another thing he did
which was really interesting, was before Ken’s world
champs, he got all the tires. – Yeah.
– Seated them with no sealant. – Yeah?
– Beaded them. Judged them on how true they were because they often have a little wobble. – Yeah.
– Graded them one to three. – Why?
– And then, racing was one, practice was two, three was
nowhere near Mick’s bike on a race weekend.
– No way. – Yeah he would do loads
of stuff like that. I would mechanics, you get
the type that make it perfect and they type that make it work. Neither one is better than the other. They both have their place. I’m probably a make it work kind of guy. – Yeah.
– I can do the stuff but I’m probably less hung up
with that obsessive tendency. – How does he go about that? How much wobble would you see
just in the tire manufactured? Would you see much wobble? I’ve never noticed that. – You can do.
– Right. – You can. – I used to race on a rear
wheel that most the time was virtually hitting
the chain stays anyway. (laughing) It wouldn’t make much difference to me. – Yeah, totally. You can do and also you get, I mean it, yeah, it can vary. It doesn’t matter what the brand, it can vary.
– Yeah. So when I started raving
World Cups it was 2000 and actually, Steve Peat supported me so I raced for his Royal
Team when that started out and part of the deal was I had help from his mechanic who’s Andy Kiffin. – Of yeah.
– Who was Steve’s mechanic for a long time, most of his race career I would probably say. Especially the early days
when he was really successful and Andy had a bit of a legendary status within the pits. I remember, so my first ever World Cup, so Andy would look after my bike sort of outside of the season. I’d go up to his shop The
Northwest Cycle Center. – Mm-hmm.
– Mountain Bike Center. It was a really good shop and
he’d sorted out completely, top to bottom, take it
apart, be ready for the race. But then when I got to the
races it was sort of up to me. I was only a junior, so you know, I didn’t have a pro mechanic. It was up to me to look after it. First ever World Cup I
went to, so Les Gets 2000 and out of the start gate, in qualifying, I snapped my chain. Absolutely gutted and
I rolled to the bottom and I remember Andy Kiffin going absolutely ballistic with me,
like really upset with me. He thought that I’d sort
of brought shame on him for not, for not checking
my chain basically. “Every single link” he
said, “You should have “checked that chain every link.” And at the time I was flabbergasted, I was like, that’s crazy, I
can’t have checked my chain, every link. And then it sort of dawned on
me, probably five years later, when I’m moving up the ranks
actually that I should of and actually when it comes to it and I was still doing some
of my own mechanics, I would. Especially actually my
later years, racing Enduro and I was looking after my own bike. I would check everything. Every bolt.
– Yeah. – Visually inspect my
bike, you know clean it, and check every link on my chain. Even if it’s just running
it through my hands. – Mm-hmm.
– But at the time, I couldn’t believe that a pro mechanic would be telling me that,
that you would have to check every single nut, bolt and–
– Yeah, and I’ve always felt that the most important
and hardest thing to do on a downhill that’s being raced, is just make sure the bolts are tight. Which sounds so basic.
– Yeah. – And so stupid but? Say if you smash a rim? That’s kind of, it happens.
– Yeah. – If a headset wobbles loose? That’s unforgivable. – Have you ever had anything
like that happen in a race that was definitely your fault? – I once on Ronnie Widmann’s
bike didn’t do the seat, the seat post clamp. I did it up as tight as you would have it. This is my second ever World Cup. – Yeah.
– I did it up as tight as I would have it at home.
– Yeah. – But it kind of, that recommended talk, kind of goes out the window a bit. She basically, I think she got kind of, she stayed on the bike but
she twisted the saddle. – Yeah.
– She had a saddle bounce. – Right.
– And then suddenly? She’s riding the saddle
with it like two to– – Actually really hard, yeah.
– It makes riding really, really difficult.
– Yeah. – Anything like that,
as far as I’m concerned, another really good example
was actually my first race with Tracey. So I went to Australia.
– Tracey Hannah? – Tracey Hannah.
– Yeah. – For National Champs,
in a place called Bright just outside Melbourne. Met Tracey, obviously utterly lovely, both the Hannahs were, like–
– Yeah, they’re good people. – This was like, oh,
this is big time for me. – Yeah, right.
– Oh my god. – Don’t mess it up.
– Don’t mess it up. And she just had her shock serviced and the technician at her local bike shop had put the shock back on the bike but the way the Schrader
valve sits on the air can? It had to be a certain orientation. – Right.
– To clear when it compressed. – Otherwise, yeah–
– First compression, blew up the shock.
– Yeah, right. – And she came back not
know what was going on and for me, I’m the last
person that’s touched the bike. – Yeah.
– Even though I didn’t know? – You should know, but–
– It’s on me. – Yeah.
