By Vernon Felton
Back in June we teamed up with The North Face and put out a challenge to everyone out there with a video camera and a bike: find a line, film yourself going big and submit it on our Facebook page to enter for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to Whistler for you and a friend. The winner of the Send It to Win It contest would also receive a $500 gift card from The North Face.
It was a hell of an opportunity and, no surprise, we received a fair share of entries. Bikemag.com readers voted on the entries and the final four flicks were judged by The North Face-sponsored rider, Mike Hopkins, who selected Kurt Shimada's "Go Big or Go Bigger" video as the winner. Check it out below.
So who the hell is Kurt Shimada anyway?
Turns out Kurt is a 28-year old who works in construction and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Amazingly, Shimada only began mountain biking three years ago.
How'd he get so damn good so fast?
The contest winner is humble about his skill set, "Oh, I don't know, I guess I just try and keep pushing myself to get better. It also helps that I hang around a bunch of younger kids who ride well and make fun of me for being 'the old guy'," says Shimada. "I learn a lot just by watching them and by watching movies and just trying to copy the moves I see."
Shimada first came to mountain biking whilst looking for an alternative to racing motorcycles, "You know, just the sheer speed you’re going at on a sport bike when you're on a track—a 100 or 115 miles per hour…I thought it might be good to try something a little less risky."
Wait a second—something less risky? Just how many times did Shimada crash during this video?
"Okay," he concedes with a laugh "yeah, that's true. Mountain biking definitely isn't quite as safe as I originally thought,” says Shimada who’s no stranger to getting banged up in pursuit of air time. “I guess I crashed four or five times, but I'm kind of lucky in that I seem to crash gracefully. I think I also broke my big toe in one of the wrecks—it still hurts—but that's it."
Shimada and friends filmed the sequences just outside of Belmont, California.
What was his reaction upon learning that he'd won The North Face's contest?
"I was so stoked… I just couldn't believe it. I'm really grateful and happy to have won and I can't wait to go to Whistler. I've always wanted to go there. I'm bringing my little cousin and he's so excited he's just bouncing off the walls. His mom's having trouble peeling him off the ceiling, he's so excited. It's going to be great."