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Podcast: Steve Vanderhoek on rebuilding skills & confidence post injury, enjoying the ride.

On this episode, I sit down with Steve Vanderhoek. Steve is a North Shore-born and bread mountain biker, trailbuilder and a professional firefighter/paramedic.

He is known for building and riding some of the most precise, exposed, and high-consequence lines in the area, and along with his long-time partner Kelsey Toevs, makes some of the most creative and jaw-dropping mtb films around. (Hear from Kelsey in the previous episode).

After recovering from a year-long string of injuries that occurred while riding his own North Shore feature, the pair went on the win the 2023 Crankworx Dirt Diaries filmmaking contest in which Steve returned and rode the safe death-defying line.

During this wide ranging conversation we chat about:

  • His background and influences in the early North Shore Freeride scene.

  • His 2022 'into the gnar' injury and the lead up to that.

  • The journey of recovery and what he has learned.

  • Managing concussion and life stressors.

  • How to re-build skills ands confidence post injury.

  • How he know's when to send it.

And much, much more! You can follow along for the ride with Steve @svanderhoek on Instagram, and @stevevanderhoek1304 on YouTube.

Listen here or by searching for ‘Grit with Wisdom’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube, or over on my website, and you can follow me on Instagram @the_mind_mountain

Happy trails - Jake Johnstone

Full Episode Transcript:

Steve Vanderheok

If you're coming to the edge and you're like, Oh man, I want to release the brakes. I want to, I want to fly. Like, I want to feel this. I'm like. You're in the right headspace. Totally. Up until you hit that, don't do it.

Welcome to Grit With Wisdom. This is the podcast that delves deep into the inner psyche of mountain bikers from all aspects of our sport in order to discover the tools and the tactics that can help us have more fun out on the trails more often. Our aim here is to help you understand what it takes to push our own personal boundaries in the sport we love, from a mental and emotional perspective.

Today on the podcast I'm sitting down here with Steve Vanderhoek. Steve is a North Shore born and bred freeride mountain biker, trail builder, professional firefighter, and also a paramedic. [00:01:00] He's known locally for building and riding some of the most precise, exposed, and high consequence lines in the area.

And along with his longtime partner Kelsey Toves, who you can hear from in the previous episode, they make some of the most creative and jaw dropping mountain bike films around. Most notably, after recovering from a year long string of injuries that occurred while riding his own North Shore feature, Steve and Kelsey went on to win the 2023 Crankworx Dirt Diaries filmmaking contest, in which Steve returned and rode the same death defying line.

Horrible. Can't wait to dive into that. So with this rich background coming from learning to bike at a young age with your dad on the North Shore Steve got his start in the freeriding scene with some early parts in the North Shore Extreme films where he'd guinea pig fresh stunts from the legendary North Shore trail builder Digger.

This led to his first paid mountain biking gig as part of the Flow Show with Dangerous Dan at Crankworx. You dove [00:02:00] deep. I did man, I did my research. Amazing. And from there, you decided to keep mountain biking as a purer passion as possible, pursuing a career as a professional firefighter. Nowadays, Steve is in a truly unique situation as a sponsored rider, who is a part of all kinds of interesting projects, without his income or livelihood depending on it.

Steve, welcome to the podcast. Dude, I'm uh, actually,

I'm extremely impressed. That's some good research there. Thank you. Things I forgot about.

I know that was a long intro, but there's so many interesting things that have happened, you know, over the course of your mountain biking career that I couldn't leave out.

No, man, it's been awesome and, uh, I'm excited to be here. Thanks for

having me. Yeah, dude. It's been a long time coming. We've been bouncing messages back and forth and I feel like my, my list of questions and just kind of topics bouncing around in the back of my mind has just grown, exploded. So, super excited to be making this happen today.

See if we can narrow it down to a few, uh, Answers that make

sense. Totally. I think like really interesting place to start with would just be like, let's talk about your day to [00:03:00] day. You've been up to some pretty wild stuff with Yoann there. Yeah.

Um, today, I guess the video will have come out by the time we do this, but, uh, yeah, Yohan and I just became like official teammates with DaVinci, which is like pretty much a dream come true.