– That’s pretty hard. – And it really was a bit frustrating because you want to be trusted. – Yeah.
– And in that moment, you can either play the short
game and go, it wasn’t me. – Yeah.
– Or can actually just say, like, for me it was
always really important that whether I was right
or whether I was wrong, what I always say I would
always be as true as I could. – Yeah, right.
– I would never try and hide and I think that short term it’s like, you sometimes look a bit of a pillock. – Yeah. (laughing)
– But in the longterm? They’ll go, actually, and
then later on in the line if I said, no I tightened that bolt? – Yeah, right.
– You’d know they know, I’d put my hands up if I didn’t. – I can’t of think of any
examples springs to mind of anyone losing a race because
of an avoidable mechanical. – Must be because you don’t hear about it. – You probably don’t hear about it, yeah. – Because people, honestly, it’s like information suppression. I know someone, like you said,
I did a tech video yesterday. – Yeah.
– I’m not going to embarrass them with who because they’re a bloody good mechanic and a great guy as well.
– Yeah. – He forgot the pin in a brakes. – Oh and the brake pads fall out. – Yeah, because sometime if
you’re building the bike set? – Yeah.
– Two o’clock in the morning? – I think I’ve heard of that actually. – And stuff like that.
– That’s bad news. – Bad news.
(laughing) And, I mean, yeah. And there’s lots of
little things like that that can go a bit south
but that’s where having a good relationship and trust comes in and it’s a really important
thing to be trusted. – Yeah.
– Yeah. – It’s a difficult job, really. Like you said you’ve got to look after every single thing on the bike. Potentially be up late
at night doing things. – Mm.
– It’s funny, from the outside looking
in now, there almost seems like there’s a hierarchy
in the World Cup pits of some of these mechanics with top riders are virtually celebrities themselves. – Yeah.
– They have a big following. – Yes they do.
– You see actually, some of the stuff for,
I think it was on Vital from the round one of the
downhill with like John Hall. – Mm-hmm.
– Aaron Gwin’s mechanic? His toolbox looks immaculate.
– Yep. – Obviously legendary status.
– I like nice tools. I take pride in my own tool box. – [Neil] Yeah. – I think it’s really important to be ultimately, so say if Intense,
they’re paying his wages. – Yeah, right.
– So he’s there to publicize them just as much
as Aaron Gwin is, basically. In my opinion.
– Yeah. – You’re there to represent the brand in the same way that
we both represent GMBN. – Yeah.
– We go out, we wear the kit and we’re nice guys or
we do our best to be and that sort of thing is
really, really important. But you know, sometimes yeah, I see, there’s a bit of kind of, how to put it? You see in other pits or
whatever and observe it and it’s like, (mimicking angry yelling) and then a camera comes
through and, oh hi. – Yeah.
– How are you? Now that’s not, that’s not me, man. – Yeah, right.
– Like, I know, I probably wear my heart
on my sleeve a bit too much and if I’m stressed, I’m stressed and if I’m not, I’m not. And if I’m angry or whatever I am? Some people kind of, that
kind of covert personality? It’s not something I really get in to but you do see it a lot and fair enough, I mean if it fuckin’ butters
their toast who am I to say? – There’s also sort of stepping stones. The same as a racer. There’s the smaller
teams, the bigger teams and you have to work your way up. – Oh yeah.
– And I think sometimes, from the outside looking
in, people don’t realize how tight the budget are
on the smaller teams. – Mm.
– And actually people can be let down by things not happening, maybe not getting paid.
– Oh yeah. – I wouldn’t say there’s a
lot of crooks in the business. – No.
– But there are a lot of chancers that want to have a dream team and run a World Cup thing
and it doesn’t always work out.
– Yeah. – And I’ve definitely fallen
foul to that in the past and I’m sure, as a mechanic?
– Yeah. – You’ve seen that happen as well? – Oh yeah, and you know
I’ve heard of stuff like, you know, yeah. Company A gets bought by company B. – Yeah.
– Company B says, “Exclusively, you are not allowed “to sponsor anyone this season “because you don’t have
a marketing budget.” – Yeah.
– “We’re restructuring “your company, whatever,
that is not an option.” Then a week later, company
A signs with a team. – Yeah. (laughing) – I’ve seen it happen from
an external point of view. I’ve been kind of in the
circle when that’s happened. – Yeah.
– Oh yeah, however much, X amount money, yeah you’ll
get it in June after Fort Bill. (laughing) I mean I don’t think it’s even,
I think it’s just naivety. – Yeah.
– I don’t think it’s anybody kind of trying to screw anyone over but– – I’ll say, I think there
are very few bad people, bad hearted people in the business. It’s just sometimes
people are more ambitious than actually is realistic.
