Words and Photos by Danielle Baker
This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Jessamy Carmen Tippie, the heiress to the Brett Tippie legacy and 4-year-old mountain biker. She was the Lance to my Oprah, but unlike Mr. Armstrong she wasn't afraid to answer the hard questions as we tackled everything from wheel size to unicorns.
What do you like best about riding bikes?
Well, I do love to bike ride a lot and a lot and a lot, because it's fun! I've always ridden on my pedal bike up the mountain and then one time I went far up and I couldn't do it anymore so that's the part I don't like. The part I do like is going down! My favorite part is going fast!
I suspect Jessamy is a true downhiller at heart.
Are you faster than the boys?
Yeah. I don't really like the boys. Boys play with trucks and stuff like that.
Who is your favorite mountain biker?
My dad (Brett Tippie), he's silly. He talks a lot and laughs a lot. We sort of have the same laugh. He makes people laugh. My dad always tells me to be riding bikes.
Do you know what your daddy does for a living?
Do you get to watch him ride?
Yeah. Did you know I went to the bike park one day? It was just the bike park with rolly stuff and bumpy stuff. And there was mountains and there was some that my Daddy could go up.
Do you have a favorite trail?
Yeah, Daddy and I sometimes go there. That's a little hard for me, with the bumps. Daddy helps me out with the roots. The rocks are too bumpy but I like the wood cause it's smooth.
Jessamy chose not to elaborate on the trail location or name. She refused to discuss her views on illegal trails, instead changing the subject to chocolate chip cookies every time I brought it up.
Do you do any tricks?
I can stand up and pedal and I can stand up and not pedal.
Wow. That's awesome!
Jessamy is modest about her career accomplishments.
There's only three more cookies left. I'll go ask mommy to get us a little bit more.
After some negotiation over cookies we got back to the interview.
Does your dad teach you how do to do stuff on your bike?
Yeah. He teaches me how to stand up and not pedal, but I can't jump yet. I think he said he'll teach me when I'm a little bit older. And I can put my front wheel up on my run bike.
What do you want to learn how to do next?
Jump and do a bunny jump, it's called a bunny hop.
Do you want to learn to bunny hop to go over roots or just to be cool?
Well, I think to be amazing.
Do you like going night riding with your dad?
What is your favorite part about night riding?
My favorite part about it is just bike riding.
What do you recommend for other young athletes for pre-ride nutrition?
And post-ride recovery food?
Cookies. I like the chocolate chips.
Who did your custom sticker job on your helmet?
I did. I chose the spots for all the stickers. I like the sticker that has a skull and all the princesses and Doras.
It is obvious that a lot of work and careful application went into the design, what is your favorite detail on your helmet?
My dad's on it, so that's my favorite part.
If you could design a helmet for other girls, what would it look like?
I would put princesses on it and bike riders and maybe some cool stuff like skulls. And it would be pink and purple with sparkles.
Troy Lee may have some competition for bling helmet designs in the future.
Who is your favorite princess?
That's a hard one.
Are there any that ride bikes?
Out of all the princesses, which one do you think would ride a bike?
Jasmine because she wears pants.
Would you rather be a mountain biker or a princess?
A mountain biker.
What's your favorite color?
Pink and my next favorite color is purple. My bike is pinky-purple.
As you know there has been much debate in the bike industry over wheel size recently. Are you partial to 26", 29" or 650B wheels?
Well, I do have small wheels and medium wheels. It makes it good to do stuff like ride wood. If they were tiny I wouldn't ride that good.
A solid argument in favor of the 650B wheel size.
What is your opinion on handle bar width? What do you run?
I like the little ones because I can hold on better and fit between the trees.
How do you find the differenced between your run bike and your pedal bike?
My run bike you just run with it and my pedal bike you just pedal it. I go faster on my pedal bike; it has brakes. On my run bike I have to drag my feet to stop.
Do you have to fix your own bike?
Well sometimes I want to do it, but my dad has to do it. When I'm a grown up I'll do it.
Do you have a team mechanic?
Naz (Evangelista of Marzocchi Canada) just puts stuff together. He does like bikes; even I think he rides bikes. I even saw a picture of Santa riding a bike.
Do you wear armor?
Yes. For my knees and my elbows. I always want to wear the ones for my elbows. . . and for my knees.
Tell us about your crashes.
When I fell down and hurt myself on some rocks one time, my friend helped me up.
It's always nice when people help you up!
Yeah, and when they build your bike for you.
Spoken like a true sponsored rider, must be in her genes!
Are you going to ride Whistler Bike Park this summer?
Do you want to race?
Well, there is a race at the bike park but um, I think I just missed it. I do like to pretend I'm racing.
Any racing career highlights so far?
I did race with Holly (Feniak). One time I won and she said that I was number one.
Do you think that one day you will be a sponsored rider?
I don't know what you're saying now.
Jessamy chose not to share the details of any pending sponsorships and again changed the subject to chocolate chip cookies.
It looks like we only have one cookie left and you're going to eat it so I'm just going to um, ask my mommy for more.
Again after some careful cookie negotiations we got back to business.
What do you think it means to be famous?
To be nice.
Do you want to be famous?
Yes, for riding bikes.
How do you become famous?
Um like, by being in a magazine.
Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?
Yeah, I have lots of stuff, like a ballerina, an artist, a designer and a mountain biker. Mostly I want to be a ballerina and a mountain biker.
So, um what else do you want to talk about?
Would you rather ride a unicorn or a bike?
A Unicorn, because unicorns they are magical. Bikes mostly don't have horns and they don't really have magical powers.
So when are we just going to, well when are we going to be done talking about bikes?
Jessamy was anxious to end the interview and get on her brand new bike.