Words By Lydia Tanner
Mark Weir is known for his unusual facial hair, his tendency towards longer days on the trail, and the mythical strength of his liver. He also rides a bike real fast. As the namesake of WTB's Weirwolf tire and a new father, Mark has a lot on his plate, especially since his house (and bikes) went up in flames this winter.
We sat down between rides with Weir and his wife Suzie to talk a little about plaid pants, shaving habits, and life on a bike.
First of all, how are things with the house?
m: A little slow– everything's pretty stalled out. Insurance isn't covering any of my bikes or the cars, or the tools– basically anything that was in the garage.
s: So pretty much all my stuff was covered.
How did you two meet?
s: We had kinda known each other… his buddy lived next door– he and his buddy used to spy on my sister and I– they were total peeping Toms.
Then we met again at a party– I lived in the city and he hated the city so he had to suffer for a year.
m: Yeah my friend made sure I kept going to see her. I called her for a date and she didn't call me back for like a week! I went out on a limb and it snapped and I just fell. Then she called me back.
s: He worked at a bike shop and I thought hey, that's kinda cool. But I wasn't sure– like does he have time for a girlfriend? All he does is ride his bike!
What's it like to specialize in suffering?
m: It’s been alright– being super insecure is actually an advantage because you always need to pedal a little bit harder. When you have no options and you didn't go to college and you're working in a bike shop as a mechanic you have to suffer all the time anyway. Might as well just do it on the bike too.
So you never did the College thing?
m: I've got enough units to graduate from Stanford but it doesn't mean shit. I was always just taking all the classes I wanted, but they don't add up to a degree. I hated school, I couldn't stand it.
You might have to get kicked out of the dirt bag club.
m: I didn't say I got good grades. My dad always wanted me to be a dentist, but I was like dude you're barking up the wrong tree– I always took classes like mechanics and shop.
What about you, Suzie?
s: I went to Cal poly. It's gorgeous there– I love it.
m: I hate it.
s: You hate everywhere you're not on your bike.
m: I just don't like crowded.
s: Trying to get Mark to leave this zip code is impossible.
What do you guys think of plaid pants?
s: Long or short?
m: Can you go into the right pocket and always find bubblegum?
Most impressive challenge:
m: Having a kid.
s: Yeah– you didn't have the kid. My challenge would be making my career work with Mark's lifestyle. I love doing it but sometimes it's difficult.
m: It's also always a huge challenge to make it look like you're working while not working– if you're working with a frown you're getting paid, but if you're smiling people start to think something's up. It's also hard to carry a whole bunch of sponsors who base things on the way you live your life rather than race results.
So what are your duties at WTB?
m: I started in sales, and that morphed into racing guy and team guy. Now it's mostly marketing. Basically I get to wear every kind of hat– R and D, sales, OEM-style stuff, and team manager racer guy.
Right now we're also working on showing some young grassroots riders a different way of riding and training– they're not just focused on becoming downhillers or dirt jumpers or xc riders but more of the all-mountain euro-style stuff. We have a lot of young riders in Marin coming out with all the skills– they're not specializing in anything in particular, just riding bikes really fast.
To shave or not to shave the legs?
s: He shaves his whole body
m: I'm built for speed. I don't like the way hair feels, except my eyebrows. I love my eyebrows.
s: We've been trying to get it to grow into a unibrow.
m: It's not working so far.
So what happened to legendary facial hair?
m: Had to shave it for an ad– I was going for a sort of combover and was also trying to connect it to my eyebrows, but now I have it in a bag. I might sell it on ebay.
How are your rapping skills?
m: Not very solid unless I'm very buzzed. Early in the morning; no good.
s: You rhyme pretty well though
m: Yeah but they don't make sense…
What do you like better? Dip or nicotine gum?
m: Nicotine gum is like sugar booger– I get so strung out. I'll take dip over gum any day. I haven't dipped in over a week though.
m: Come on it's been a week.
How do you feel about having a tough-guy husband with a figure skating brother?
s: Well we all know Mark has a little of that in him, have you seen him dance?
m: Hey Johnny Weir is a stud, dude! Besides, my other brother is a UFC cagefighter.
Any closing statements?
m: I would like to thank my family, friends and sponsors for all the help they have given us through the years and in the last few months.
Most of all I would like to thank my wife. She is the kindest person I have ever met and with out her I would be a total disaster.