Like one of my favorite guys to ride with, with an amazing company that I just resigned with. And now it's just fun. We just now get to go out. Make a few bucks produce some amazing stuff and ride together. So today was like day one that we shot together And, like, I'm coming off, not even coming off, my ankle's actually still injured.

I have grade 2 ankle sprain from something stupid I did. And then I worked night shift last night. But, uh, like, the two of us together, it's just so much fun. And I just, like, can't turn it off. We just, like, progress, push, push, push. Had a few spicy moments. But, uh, yeah, it was, it was a sick

day. Yeah,

we got away with a few things.

Um, but yeah, I had a blast and that's purely what mountain biking is to me. Yeah. Just have fun.

I can see the passion when you're talking about it and you just like got out of your truck. You're [00:04:00] like, I'm out of my mind, this is crazy shit today. It's

actually like, I mean, maybe the podcast will get a little bit smoother with speaking as time goes down, but like I just came from almost dying and now it's like the heart is coming down, the adrenaline.

So I'll find my words.

Totally, totally, you're doing great so far. And tell me, like, what is it about mountain biking that you love so much?

I actually just got asked that question the other day, and it's like, definitely something that's evolved for me over the years. Like, as a kid, it was almost, like, seeking out just the most, most death defying, get the adrenaline rush, which is still something that I really enjoy, but hands down right now, it's like, there's just a...

Like an escape from reality where when I bike there is nothing else that I can think of and I think I share that with A lot of people like I feel like that's a really common answer, but it's so true Like when I go biking, I love it so much and I'm out in nature. I'm with my friends. I'm pushing progressing there's like no limit to progression and like it's limitless and [00:05:00] that like that just brings me back and I don't think I'll ever stop.

Do you feel like you have to be riding gnarly stuff to be able to get into that zone where nothing else drifts into your mind and you're purely focused? Or is it just riding bikes for you?

Less and less. I'm evolving as well. Um, a couple crashes, like the crash that I had a little while ago has really changed, like, like where I find my enjoyment.

Like, I love to get gnarly, but it actually takes a little more out of me now to get there. And, whereas before, when I'd ride gnarly stuff, I didn't. That, like, the feelings of doubt never even came into my mind. Um, and now they do. Uh, but I can still push through them and I love that. But, like, I just love to go riding.

I'm actually e biking a ton right now. And as soon as, like, my helmet's on, I'm out the door and I start pedaling up towards Fromme. Like, sometimes I'll just, like, have, like, a big smile and I'll, like, laugh. And just be like, this is sick. Like, I, and I'm so happy. And I could be having the worst day ever, where I'm like, nothing can improve my day.

Like, I'm, I'm not having a [00:06:00] good day. And it's, like, gone. And it's, that's the best.

It's amazing, isn't it? The

power of bikes. Yeah, and, I mean, everyone's got their thing, and for me, it's fully bikes. And it does it for me. And I love it.

That's so awesome, man. I'd love to wind the clock back a little bit to start here and talk about some of your early influences.

I know I've kind of heard you talk about your dad a lot Yeah. Um, can you tell us a little bit, like, about what it was like growing up with your dad and the influence he had on you?

My dad is a crazy, crazy man. Like he, I feel like we would have got along great if we were the same age going through life.

But he, like he grew up in Lund Valley. He was into cliff jumping, like dirt biking, lighting things on fire, jumping over fire. He always tells him these crazy stories. Like he was a, he was a loose unit. Um, and that when he raised me, we did a lot of those things. Like he'd strap me to his motorcycle. He'd build jumps for me.

He'd send me down the canyon. I'd be jumping off cliffs into like [00:07:00] 60 feet as like a tiny little kid. And that really instilled like an enjoyment for those types of things, but also just how to analyze risk and do these things safely. But, uh, my dad was so supportive. He'd drive me all over B. C. Like, Williams Lake was kind of our favorite place.

We'd go camping there. And he would shuttle me all day. Like, kind of reminds me of, like, Stevie Smith and his mom. Like, when you watch that video and you just see her taking him up and up, like, my dad would do that for me. He's like, you want to ride for eight hours today? We'll shuttle you all day. Just up and down, up and down, up and down.

And, uh, yeah, like, I don't think I even realized in the moment how amazing it was and, like, the sacrifices he made for me. But now... Like, best memories ever.

Holy man, that sounds like such a cool way to grow up. And such a cool place to grow up too, there in Lynn Valley, just surrounded by the environment.

It's crazy, yeah. It's like perfect for adventures like that. And I guess your dad was doing all of these things just for the pure love of it. Because he wanted to, because he found it fun. Like, there was no social media or YouTube videos or any other reasons to do it back then. Yeah, [00:08:00] he was just

doing it because that's what I wanted to do.

Selfless way of living, raise your son. And yeah, like I said, I didn't, I don't think I, it hit me. In the moment because I was a tiny little kid, but now that I think about it and even more now It's like yeah, it was awesome. You would do anything drive as far as I wanted take me anywhere I wanted, you know, we didn't have a ton of money.

So I didn't just get bikes bought for me I had to work at the bakery for my bikes, which was good get some work ethic Driven into you totally. But yeah that both my parents were super supportive.

How would you describe his his attitude towards risk?

Uh, I mean, it's funny to think about, my mom would always hate watching me do these things and my dad never even showed any concern.

Like, I would do really dumb, sketchy things and he was like, yeah, go for it. Like, I think I've told this story before on a different podcast, but I remember I was riding a bike park one day. I was still in high school and I'd heard that there was a [00:09:00] 30 by 30 foot road gap in Pemberton over the Mackenzie Forest Service Road.

It still kind of stands there if you go look for it. But he, uh, he went and found it while I was riding bike park and he picks me up from the park and he's like, Hey, I found the road gap. You want to go see it? Okay, so I like load my bike in the back and we drove up to Pemberton. There it was. It was massive, like we measured it.

It was 30 down, 30 out and I'm like, I've never hit anything like it, but I'm like, oh, I'm gonna hit it. He's like, he wasn't like, ooh, I don't know. He's like, yeah, go for it. Like I could have been so mangled and I think I did crash, but, uh, at one point. But, uh, I don't know. He just trusted me. He's like, okay, you got it.

I trust you. That's fantastic, man. So, yeah, it's kind of actually disturbing when I think about it, but his, I don't know, he think, he trusted that if I thought I could do it, he didn't say anything in the way to make me think otherwise. And it

sounds like it worked most of the time. Is there any big moments you can think of, like, looking back where you're like, oh, it's hard?

Well, I

mean, I did break my wrists on the [00:10:00] second time I hit that road gap that day. Okay. Like, I made it the first time, and then I superman and ejected over the bike and ended up, like, not, like, badly breaking them, but they were, like, both kind of, Fractured. So I was going in school with two casts,

which wasn't that awesome.

Both wrists at the same time must have been so brutal. But it was awful. Bad. Wow. Yeah. Sounds like you've taken a lot of learnings out of that upbringing, both like from the good and the bad that happened in like, yeah, pursuing this kind of thing from such a young age. Yeah. I'd love to kind of, yeah, fast forward to present day.

I know, you know, lots has happened for you in the last couple of years and you've taken lots of learnings out of that.

take us back to 2022.

You were there riding pretty hard, into the NAR. 2022 is what I'm thinking of riding one of your own features there. And it was kind of a crash that led to this, this whole journey of recovery

for you. Yeah, that, um, that, that was, it was an interesting day, I think, um, and really shifted how I approach risk [00:11:00] and, and everything, and not what I value, but just moving forward the side of me that I want to display, and I think, like, that day, I just, I wasn't feeling as strong on the bike, and I was a little bit nervous about taking that many people to that line, because at the time, it had only been me, Yoann, and Remy that had done that line, and I, it took, I think, All of us are quite good at breaking control.

Like it kind of checks the boxes for a line that is catered towards our riding style. So we went with a bunch of riders from all over the world that all talented are their own way, but not necessarily that wasn't their bread and butter. So I think I had like a moment of, Oh man, like I'm going to watch a bunch of people go off this thing that may not necessarily be ready.

And I kind of. I kind of freaked out a bit, and I ended up hitting it, like, too fast, and just not as in control as I normally would, and then I exploded myself, but I think there just, there was a bunch of red flags that I just ignored. Yeah. I didn't sleep, [00:12:00] um, just a little more people than I was, like, comfortable riding around.

Like, I do actually prefer smaller groups of people to ride with, and, uh, yeah, I just didn't listen to it, and then it bit me. But I think, uh, um, you know, I can't predict this for sure, but I think that there may have been a couple riders there that, that might not have been in their wheelhouse just for how specific it was to our terrain.

So the fact that I blew up, everyone left and no one else hit it that day. So, who knows what, who knows what happened. Maybe I took a bullet. Maybe I took a bullet. Maybe everyone would have been totally fine and it was just me that sucks, but I don't know. Um, and then, yeah, moving forward, I've made a few.

Just shifts to make sure that I'm following my values and, uh, my risk assessment and...

Yeah, so it sounds like obviously like horrible horrible experience for you, and I know it lasted It wasn't just like, you know, a couple of broken ribs and you're back lasted like ongoing concussion symptoms Yeah, dealing with broken bones [00:13:00] even just dealing with like I guess that weighing up in your head, like do I want to be doing this stuff anymore, where to from here?

100 percent that's all true. Like that really weighed on me and those are all things that I thought about. Yeah,

so this like, this kind of hard year for you, right? Kind of coming back, but it seems like you've kind of worked through a lot of things and had a lot of change, but you're in a better place now because of it.


Yeah, I think, um, I've got spat out the other end a bit different. Um, definitely not as like loose. And, uh, definitely way more thinking about consequences that like, I just don't think you can have big crashes and come back and not think about those things. So, and it's hard because I'm a firm believer that if you're not, if you can't clear all the feelings of doubt out of your mind and drop into a line, then you will never ride as loose and controlled and comfortably as you could.

So for me, it's tough because I look at these lines and I'm like, I got it. I'm good. But no matter what, there's always like, oh man, like. [00:14:00] You could get mangled again and then you're off work and then you're injured and you can't ride and I have to push him out. But I still feel like there's a percentage of me that I'm not back to riding at the same level I was before just because I have a bit more reservation.

So I'm like, I'm not as loose and kicking it out. And I think that just comes with a bit of age and experience. Totally. Um, and it's something I'm continually working through, but I'm just making sure that I'm doing it because I want to. I'm not like desperate to get the old version of myself back. I just doing it because I want


Yeah, such a sound attitude. I feel like I can relate in my own level, in my own riding. I feel like time works both positively and negatively, like, you know, in the times that are quite near to say a big setback, a big crash, or even just a sketchy moment. I'm so much more tentative and so much more likely to have doubt or think of the consequences.

Whereas, if I haven't had a crash all season, it's almost like that confidence just compounds and compounds and I'm thinking of the consequences less and less and less, which isn't necessarily a good thing, a safe thing, but [00:15:00] it happens with time,

right? I think it can be both for sure, like you can get cocky and, and get hurt that way, but also like you're riding, if you're that confident, you're riding is better than ever and you're, even if you make a mistake, you're going to correct that mistake a lot better because you're, you're just fully committed.

I mean, you coach and I enjoyed unofficially coaching and mentoring. And I found the mental side of it, which is so cool that you're diving into this. It, the mental side is bigger than anybody really realizes and your riding can improve so much with like, like being in the right head space, mental coaching tricks, um, and like knowing yourself and not allowing yourself to.

Maybe progress too quickly, but just make sure you're

doing the steps totally. Yeah I love how you frame that is definitely a sweet spot where like confidence is in line with ability, right? Yeah, rather than being way higher or way lower. We get into trouble at either end, right? Totally.

And yeah, I think Like, I can't just tell a kid that's riding so [00:16:00] gnarly and loose to be like, Hey man, like, be careful.

Like, slow down. Because they're not going to listen to me until their own, their own crash or learning experience hits them. I can't tell them.