– Yes, I think so. – And sometimes it doesn’t work out. – So think in company A mind they think, oh but with this new turnaround we’re gonna get such a
good product out there. – Yeah.
– And company B is just gonna say, wow
you did such a great job and you sponsored a World
Cup team, good on you. That’s some initiative. It never works like that, you know? – So going back to the World Cup downhill, did you have a favorite track
or favorite place to visit? – Um. I think if it wasn’t for the midges. – Yeah.
– Fort Bill. – Yeah.
– But, you know, I love going somewhere that
has a riding community. – Yeah.
– And you see all those people come out, you know they all
come out of the woodwork and they were traveling all
over the UK, to be fair, to go to Fort Bill and it’s
really special man, it’s cool. And same with like Rotorua.
– Yeah. – Awesome community and
then you go to some places and no bike shop in 100 miles.
– Yeah, right. – Like literally sometimes you go places and there’s no, there’s a downhill track, the World Cup track, and there’s literally no
other riding apart from that. – Yeah.
– And it’s a bit like, why are we here? I don’t know, it should be
about legacy as well for me more than just?
– Absolutely. We see the more exotic ones,
like Brazil back in the day, everyone from South America
would travel to that race and it was amazing.
– Mm-hmm. – [Neil] I raced in Japan
in 2000 and that was huge. That was the most
spectators I’ve ever seen at a World Cup downhill race.
– I’ve heard the World Cup is going back there.
– Really? – Yeah.
– I’d love to see that. – I don’t know, I was oh my god is that– – [Neil] I’ve not heard that
but I’m not in the loop enough to have heard that probably.
– I have heard because they want to get
more rounds in North America. – [Neil] Yeah, there always
used to be when I raced. – And just think how much
that could upset the balance? – Yeah.
– So, Mr Big Trucks in Europe? – Right.
– That’s not available to them anymore.
– Yeah. – And then suddenly a company
like, let’s say Intense for example which does
have a big factory program but in the last few years hasn’t. They’ve probably got a lot
more resources in terms of not just money but in terms
of trucks available to them, contacts, that sort of
stuff, in North America. – Yeah.
– So suddenly, actually, and that’s why I have so much respect for the Kiwi guys, the
van packs who kind of, now it’s like this big
huge kind of media thing and they’re all great lads, obviously. – Yeah.
– But those guys? They go to Europe, they live in a van. – It’s the other side
of the world for them. – Yeah, they race, they train.
– For most of the year. – They don’t just, you
know people in Europe, two World Cups in the bounce
so there’s like a month off before the next one.
– Yeah. – They go home, they relax.
– Yeah. – Even if there’s a week before? Week between races? They go home and they relax. Those people from the
other side of the world, they’re sleeping in a van,
still having to train, still having to do all the other stuff. I’ve got so much respect for them. – Yeah, really.
– It really mix up if we go to North America.
– Yeah. – Because even just going
between, easy up and hotels is more exhausting than
being in a nice race truck. – Yeah.
– With a kitchen. – Yeah, it’s hard. I remember back in Japan they would because it was so hard
for people to get there and it was so expensive, I think UCI would stump up a certain
amount of cash per rider to go there, if you had the points, but obviously when you get there no one has a set up really.
– Yeah. – You just work out of the pits. – And that’s, it funny,
the reputation the UCI has in mountain biking which I’m not gonna say is undeserved or deserved,
it is what it is. – Yeah.
– But I would love to see the UCI coming in and doing stuff like, you know if you are, say
they have an income threshold for a team?
– Yeah. – If you’re getting
this, then your riders, like in road cycling?
– Yeah. – If you’re a pro continental rider you get at least this.
– Yeah, right. – Because you sometimes
hear about fantastic riders who basically because they
got into a long term deal or something like that?
– Yeah. – And working like absolute
dogs in the off season. – Yeah.
– You know? I think that that’s the
kind of growing pains that mountain biking, the
World Cup’s going through. – Yeah.
– And I know I think, the UCI governs the sport
but I would like to see more kind of progressive leadership I suppose. – Yeah, you always get
the story that the UCI are just, they’re such a big organization. Road is so much bigger and
track and whatever for them that that’s where, I suppose rightly, that’s where their resources
go but it does feel like mountain biking, especially downhill, is the sort of, the poor cousin that doesn’t really get much attention. – Yeah.
– But, it’s difficult. Red Bull, particularly,
are doing a great job. They seem to have a lot of influence. – Yeah, it makes me uncomfortable. – Yeah.
– To be honest. – Yeah, a sugar drink that
has that much influence on–
– Yeah. – I mean they’ve got a
lot to be thanked for with what they give us.
– Mm-hmm. – But, yeah.
