How did you feel coming into the 2016 season?
Empty! There wasn’t the same feeling that I’d had starting any race season before. There was something missing for me and I couldn’t put my finger on it. After I got my first top ten at Windham in 2015, I felt the buzz for a day or so then quickly realised I had achieved a big goal of mine. But it didn’t feel as fulfilling as I thought it would be after all the time I’d spent chasing it.
It felt good getting that result but I didn’t have the same drive to keep progressing in downhill racing like I’d always had, which was a strange feeling. I’d been in it for years and always progressing so I knew how to keep doing so for the next season but it just wasn’t sitting right.
When did you know you wanted to retire?
Crankworx Rotorua 2016. A lot had led up to that for me but that’s when I woke up one morning and felt it was time for a change. It was tough going into a season feeling like that but you’ve got to go with what feels right for yourself.
What were the biggest factors in your retirement?:
I’d raced for 11 years and in that time I’d changed from being a kid who’s only consideration in life was to build a kicker or a berm to rip. The race industry has also changed from the days of hillbilly bike riders owning the companies.
The faster I got the more support the industry gave me so that in turn enabled me to keep racing and get faster, which is what I wanted to do. However the bigger the industry got and the more it wanted to make money, the less I liked it.
It started to grate against what I was feeling but at the same time I was still on the rise with it. I like where I got to in the sport competitive wise and as a profession, and I don’t feel I had to take to much to get there, but I think to progress another level it’d take a lot more consumption of materials, fuel, money and other people’s time that wouldn’t morally feel right to me just for my own gain of being faster.
I can still be a better bike rider, be faster and still do UK races but it’s going to be me and my family traveling in the van using as little amount of stuff as we can.
I realise new product needs to be made and the progression of that is fun too, but I wish some companies would chill out, stop trying to rush all of the new fads out at once and care more about the quality of how products are made, what they’re made of and the longevity of them instead of trying to make as much money as possible.
If more companies in the industry followed Patagonia’s business model we’d be in a much better place. For anyone who wants a top read check out “Let my people go surfing” by Yvon Chouinard founder of Patagonia.
I think this point and the mass use of travel that has to be done to race the World Cups were the biggest turn offs for me as I still think the raw racing is rad and has been some of the best years of my life.