Long is a photography legend of the sport who has shot the old Rampage site countless times. Did having him there influence things you rode?
Long is so much more than just a photographer to me. I have known him for a long time now, and he has been with me through a lot. He knows me, my personal limits, and what I am feeling better than anyone. Long also knows the Utah ground very well, so having him around influenced what I rode in a big way. I could look over to him and without me saying anything, he’d give me guidance on what I should and shouldn’t do. I think he encourages me to do what he knows I can do, but at the same time, he is not afraid to steer me away from something I should not be considering.
But it goes beyond riding. He is such an asset to the whole process of a project like this. This project would have been very different if Long wasn’t involved. It’s hard for me to put into words how appreciative I am of him.
You’re one of a select group of people out there sending it on an e-bike. How do they handle in the air and what do you think the limits are?
My thought of the limits for e-bikes changed in a huge way after this trip. I originally thought I might already be close to the limits. We spent almost a week out there riding, and there was never a time where I wanted a different bike, or I felt this one wasn’t up to the task. If you think about it, e-bikes are really just a normal mountain bike with a little assistance motor, some extra weight and a lower center of gravity. So in a way, they are able to handle the terrain better than a normal bike. I really feel like the limits of e-bikes are much so much further than that of current mountain bikes. I am excited for what it is to come.
Do you think there are any parallels between people’s views on e-bikes today and how people viewed freeriders when the first rampage was happening?
I think there definitely are. Right now e-bikes are kind of outiders in the industry. It’s a new thing and people aren’t sure what to do with them. They defy the neat little boxes of the industry. I can’t say they’re the same a freeride, but I do think that just like freeride, e-bikes will be taking off in the future and will definitely gain acceptance in the MTB community.
How do you think e-bikes will evolve, influence or otherwise change big mountain and freeriding? Do you think they have a place in that genre of riding?
I think it will take a while for people to start using e-bikes for this type of riding. But when they do, big mountain and freeride will take off in a new way. The fact that you can now climb a long steep technical hill, turn around ride down on the same bike, changes everything. The ability to go explore and ride unridden terrain is far more appealing to everyone with e-bikes. Wether you see it as good or bad, opening that door is huge. I predict in the coming years, freeride will have a new wave of energy, and you will see a whole lot more of it happening with pedal assist.