– Yeah but you hear about them cutting out
routes at Leogang to make, they apparently want the home? I mean I don’t want to stand on any toes. Everyone’s probably gonna
go, you’re completely wrong and I probably will be just hated, but they wanted the tightest race. The rumor was they wanted the race to be as tight as possible.
– Really? – At Leogang because then
it’s a better spectacle to the non initiated mountain biker. – Yeah.
– You know people that see tight racing
assume that’s a better race. I’d rather see some
hill put however seconds into people Val di Sole.
– Yeah true. – But they were like cutting out routes. Then the backlash was we
got that new upper section of Val di Sole.
– Right. – But I think they took it too far. And I know you hear about that thing where only on podium can you drink Red Bull and it’s just like, guys? – It’s difficult, isn’t it? You can see why they would want that but when you’re telling people, riders, that their income is from
other sugary drinks– – Yeah, that’s it.
– Or whoever, that they can’t promote their companies? That it not on.
– That’s only gonna harm the growth of other companies coming in. – Yeah.
– You know? – People who might want to, yeah. – We need to make it more. I heard there’s a thing in Formula One, I think it’s called the
Concord Agreement or something? – Okay.
– It basically said for years that Formula One needed to
be on a free to air platform which is why there was
such uproar when in the UK it went to Sky.
– Yes. – Because that’s what advertisers want. They want a variety of
people, you know what I mean? – Yeah, right.
– And it encourages people to come in.
– Accessible, yeah. – Yeah, if it starts closing
off, I think it’s gonna, it could have longer ramifications. I don’t know. – Who knows, I think World
Cup seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment so hopefully it keeps going on. – Yeah. – Yeah, it’s always fun. For me I love watching it again. – Mm.
– After sort of being a part of that scene for a long time after leaving I didn’t
really want to watch it for a year or two. What are feeling like now
that you’re not there? You missing it?
– I got real bad fear of missing out at one point.
– Yeah. – Real bad, and then, and then, that is like, there’s FOMO and then there’s JOMO? Joy of missing out?
– Right okay. (laughing) – And I just think of all those people putting up those tents and you know? I mean you look at place like
Maribor is like a great event. – Oh it is.
– That’s a cool spot, man. – It is, really nice, cool
city as well, Maribor, I used to love it there.
– Yeah. – Just make sure you get out of the alley before it all kicks off. Too late for the people that were there but there used to be a really
good pub down the alley and it would eventually get so rowdy that you had to leave
before the police showed up. I don’t know, I’ve not heard any stories of last week if that happened. – I once got told a story, I don’t know if you were at this
Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup? – Mm.
– I think it was maybe 2009? Would you have been?
– Probably, yeah. – Where this guy (laughing) guys went to the after
party in Mont-Sainte-Anne. – Mont-Sainte-Anne was always
a legendary after party. – I heard it was good.
– Like a 24 hour rave. – Yeah.
– After the race. – And this guy went there to basically, and I don’t know, I was bloody, I was not involved at this point but it just is a great story, this guy went there to basically
just have a big old fight and so he went round–
– Don’t remember that. – And apparently like big
guys were going up to him trying to calm him down, just knocked out. – Why?
– Knocked out. Apparently this big, I
would just love to hear the inside story of that, because apparently this guys’ mates like made a little arm thing around so no one could get in,
but apparently it was just, it was Fab Picous that was telling me. – Why? No I didn’t see that one. – Sounds absolutely wild.
– I do remember seeing someone, I won’t say who it is, who had just won the World
Cup downhill that day which wasn’t a very–
– That’s drilled down options. – Yeah.
(laughing) Was a lovely bloke but
not a very nice drunk. – Yeah.
– And got super rowdy until he eventually swung, hit someone, and knocked out that person and their girlfriend next to him. Or knocked over should I
say, maybe not knock out. But it was pretty crazy. There was some wild
stories back in the day and apparently it doesn’t
happen quite as much nowadays. – No.
– With especially riders. – Yeah, I don’t know,
like a lot of the time it’s just like people are, I don’t know. I have never actually, that’s a lie, I was gonna say I’ve never
been to a massive after party but that’s a lie.
(laughing) But it’s not as prevalent
as you think it would be. – Really?
– Yeah. – So back in my day, it was every week. Every weekend there was downhill race. The riders, 99% of the
riders would be at the party. All the mechanics would be, definitely. But it’s like it was work
hard, play hard, every weekend. – Mm.
– And there was people like Nico that you would see
at the last party of the year, probably, but other than that,
almost everyone was there every week.
– Yeah. Maybe I’m just not in the right circles. There’s probably a great
party going on behind me and I didn’t get the
Facebook invite or something. No I heard in La Bresse was good party. – Right.
