What I learned from crashing on big jumps at Whistler Bike Park


Last time in an overview of Whistler Bike
Park, we went into depth on a A Line, arguably the most famous jump trail in the world. For its endless tabletops, iconic features,
and sheer length, A Line’s fame is well deserved, but the chatter on Whistler’s
lift line is about a different trail, and its guarded by a large wooden sculpture. This is Dirt Merchant. He sells dirt, and dirt accessories. While A Line is rated a single black diamond,
Dirt Merchant is double black, and that’s just the upper portion. The lower section is all new, and rated scary
red triangle—but that won’t stop non-pros from riding this trail as teenagers, kids,
toddlers, infants, and probably embryos have already cleared this thing. Just like everything else at Whistler, kids
who grow up here will have no recollection of it being anything but ordinary. But to Alexander and I this trail is unlike
anything we normally have access to. But we did ride it, and in the process I learned
some things about myself that I should have realized a long time ago. So today I’ll share those findings in the
hopes that it may help someone else. But this story starts last week before we
ever touched dirt merchant. I had already posted my video and basically
had a free day to ride the park and have fun. Since Alexander had never been to Whistler
before, I got to show him all this stuff for the first time. Showing a friend around new trails can be
almost as exciting as riding them for the first time yourself. Alex and I were feeding off each others’
excitement. At some point we ended up at one of those
scary red triangles, Dwanye Johnson. I had ridden this trail last year, but obviously
Alex had not. So we walked it, sized everything up, and
checked out each feature individually. Then we went back up to link it all together. Alex had ridden his first proline jump trail,
and our weekend plans to make a video about Dirt Merchant were looking really good. But the following morning, the trail was closed. Temporary closures are normal at any bike
park, so we linked up with some friends and ran warm up laps to wait it out. But as the day wore on, Dirt Merchant remained
closed and I started getting anxious. Anxiety led to distraction, which led to bad
riding. That’s me, nose diving to flat on a jump
I’ve ridden countless times. Thankfully I pulled out of it and continued
on, but it was a sign of things to come. Dirt Merchant never opened back up that day
and we lost an entire day of filming. The following morning we went out feeling
kind of pressed for time. But warm ups are essential when riding a new
trail, so we did some laps, warmed up thoroughly, and then headed up to Dirt Merchant so Alex
could have a look at it. Even though I had ridden the old Dirt Merchant
last year, I by no means felt confident on it or had it committed to memory. So we dropped in with some degree of caution,
pulling off trail to eye up each feature. This is called a pre-ride, and there are actually
signs in the park recommending you do this, followed be a re-ride, and then finally a
freeride. As we eyed up each feature, it was clear that
our freeride would take some time to work up to. There were quite a few features on Dirt Merchant,
that were—concerning. We watched as very competent riders bottomed
out, nose cased and botched this step up in every way possible—we even saw one guy go
OTB. This was not encouraging, and I really started
feeling the time crunch again. So we decided to go back up and ride the trail
again from the beginning, and that’s when I made a careless mistake. I’m not sure what my plan was when launching
off the top of this hip, but it didn’t end well. Although I did chuck my bike and get away
from it at the last second, I still hit the ground pretty hard. But priority number one was to get me and
my bike the frig off that trail. With various parts of my body throbbing, and
some mechanical issues to attend to this was not the time to move on to the next feature,
and I’m doing this new thing where I call it quits before getting hurt. But I left the mountain that day with less
confidence in my riding abilities, and a growing fear that this week’s video would be doomed. I also felt like I was holding Alex back,
as he felt perfectly fine. But we wanted to do this trail together, so
we called it quits together. The next morning, I woke up, but I was still
asleep. I replaced my derailleur hanger and tried
to repair myself with ibuprofen and espresso, but out on the mountain I felt like a passenger
on my own bike—a terrified passenger. And after a few laps, it didn’t get any
better. I was nose diving, tail diving, and even forgetting
how to get around the park, all the while feeling pressured to get my footage. It seemed eerily similar to the time I made
a video about breaking my collar bone. So I called it for the day, again. And that was all the time we had. So this week, I made a video about when to
call it quits. For my own safety, to set a good example. I know this isn’t the most exciting ending,
but this week I learned perhaps the most important lesson about myself: that I’m actually my
own worst…. oh, oh yeah, we actually went back out after
lunch and friggin’ smashed that drop. I cased the step up on my first go, and Alexander
nose cased it. But we both went back up and hit it again. And again. And then the rest of this amazing trail. We had finally linked up all of Dirt Merchant,
and morale was quite high. We even met these guys who were riding it
on hardtails, so party laps ensured. This was shaping up to be the best day ever,
but the lift was about to close and we only had time for one more lap. Well, I’ve screwed up way smaller jumps
than that. At least I limped away with cuts and bruises. Flynn, one of the hardtail guys, broke his
ankle a few bikes ahead of me. He heard the commotion, got distracted, and
launched off a roller into the lip of the next jump. Flynn was in good spirits and in good hands,
but it’ll be a few months before he’s riding his hardtail again. You can follow him and Zev to see what happens
next. So what can we learn from all this? Well, despite taking precautions, warming
up, and even calling it quits a couple times, I still managed to make another preventable
mistake on a big jump. Why this keeps happening comes down to lack
of practice. I probably didn’t belong on that trail and
could have used a few more days on easier jumps before attempting it. Every summer I try to cram all my jump progression
into a few short bike park visits, and I forget that skill is only for rent. You can’t just pick up where you left off
the following June. In any case, I’ve got another week to work
on my jumping skills. Maybe that’ll be a video. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll
see you next time.