As harsh as that is, sometimes the lived experience is what's necessary, right? Yeah. We can over relate on some level there. Yeah, and I'm just

super transparent about it now, and I'm willing to share what I can, and maybe it'll help some, or...


not, but I'm sure you remember saying this you said I would never ride that line again Yeah, I did say that. I said I would never do it again. It's all over the internet So I'd love to dive in here like what has changed? What have you learned in the year since? To be at a stage now where you like you went back and rode it for yours and Kelsey's film in Dirt Diaries there

Yeah, that's actually that's a great question And I have a good answer for it because I truly I wasn't just saying that I said I'd never ride it again like I've done it enough times, I've escaped death, and I don't want to ride it again.

Like, it's so... I'll have to show it to you in person sometime if you haven't seen it. I'd love to. It's just like, right on the edge of a cliff, and if [00:17:00] you screw up, you're going to die, 100%. Like, there's not like a...

I don't know, it's just... It's zero margin of error.

So yeah, I believe it, and I said I wouldn't do it again, and I wasn't ever trying to build myself up to it.

So, throughout that year, I was super focused on just slowly building up my riding at not a... no rush. Like... The bigger jumps, a bit steeper, a bit more speed and things because I was not pushing it. They were just naturally happening. I was just ticking it, ticking it, ticking it, feeling better, feeling better, tuning my bike back, getting faster, not filming, just having fun laps.

And then my riding just started improving, improving, improving. And then one day I was actually showing the guys from We Are One Composites. I was, they're like, can we see your line? And I was like, Oh yeah, sure. Like we deviated off the trail and I went to show them it and I showed it to them and they were all.

Like, Whoa, that's like, cool. Like, thanks for showing us. And as I was looking at it, I was like, this doesn't scare me. And that was, and I called Kelsey right after. I'm like, that doesn't scare me anymore. I'm like, I walked up and I looked at [00:18:00] it and I had zero fear. Like I wasn't even remotely. I was like, no, I got it for a hundred percent.

I'm like, let's film it next week and put it in our dirt diaries. And she's like, okay. And, uh, I think that's, uh, I never intended for that to happen, but just naturally my riding got up to the point. Where it just didn't scare me anymore. And I felt 100 percent confident. I mean, that changed when we went there a few days later and I actually had to do it.

Of course, I was like, terrified. But, uh, yeah, it was, uh, that was cool.

It's amazing, isn't it? I think, like, Homage to, like, going back to your skills, riding stuff that you're comfortable with, having fun with it. People can learn from that in their own riding, like, that's how you come back from a setback.

Yeah, and that actually got, I had that question asked to me so many times and I've really enjoyed sharing that with people. They're like, how do you come back from an injury? Like, I'm struggling with this, I'm struggling with this. Like, just back to the basics, change your expectations of yourself and just have fun.

Like, did you used to hit 15 foot drops? Go do 7. 5 foot drops or less. [00:19:00] Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable. And I think the biggest one, and I'm sure you say this when you're coaching is don't ever go off of a drop or anything unless you want to go off of it. And that's been a big thing for me. Like if I'm coming to edge of a drop and it's you're in a reservation, it's not right.

But if you're coming to the edge and you're like, Oh man, I want to release the brakes. I want to, I want to fly. Like, I want to feel this. I'm like. You're in the right headspace. Totally. Up until you hit that, don't do it.

Yeah, I love what you're saying there about like it's gonna come from internal reasons.

Intrinsic, right? Motivation rather than being like I want to do it because we're out with the cameras or because this would look sick. Yeah, like you don't get more views on Instagram or get a new sponsorship deal. It sounds like you that day when you happen to be at that line, you're like, hey, I really want to do this again.

Yeah, and I really did and even today like we went did this big drop that Hans had built in Valleycliffe and I looked at it the first time today and I was like, a little bit nervous. And I was like, oh man, I don't even know if I really want to go off that. It's all blind and spooky. And then we went up to the top of the line and we were going to top to bottom it.

And it was [00:20:00] like four moves later down the trail. And by the time I got to it, I was like, no, I want to go off this. And I remember today, I released the brakes, way far back, preloaded perfectly. And I was like, I'm so excited to fly off this and feel that. And I was like, loose and comfortable. And that's important.