– But that was like, I think it depends, I
think someone’s really got to take on the mantle.
– Yeah. – Like when common side are like, or was it Lenzerheide? I can’t remember. No La Bresse, yeah, when
like someone wins something over there, and I think
it was probably big but otherwise–
– I think, in fact, I got bored of them. After a while there was definitely there was sort of the 18 to 22 year olds who were abroad, drunk,
and it would get boring. Once you were 26, 28, you’d be like, oh god, it’s going on, here we go again. – Yeah, totally.
– Someone’s smashing glasses, doing stuff that’s probably
fun when you’re 18. – Yeah.
– But eventually you start just frowning and getting, this isn’t, why are we doing this?
– Totally, totally. – But yeah, I think I need to get myself to some races this year. Well Fort William.
– Mm-hmm. – There’s never really–
– A few shandies. – I mean, it’s all right,
Fort William, for partying but it’s not the best because
there’s a Wetherspoons and that’s about it.
(laughing) There was a good Red Bull and
I want to say a Jeep party and it had free drinks, that always helps with partying, I suppose.
– Yeah, it does help. – I remember Josh Bryson
getting thrown out of that party for climbing
on top of the Jeep because there was a bike on a bike rack on top of the Jeep.
– Oh nice. – And he thought it’d
be a good idea to try and ride that bike.
– Yeah, yeah. – And the head of Jeep did not think it would be a good idea,
so Josh was thrown out the back door.
– Josh Bryson shaped bump in the bonnet.
– Yeah. Although I think he did reappear at some point.
(laughing) Yeah, so, have you got
any good, wild stories from World Cups or is all too– – Oh, I think.
– Getting too serious. – I think, actually, trying
to, a non, without? (laughing) Last year we had a pretty weird
one going down to Leogang. So, I mean you know I was
saying the joy of missing out? So for instance I flew
from my parents house in Stratford upon Avon, flew to Toulouse to pack the truck which is like, you know when you’re going to
Mont-Sainte-Anne for instance that’s 30 boxes.
– Right. – And like you’re jet lagged before you even get on the plane. I’ve done before, like, yeah.
– Yeah. – Our warehouse is in a place called Cast and it was called the Cast All Nighter because I would have to do an all nighter before we left.
– Yeah, right. – I would do like 36 hour, anyway. So I did that, fine. Went up to Fort Bill,
so I drove in the truck which obviously knew it was 100K all the way to Scotland,
which is a long way. – Yeah right.
– Just as we got off the ferry in kind of north of England, puncture. – Oh.
– Which is like 7 hours on the side of the motorway. No problem, you take it, it’s fine. Got to Fort Bill, set up, sweet. Then driving to Leogang, which
is also a really long drive when we got to Germany,
actually sorry I should say, this is a bit naughty but they’d be like, okay so you’re pretty tired, you can sleep in the back of the truck if you want to. – Yeah, we used to do a lot of that stuff in the back.
– Obviously, it’s a bit, it’s a whole lorry body that
could detach from the trucks, it’s a bit dodgy.
– Yeah. – So I’m there, this was
going down to Frankfurt. – That’s the Polygon truck is it? – Yeah, the Polygon truck.
– Yeah. – And basically I used to
download like Age of Empires and all those old games I used to play because basically you can play ’em when you’re really tired and
you got like a 10 hour drive and just just sit there like.
– Yeah. – I told the manager I was
gonna be upstairs sleeping. I was downstairs in the kitchen just cup of coffee.
– Yeah. – And, we had another puncture. – Oh man.
– And the wheel exploded which is basically–
– That must of come as a bit of surprise.
– It’s about half a meter away from me, like, and then I’m just like (mimicking being jostled in truck) like the whole truck’s
like bouncing up and down and we’re like
(grimacing) and so I’m like absolutely like oh my god, so I try and like put everything away whilst the trucks like slowing down. Then, oh what’s happened guys? Oh I was just upstairs
getting some kip, whatever. Anyway so we get 10 hours
on the side of the motorway. – Oh man.
– Oh my god. So we get this all sorted.
– Yeah. – Fine, then we carry on. We’re driving for about two hours? And we get flagged down
in this routine stop by German police. – I think I’ve heard about this. Wasn’t the story that
the truck is too big? – Oh yeah, but the story you didn’t hear? – Right?
– Was that I was asleep in the back still.
– Oh man. – And I just got a message
saying, “Don’t move.” – Don’t make a noise.
– “Don’t come down.” Because they’d said, “Sweet
so three foreign nationals? “Passports?”
– Whoa. – So they were in the front and they gave three passports down so then we basically
were lying to the police. And they’re walking around
and I just hear this guy go, “Oh the trucks quite tall.” And they get a tape measure out. “Oh, it’s too big to
travel on German roads.” – [Neil] Then what? What’d you do then?