Comments
  1. 7:00 seems like there is a cut in the video with no explanation. you started some philosophy but never finished. not sure if it was meant for it or? either way great message for riders!!

  2. Seth: i learned an important lesson myself.. that im actually my own wors-

    Alex: YEAH!

    Seth: LETS FUCKING SEND IT

  3. It’s interesting how psychological riding can be…case a jump and it freaks you out for the next several attempts… Then you clear it… And then you smash it like it’s not even there! Great riding, fellas! Keep it up and stay safe!

  4. Welcome to BC, if you guys ever ride Squamish tell me how it is. BC produces some of the best mountain bikers on the planet because of terrain and places like this, it’s amazing riding area.

  5. I know this “passenger on a bike” thing just in counter strike, much lower stakes, and it doesn’t matter when you die

  6. today I didn't get a lot of sleep. I went for a ride but couldn't jump. just awful I felt like a passenger on my own bike.

  7. I live at Sun Peaks which is a small village close to Kamloops and there is an amazing bike bark I’ve been riding at since I was 5 I’m 11 now and I’m starting to ride double blacks

  8. Man bro I'm am learning so "fucking" much from you!!! Keep up the good work. 10years only BMX experience. After fighting a 5year drug addition I wanna say fuck drugs witch I have already quit an pick up MTB!!! Thank you for your videos 🤙🤙

  9. @9:00
    How do you call for help? How do you know who to call? Are there signs at bottom of the lift, advising you to make note of a phone number? Do cell phones work all over the mountain?

    How long does it take for help to arrive?
    How do they get you down the mountain? I am guessing that they have to walk you to the nearest fire road where they have a motor vehicle?
    What became of Flynn's bicycle? Does the rescue team take it down the mountain for you? Do they hold it for you until you are able to return for it?

    What fees are involved in them rescuing you?
    What fees are involved in them transporting you to a hospital?
    What fees are involved in them storing your bicycle?

    How far away is the hospital?

    If the injured person does not have a friend to drive his car for him, is he allowed to leave his car there? Or will they tow it? Is the parking free, or is there a daily fee?

    I am just curious as to how many other issues an injured rider will have to deal with, on top of broken bones?

    Has Flynn recovered?
    Is he riding, again?

    Thank you.

  10. Just what I don’t want to see…extreme sport hipsters doing bike stunts in the beautiful forest. And 10 Grizzlies to the course…. then it’s finally worth while.

  11. When I went to whistler me and my dad went straight to Aline then dirt merchant. I rode a hard tail and dad used a downhill. We’re not pros either😂😂

  12. Never ever ever say it’s your last run! It’s always the second to last run because Lady Luck always punishes that last run.

  13. You have no room for error on some of our Northwoods Trails.
    One screw up and you're tumbling down several hundred feet into a lake or tumbling over the edge of a dam

  14. I’ve done the same thing flin did with a 1 foot double on a dirt bike went over the handlebars face planted and snapped the front of my helmet I some how did no get hurt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *