UP IN THE PARK
Words: Laurence Crossman-Emms
Photos: Laurence Crossman-Emms
British photographer Laurence Crossman-Emms is basing himself in the mountain bike ‘Mecca’ of Whistler for the 2015 summer season. He’s working on a feature series for Dirt called ‘Up in the Park’, chronicling the lives of people who have escaped ‘normal’ life and are living their dreams in one of the undisputed centres of the mountain biking world. Here he catches up with French racer Remy Metallier…
Trying to make it is as a professional in anything isn’t easy, it takes determination with everything you do, sacrificing all you have and in some cases an element of luck; right place right time and all that. Whistler is saturated in great riders, like really amazing riders, but to make it Pro here isn’t just about being fast on two wheels.
The constant temptations that are thrown in your face, day in day out, is enough to make any willing person fall victim to Zog’s Poutine, Triple Vodka Buckets at the GLC and the other ‘tastes’ that BC is widely renown for. To make it here you need remember the reason you came, which admittedly for 95% of seasonaire types, it is the lifestyle of debauchery and bicycles, but for the 5% of pros, blinkers are on and they are looking at that first place Phat Wednesday result!
First arriving on the scene here in 2013, Remy Metallier has quickly become a household name in the village and pretty much worldwide by producing online GoPro videos that people just can’t get enough of, but keeping his signature whip on the top of people’s radars is a tough gig. Spending his time hitting the self marketing hard, training by the lake and shooting more point of view videos he hopes to make it to the top… but even the pulls of the ‘Whistler Lifestyle’ can be tough on him!
Name: Remy Metallier aka. Remy Metallica since this summer… used to be Remdawg though.
Age: 24 years old… on my passport.
Hometown: Cannes, France.
First time in Whistler: Opening day 2013. It was a good day.
Experience Up in the Park: Two seasons.
Best Phat Wednesday Result: First.
Number of Jobs in Whistler: I have had three. Now I just have one… just riding bikes.
Wheel Size in the Park: 650b ladies.
Bro, do you even Enduro: Sometimes I wear a half lid with a fanny pack and pedal down Easy Does It in the bike park. Is that enduro enough? More seriously though, I do enduro, yes. Even though I hate to pedal on a MTB.
Beer or coffee: If I was British, would you ask me, “Beer or tea?” I don’t like beer. I love the sugar I put in the coffee. So coffee.
No dig no ride: Ideally yes.
Worst ever craze in Whistler: Girls wearing knee pads, sweating, with bruises and scratches dancing at Buffalo Bill’s.
What’s the biggest attraction to come to Whistler, why would you ever want to live here?
Definitely the night club sand parties! No, more seriously, the bike community. Whistler is the future in terms of biking, trails, and races. And I feel like it’s the same for other activities too such as skiing, paddle boarding, hiking, etc.
What is summer in Whistler to you?
Hot and dry…good thing there are plenty of lakes! Summer in Whistler means outdoor activities – lake, hike, paddle…and obviously bike.
There is plenty of riding in Whistler, describe what your favourite trail is.
The new Crank It Up! My favourite trails are fast… very fast, full of hero dirt, jumps, some rock faces. But it has to be smooth, with a ton of lines and options.
You could say that Whistler has made you the athlete you today, is this true?
Definitely. Before coming to Whistler I never ever thought that one day I’d get paid to ride my bike.
Pretty much everyone in Whistler knows of Remy Metallier. How have you gone from Zero to Hero in such a short time?
The ladies. Tinder helped me to become quite a big deal around here… No obviously, mom and dad I’m kidding. People know me in Whistler and around the world now. In addition to the two videos I did the first summer with Vince Edmonds and Chris Ricci and the love I received from the bike community, I have made an effort to market myself – probably more than anyone else. My business and marketing degrees have played a large part in my success as a professional athlete.
I can only imagine you have taken some stack up in the Park, what was your biggest?
It might not look like it in the videos but I’m a very cautious rider. I never try something if I have a doubt that I can’t make it perfectly. It’s really rare that I crash. I don’t like pushing myself to the point where I crash. Summer is too long, and now riding a bike is my job. I think I really know where I can push and make things impressive without risking it too much.
Two incidences come to mind. First, I rode D1 in the rain and fell at full speed from the bridge, injuring my head and back. I’m so glad I was wearing back protection that day. The second time was when I did a sweep in the Garbanzo Zone. I was alone, just before Crankworx, and I swallowed a bee. I was not allergic, but I never rode that fast to the bottom. I wish the race was that day…
Could one call you French Canadian now, do you wave the flag with pride?
I won’t answer that question. I am applying for Canadian Residency and I don’t want to have issues.
What has been your all time Whistler highlight?
The first summer, when I was trying to whip and my rear wheel was in front of me on Crab Apple Hits.
What insider piece of advice would you give to someone coming to Whistler?
Be prepared to not want to leave.
Where do you think you would be if you weren’t here in Whistler?
Ibiza… no, probably Queenstown…riding bikes!
Who is that rider that inpires you to get out on the bike?
Lance Armstrong. I like many riders, many styles. I’ll say Bruni, Blenkisop, Vouilloz, Hart, Hill…
High Fives or Fist Bumps?