– Well then, the trouble bit with
this guys was actually a bit of a mountain biking fan myself. – Oh right, okay.
– Is it okay if I take a look inside the truck? I’ve always wanted to. And I could him and I was like. I’ve got like a little crappy curtain because it’s like bunk beds. So I pull it along and stuff my feet down the side of the bed
and I’m just lying there like oh god. And then I’m just trying to
make sure my phone’s on silent and stuff and they come
in and they’re having this long conversation
in German, stood like, this guy’s knees are like, I could see through the
little hessian curtain and I was just like, oh my god. Oh it’s amazing, wunderbar, and
all this, that and the other walking around.
– Yeah. – They were in there for a long time, man and I’m just there like, oh god. So they leave and I very stupidly, so we were stuck there for a long time while they were doing
all this regulation check and trying to find out what to do. Eventually like I looked out the window and heard the door open and
the team manager was like, Henry, run! And so they were the other side, the back, so it’s like parked longways,
the other side of the truck and the door on the side
opened kind of halfway down the rectangle, if you see what I mean? – Yeah.
– And he just said, “Run in a straight line.”
– To where to? – To a hedge!
(laughing) To a bloody hedge mate. I’ve been in that truck
for about 10 hours. I needed to go to the
toilet so bad, I was hungry so I just ran into a hedge
then like went along it into the back of a service station. Just gorged myself on like awful food and then just sat there watching the truck pretending not to have come in the truck because they were there for
like another couple of hours. And then we just got a Mercedes Sprinter that basically we had
to unhitch a trailer, drive along, get a rental car and then we got a Mercedes Sprinter, plumbed as much stuff
in there as we could. – Nightmare.
– And absolutely spanked it to Leogang and we got there like? – Wow.
– It was touch and go man. – Some funny road stories, yeah. – Yeah and then there’s stuff like, actually my favorite
story of last year was, John got the wrong day to
fly to Mont-Sainte-Anne. – Oh no.
– And we were like John, where are you? He was like, my flights tomorrow. We’re like, no it’s not. And he was like, oh, right, okay. And basically in that
situation you’ve got to shout your own ticket, because
it’s your own fault, you know what I mean?
– Yeah. – And he rings up Mick
because Mick’s got a bad hand and isn’t sure if he’s gonna race. – Yeah.
– So it was like, oh, hey man! I’d love to come to Mont-Sainte-Anne but just making sure you’re gonna race and Mick was like, I don’t
know, I mean I might do. It’s like– – [Neil] I think you probably shouldn’t. – Yeah, totally, like, I’m
happy to buy the ticket but uh, you know? He’s like buying a house
and stuff at the moment. – Yeah, it’s gonna be a thousand quid. – Yeah, totally a thousand quid. He was just like, so, I’m
really supportive of your choice to race, I’m happy for you to race but man if you’re not gonna
race just let me know now. No, I’m pretty sure, I’ll give it a go. Okay cool, do you want to hop on? He hadn’t ridden a downhill bike since the crash at this point.
– Yeah. – Do you want to hop on the bike and just roll around the carpark? – And ring me back.
– And just ring me back. No, I mean, I’m 50/50
but I’ll probably race. So John goes over there,
Mick doesn’t qualify. He’s just there like.
– Gutted. – Oh my god. He’s like, no it’s fine, yeah, no worries. And obviously, you know, you
couldn’t be angry at Mick, he gave it a good shot,
it’s just his hand was sore. – Yeah.
– But it was just like? – Yeah, what do you do?
– Sweet, cool, cool, cool. (laughing) – I remember a story, a
road story, back in the day, the Hope, you know Hope Technology brakes? It was at Will again I think, we had a Round the World Cup there and one of the guys had driven the van a bit too enthusiastically, should we say, and put it in a ditch
and it was that Sprinter, kitted out, it was a
really cool Sprinter like. The best racking. You can imagine the amount
of spares they have there so olives for whatever,
bolts for whatever, thousands of things and they’d
thrown it into this ditch and there was stuff everywhere and they had to ring up Will Longden who was my team manager at the time, say, “Can you go to a hardware
store and buy as many buckets “as you can fit in your car
and come and help us out?” And they were shoveling buckets out of this like, you
know, like a wet ditch, like a dike, with buckets of Hope kit. I think the van was written off. – Yeah.
– 20 grand’s worth of racking inside the van was written
off and all that stuff. – Oh, no, no, no, no.
– The guy kept his job but I think he had some explaining to do when he got back to–
– Oh my god, that would suck. That would absolutely, because
there’s stuff like that, there’s stuff that goes
wrong and you see it before your eyes and
you’re like, okay, cool, at least it’s all in here. But imagine opening those van doors? – Oh!