Hell yeah. But if you're doing it any other way and you're like, fully terrified. Eventually it's not going to go

well. Yeah, I often say that to people as well. It's like, you might get away with it for so many drops for so long. But if you're doing, yeah, doing things from a place of fear, you've got doubt, you've got reservations in your mind.

Eventually it's going to bite you. I'd love to talk here. I had Kelsey on the previous episode of this podcast. If you haven't listened to it yet, go and check that one out straight after this. We dove deep into her perspective of like what it's like to be watching you do these deaf defined things. I'm so excited to hear that.


I can't wait for you to Yeah, we talked about her perspective, what it was like. Watching [00:21:00] you through the lens do these things, but I'd love to know for you Obviously, there's a lot of emotion a lot of different thoughts that I imagine come into your mind When you had this this crash that must have been so tough for you, but also on her as well Yeah, she was there.

She's seen it happen and then you're there back there together What's it like for you as you're about to drop in and you're like, oh man Like kelsey's sitting down the bottom again. Like yeah, I

That weighed heavy on me and uh, I remember sitting at the top before I yelled drop in being like, okay You're your legs are both working right now and you're walking and you're not dead Why are you doing this again?

Like you could just not do this and then you would not risk I'm like, and I'm putting Kelsey through it. Like the poor girl had to see this already, but, um, I think, um, she read me and I read her and I'm not sure what she said in the podcast, but, um, she's really good at knowing when I'm actually fully confident and going to hit a feature.

And she just doesn't say anything. She doesn't like, give me a kiss. Like [00:22:00] it's the last kiss we're ever going to ever do. She doesn't like, she's like, I'm like, she's like, you good. I'm like, I'm good. And then she, our little communication without speaking, she knows, and I know. And then kind of all fear and doubt is gone.

I don't feel like I'm putting through her, through like hell and unnecessary stress. I'm like, she knows I'm good. I'm as good as I can be for sure. There's always the chance of a little bit of risk here. But, um, yeah, and she'll, she'll see it in me. There's, there's times where I'm not really feeling it. And I can tell in her body language that she doesn't really want me to hit it.

And then we'll cut it. Today's not the day. Right, so you'll make the call. We did that a lot actually in the Dirt Diaries video. I walked away from a few things in Kamloops. Like I was doing run ins, run ins, and these big blind step downs. And she's like, she would make a comment like, Are you sure? And I'm like, she knows that I'm not riding properly and that I'm doing things that aren't like me.


must be amazing having that synergy and working so well together. It almost sounds like she's like the eyes in the back of your head, or like, the wise voice in the back [00:23:00] of your mind that's like, Hey Steve, you know, maybe not today. Yeah,

it's good. And like, man, I hope we get this right. We've been together for 16 years, I think.

Yeah, that's about it. I'm pretty sure it's 16 years. Um, so yeah, we've been able to develop, That and, um,

it's awesome. And sounds like it works the other way too, with confidence. You're like, if Kelsey's not saying anything, you're like, right, she, she believes in me. She knows I can do this. It really does. I can

do this.

And crazy when I re, I'm not sure what she said about me going back and hitting that feature, but she didn't show any fear. She's like, I know you're good. I know that you wouldn't have said you're, if you weren't. Yep. So that gave me so much confidence and I felt so good. And yeah, I really haven't crashed that many times in front of her.

But yeah, when I do it almost like it kind of resets and we got to find our ground again, okay yeah, like if I blow myself up bad, like she hates seeing it and Yeah, then almost dial it back. Let's go film some chill stuff Let's go shoot some berms and speed for a bit and get our working relationship back again So that you can [00:24:00] press record and not think that I'm gonna You know, you're going to film your husband


Totally, yeah, so understandable. Like, it amazes me how well you both work together. Thanks, man. And especially just, like, considering, like, what the work is. It's

really fun, and I'm so happy at where we're at right now. Like, that Dirt Diaries video brought crazy opportunities for Kelsey. Like, the opportunity to go shoot with Ant Hill and Red Bull.

To me, the most prestigious people you could shoot with. Absolutely. And seeing her go off, like, guys were like... Do you feel like you're getting left behind or like you're done now? I'm like, no, man, this is what we've been working for. Like I wanted, I wanted her to get this. And I feel like, you know, she has more longevity in the game shooting than I do putting my life at risk because I'm only getting older, but she can do that.

