Video by Rupert Walker/Photos by Bryce Piwek/Words by Dustin Gilding
I’m an extremely lucky guy. Growing up, I was given the opportunity to try many different sports, from hockey to skateboarding, and was greeted with nothing but support from my family if I ever felt the urge to try something new. In 2006 we moved to a piece of property on Sumas Mountain, and by fantastic coincidence, I’d recently taken up a new hobby in the form of mountain bike “free riding” as Drop In had taught me I was supposed to call it.
As a young and eager grom, I was extremely passionate about riding my bike, but up to this point had limited building experience, so this new home was a dream opportunity for me. A blank canvas if you will, a place to build whatever I wanted to ride, provided I could figure out how to get these features from vision to reality.
The enormity of this amazing situation was not lost on me, and from day one I was motivated to put in as much effort as I could to maximize the potential of my space. It was an extremely long process, with countless failed attempts and frustrating days in the dirt, but eventually I started to put the pieces together. It was a very symbiotic relationship; as the yard grew and progressed, so too did I as a rider, because there were definitely times when my creative imagination had left me with lines or features that may have been ahead of my skill level, pushing me harder all the time to be better on my bike.
On the other hand, as my riding ability grew, so did my vision for what I wanted to create, and I was once again lucky enough to have parents that recognized how much not only riding meant to me, but digging as well, and allowed me to expand the yard into a place with riding for all three of my bikes.
Jump forward a few years and it’s now late in the 2013 season, and for a number of varying reasons, over the past year and a half I really haven’t been able to enjoy the yard at all. I’ve lived away from home with University occupying a large chunk of time, and I also got the chance to work for Joyride on the 2013 Crankworx course this summer in Whistler, an opportunity I fully credit to the building experience I’ve gained here over the last six years. A broken leg suffered in late July meant I was coming home earlier than expected, but it would be a long period of time before I’d be able to put a shovel, let alone tires, in the dirt.
As much as it’s an obvious bummer to be hurt, there could be no greater motivation for me to work hard in recovery than knowing what was waiting outside my door. Nearly four months after surgery I was cleared to ride again, so I proceeded to head straight for my downhill trail, a line I’ve come to refer to as “The Track.” Rupert Walker and Bryce Piwek came to document the first weekend back, and this is what we came up with. Hope you guys like it.
(And huge thanks to DMR, Fox, Smith, Dissentlabs and Republik for their support this year!)