– Just please baby Jesus. No!
– What can you do? What a nightmare.
(laughing) – Yeah man.
– What about sort of downhill bikes? If there anything you think
of like future downhill tech that we might see?
– Yeah. – Obviously we’ve seen electronic gears come to trail bikes.
– Yeah. – I could see that
potentially crossing over. It’s one of those things you don’t need. – Yeah.
– I’ve ridden them both, Shimano and SRAM, I think it’s nice and I then I sort of forget about it when I go back to normal bike. But do you think that could
potentially come to downhill? – Yeah, I think that like, in some ways, like in my kind of experience
Shimano’s been lovely to live with.
– Yeah. – SRAM’s been great to race,
on like your trial bikes you know?
– Yeah. – I feel that Shimano’s
suck a smooth shift and it’s just like easy, easy going. – Yeah.
– But when you’re actually dropping the hammer?
– Yeah, right. – That like bang of SRAM?
– Bang, yeah. – Is so nice.
– Yeah, true. – And I think that kind of
when being pushed aggressively that’s when the having a
nice group set comes in to. – Yeah, electric gears,
what I do like about it is they’re so quick shift.
– Mm. – I think maybe you could
see ’em on downhill bikes? – I would think it’d be really cool. I think there’s gonna
be stuff like, you know, Enduro bikes, I’d love to have
a saddle and shock tricked up so when the saddle’s up,
the compression doubled up. – Someone’s done that,
haven’t they, I think? I can’t remember who.
– If it was wireless, it’s be so neat.
– Yeah, true. – And similarly, I’d love
to have, you might have seen Troy Brosnan on his
bike, he had rounded out but he had a spacer on his cassette. – Yeah.
– So he could slide it in so it’s a bit more active.
– Yep, so I did that as a video actually last year.
– Oh did you? – And it really helps.
– Yeah. – The problem is, shifting back out of it can be a bit dicey, snapping chains. – What if you had an electronic gear? – Neutral.
– A neutral? – Yeah.
– Or something like that or you could have, I think
people are kind of really, I think people argue about
what they understand. 29 is easy to argue about because it’s easy to understand. – Yeah, true.
– I think the kind of thing that’s coming in with
the high linkage bikes? People talking about brake
jack and stuff like that? – Yeah.
– Because they’re beginning to understand it?
– Yeah. – And I think that maybe
that could lead the market. I’d love to see more
gearbox downhill bikes and stuff like that.
– Yeah. – But that’s just me.
– Oh it’s been going around for 20 years, probably.
– Yeah. – [Neil] That sort of
dilemma of gear boxes and we still haven’t seen a good one. – No, and I’d love to see,
and I think road biking is going a really interesting
way where people are accepting that the bike that they want, isn’t necessarily the
bike the racer wants. – True, yeah.
– I would love, I think downhill could become
more of like a concept sport. – Yeah.
– Not to say that I’ve got, I can imagine it doing so. I haven’t really got an
interest in it becoming one but just, Enduro bikes
are becoming so capable and also, just like the long, super long, which is benefit if you
are racing downhill, you want a long bike.
– Yeah. – If you are going around, even something like the Menagerie
Trails around, you know, in the UK downhill world. You see so many people just like riding in bike parks and stuff that
have these incredible long, low bikes.
– Yeah. – Without sounding like I know it all, they haven’t got the
basics of cornering dialed. – Yeah, right.
– So it’s just gone to waste. – Yeah, true.
– They’re basically just making their life a lot harder. – Yeah, I mean you see a
bit of that concept stuff with downhill bikes where
they are getting longer, lower and slacker but also, especially with the mixed wheel bikes, well maybe that’s come from
Enduro, actually, saying that because Martin Maes has done it before. – Yeah.
– But is not really out in the wide world yet, no
one’s really riding around, not many people are
riding around their trails on those mixed wheel bikes, yet. It may come.
– Yeah. I think with stuff like
that, Martin Maes stuff, you got to look at it in the context of what Martin Maes has available to him. – Yeah.
– It’s not like, he can just pick any
bike up off the shelf. He’s got to make GT
bikes work best for him. – [Neil] There’s also something to be said for some of those racers, like you say, putting the big wheel in front because they can’t actually
stick the big wheel in the back.
– Yeah, totally. – Because they don’t have
the bike that will take it. – Yeah, and you know
I think so many people are so quick to jump on. Martin Maes is a great example. If you think he’d, and apparently
he like talks about this. – Yeah.
– When they got away from the iDrive, like last
year, whatever it was? – Yeah.
– That was the first full suspension bike he’d
ever ridden, was an iDrive. – Oh wow.