For a long time.

Yeah, it's, it's been amazing seeing how you've both, like, being able to help each other. Boost each other's careers while also working together and having loads of fun along the way. It's fun. It's a perfect

[00:25:00] synergy. Yeah, it's well said. I always got to bring it back that it's fun and we've said it time and time again is I would not do it if it wasn't fun and that comes down to any of the sponsorship agreements that I sign or anything I do.

I'm like, I'm doing it because it's fun and if we can hop on this ride together and have some fun and I can provide value for you, then that's amazing. But it's just fun. I don't want biking to be like work except that I actually do enjoy the work side of it Like I'm really enjoying this sort of sponsored life.

It's fun Yeah, it's like a different challenge and you know I've only aligned with brands that are great to work with and I'm like love sharing the product I'm like these bikes are sick. This stuff is sick It's an

interesting position you're, you're in. Like there's not many mountain bikers that hold like a full time career, especially one that's as full on and stressful and takes as much out of you as you, as yours does.

Um, but do you find that's what's able, like you're able to choose the fun work and choose the sponsors you like is, [00:26:00] is that what makes it fun for you? A hundred

percent. Yeah. There's no desperate picks at the end of the year. Just making sure that I have this amount of money to cover these bills. And I'm not speaking poorly about anyone.

For people that do riding as a full time, like, that's a lot of work, man. They are really having to do a lot of work, um, but yeah, like I, I pick and choose the ones that I want to ride with, which, with gear that I truly love. And then when I promote it, it's like, I feel comfortable knowing that I'm promoting product that I otherwise would have run.

Like almost everything I'm riding now is like stuff that I rode. Before I ever had support from

them. Right, so stuff you used to pay for and you're like,

I would legitimately buy this. You know, either like, maybe I'd reach out to them, or they'd reach out to me being like, Hey, I saw you're on our We Are One composite wheels, like maybe we could have an agreement.

I'm like, yeah, these are amazing. I would run these regardless. But if you want to work together, then sure.

That's fantastic. Yeah, so [00:27:00] like hard work kind of comes full circle.

That's weird, I never planned for this to happen. Um, but I'm gonna, gonna enjoy

it. Absolutely. while it lasts. Yeah, well that's a question for later on.

Uh, talking about what's next, but I'd love to dive in. It's a bit of a heavier subject, but I think a really important one that the listeners can get a lot out of. Part of that, that crash, you suffered a concussion, you had long lasting symptoms, and I take it did some, some really hard, deep work there.

Definitely. Yeah, I'd love to talk about that process perhaps just starting with like, yeah What was the experience through your lens? And then what the learnings you took out of it?

Yeah, I think physical injuries that heal quickly like the ribs and the sternum and the collarbone and the punctured lung and wrists and ankle and all the things that kind of came with that are Whatever, but I found like the concussion stuff I only started paying attention to about six weeks after when the other stuff had healed and I'm like, I'm still [00:28:00] super dizzy I'm out of it.

I can't form sentences. I get frustrated and anxious And that was new to me and I didn't really clue into what it was up until that point I'm like, okay, and then I started seeing some professionals about it and seeking some help and You know, I was, it was like a double head hit, like I hit my head, which caused me to lose consciousness and then I hit my head again, so it was kind of like a ta dunk, which I think, in the same crash, yeah, it was like, if you see the video, it's back of the head or maybe it's side of the head and then back of the head after, so that put the lights out and, um, yeah, it was just, it was, uh, it was hard, like, and I was also kind of in, like, ten years into the job at the fire hall and some of the calls that I've been on, um, were weighing heavy on me, um, the injury, being off, having my confidence shook, and then feeling like completely scrambled eggs up in my brain, was very like identity losing.

Like I feel like it's, that's been hard to claw back from. You kind

of talked [00:29:00] about this before we got into the podcast, you were kind of saying everyone at the fire hole, and I'm sure everyone in the mountain biking world too, kind of I had this perception of Steve as like this, you know, super gnarly dude who can do anything.

