From Dirt Issue 130 - December 2012

From Words by Sven Martin. Photos by Sven Martin.

It was when I witnessed a quiet, shy, humble guy riding a borrowed DH bike for the first time on some scratched out local Ventura California DH trail. Sean McClendon and JD Swanguen brought him up from San Diego with them to run some Freelap times on this short track. This beginner rider, on a foreign trail and foreign bike, went to town and set the fastest time of the day, mostly by making mincemeat of an awkward G–Out bump step–down into a wet turn, that had the other seasoned pros stumped.

Unassumingly this novice rider somehow figured out the intricacies of the section in a split second reaction and sort of seat–bounced his way into a perfectly hooked–up turn and naturally accelerated on exit. I spend most of my days studying the biomechanics, line choice and handling skills of the world’s best riders and I knew what I had just seen then was a wealth of untapped natural potential that ran deep. Fast forward a few months and this unknown rider rolled into the top ten at his first ever World Cup. That gives the identity away of the flannel shirted mystery rider displayed here across these pages. The one and only, Aaron Gwin.