– You know? Like a whole new world
was opened up to him. – Yeah.
– And you talk about racers like, oh they can just do this, do that. And actually, the way
that it works, you know, the 20-whatever it was, 2021 stuff is probably already
concrete, into production, what’s gonna be made.
– Yeah. – It’s not just like it
turns on a five pence. It’s a big beast this
bike industry we’ve got to work around.
– Yeah, totally. – And I think you got to view it in, yeah, there’s probably great bikes that ride fantastic with the mullet. There are probably great
bikes that ride fantastically with 29, but a good rider, on his day? – Yeah, ride anything.
– He’s not gonna tell the stopwatch, oh
actually, I’ve got two 26. He’s still going bloody quick.
– Yeah, exactly, yeah. There’ll always be a way. It’s all, I hate to use
the word marginal gains, because the connotation of it but it is, downhill racers, well all racers, are always looking for
marginal gains everywhere. – Yeah, I think, I
subscribe to that as well. I’m not shunning it. I just think in the wider conversation, we have to acknowledge
the riders don’t have infinite resources to just turn to whatever they want.
– Yeah. – It’s not like he can
just put his hand up, hi guys, so tomorrow I’d like?
– Yeah. – That’s a long conversation
and it’s about bike cycles. Say if they brought out a bike last year that he doesn’t like?
– Yeah. – Well tough luck, you’re
gonna have to wait three years. – And you’re also, you also have to have a certain amount of sway because actually, oh 2005/2006? I was riding a Santa Cruz
V10 and I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get on with it at all. It just didn’t suit my style of riding. For me it had too much travel but I couldn’t go to Santa Cruz and say, well I think you’ve need to change this because they’ve got Nathan Rennie and they’ve got Steve Peat
winning World Cups and that so my word has no sway with that company. – Yeah, totally.
– So you also, you have to have a
certain amount of respect to influence a bike company
which isn’t easy to come by. – I think especially
with consultancy firms. When you’re dealing with like,
say you’re making a bike, you know Donoghue Bikes,
I can just say to you, this one, this is what I want.
– Yeah. – If you’re outsourcing your development to the consultancy firm?
– Yeah, right. – Suddenly it’s not often the same thing. – Yeah.
– Because they’ll actually be working off a design principle. – Yeah.
– Think of kind of, is it Cesar Rojo who
does the Mondraker Bikes? – Yeah.
– Darrell Voss who does Reactor Play, does the Polygon Bikes. A lot of the consultancy
firms will basically have an idea in their mind
and they’ll probably pitch it to a manufacturer?
– Yeah. – But that’s not what’s gonna happen. So you as a racer going?
– Yeah it doesn’t. – Have you met an engineer?
– Yeah. (laughing) It’s definitely interesting
how people develop bikes and yeah, how racers have some influence. It’s not much.
– Yeah, totally. – Henry, you’re here at GMBN Tech now. – Yes.
– You’ve gone through the bike shop to the race mechanics. – Yeah.
– To ending up here. – Yeah.
– Sort of almost similar path to me really, but, would
you have any advice for someone trying to get
into the bike industry? – Oh yeah, just, I don’t know, I would say don’t be afraid
to put yourself out there. – Yeah.
– You know? Just like, especially
with like your own riding. I don’t know, I think if you
really enjoy riding bikes and you really want to work in good shops? And you want to find that experience? Then it’s probably not gonna happen in a small community bike shop. – Yeah right.
– In Norwich. – Put yourself in the right environment. – Yeah, get yourself out there. Although it’s not a, I mean there are probably lots of people that would disagree with this
and call me complete opposite, but just being like an
easy going, nice guy is probably, you know, for those people, he’s an absolutely pillock,
don’t listen to him! But you know what I mean? I think if you just, go see who’s in town. Just ride your bikes, enjoy yourself. I think if you just, I don’t know, how to put it? Yeah, be open to opportunity.
– Yeah. – You know? And that’s like, don’t
be afraid to just say, yeah, I’ll do that, you know?
– Yeah, definitely. You’ve got to work your
way up the ladder somehow. – Yeah, totally.
– Can’t start from the top. Is the GMBN Tech role the top? I don’t know. (laughing)
– I don’t know, man. It’s bloody cool though,
I’m absolutely stoked. – Nice one.
– Yeah. – Well it’s good to have you here. I think we’ll wrap it up there. That is the second ever GMBN Podcast. – Nice. – Yeah, available on Spotify, Apple, on Audioboom, where else? Deezer hopefully and Google. Next week is the EWS
Madeira, so I think it’s me and Martin in the studio for that one, chatting over results but,
yeah, that’s it for this week. Cheers for joining Henry.
– Sweet, thanks man.