He works night shifts and then goes and sends features at daytime. Yeah. Yeah. How was that for you? Kind of having to take some time back, take a step back and be

different for a little while. It was interesting. It was something I never thought I'd do. I remember being hired and guys were like, there's programs in place that if you ever need to take time off, you can.

I was like, I'm good. Stuff doesn't bother me. I'm fine. Like I can handle anything that life throws at me and I have no idea what people's perception of me are, but I think I tried to put out the perception that I was kind of tough or whatever. And, um, uh, but yeah, I think, uh, that injury plus just my confidence being shook, um, and just generally getting kind of older and feeling more pain.

And then some of the calls that we deal with [00:30:00] are, you know, overdoses. Um, suicides are always really horrible to see a traumatic Car accidents, fires, like fatalities in there, and it was a cumulative effect for me. There was just bad call, after bad call, after bad call, and then one day, um, you know, I just, I was feeling kind of sick myself, like I've had like pretty gnarly gut health stuff, and just all those things kind of came to a head, and I walked into work one day, and I was like, no, something's really not right here, and I walked into the chief's office, I'm like, I'm leaving, and I got a book off, and I booked off for two months, and I just did my best to...

Try to press reset, um, and just be vulnerable and chat with a lot of people and yeah, that was, it was, it was vulnerable, but good. It was like one of the better things I'd done.

Thank you for, yeah, for taking the time in and being open to talk about this stuff. I know it's, it's not an easy subject to talk about.

Yeah, it's a,

it's a tough, it's a, it's a tough, you know, people don't really want [00:31:00] to talk

about it. I think it's really important for the listeners, like we all go through hard times on our own levels with different things in life and it's cool to be able to sit here with you today and sit with someone who's like, yeah, like I, I took some time for myself.

Yeah. I talked to the right people. I did the work. So I'd love to, to next like talk about potentially like some of the tools or some of the things you learn and maybe some of like the tipping points or different moments that really helped in your journey of recovery there.

Yeah, I think, um, I think as we actually mentioned before the podcast here was learning that, you know, as life goes on, more and more things pile on, um, and to not strive for perfection because it You know, people say, you fix one thing, two more things are broken, or you do one thing, like, you're never going to erase that checklist in your mind of things you have to do, or things that are necessarily wrong with you, or your struggles.

Like, you're always going to have a few [00:32:00] struggles churning around that are just things you deal with. So, acknowledging and accepting that life is a process, and that you, you just have to keep working on those things, um, and, uh, create a good support network, and realize that a lot of people have the same issues with you.

So... I ended up reaching out and chatting with some good mentors and people and, you know, I'd start telling about like calls that bothered me or things or like, you know, struggles I had with my own confidence or my own like issues with my own image or things. And people were like, Oh yeah, man, I feel that too.

I was like, you do? It's not just me. Like, no, man, I feel that too. I was like, okay, like, that's good to know. Like, I'm not, I'm not alone here. Totally. And like you said, normalizing it. Everybody, even the most confident people you see a hundred percent, they're going to. There's something that they're self conscious of and definitely something bothering them.

And uh, yeah, that was for me. The tool was just [00:33:00] Acceptance perfection is not ever going to be attained. It's life is a journey and you're always going to be working on these things and To reach out early to create a good support network and you really aren't alone. There's a lot of people that have

those issues Yeah, dude, such wise, wise advice.

I talk about lived experience, like the same thing with biking, right? Lived experience in the mental world just leads to, I guess, such a deep understanding of, of how, how to go about approaching, you know, some pretty gnarly stuff in life, whether it be on the bike or off. Yeah, yeah. Is there anything you'd do different next time if, God forbid, there's ever enough, another tough moment in your life, like, knowing what you know now, like, what would your process or like that checklist


Um. Yeah, I think, uh, would be to not just keep pushing through everything else in your life. Something I've kind of had to work on is pressing pause and stopping. Um, and also listing some of the [00:34:00] things in my life that are causing me stress. And then prioritizing which ones are the biggest ones. And then also, you know, eliminating some of the things, um, that I can't at the moment.

Like, for example, when I had my gut health and the fire hall and all these stressful things. I was like, okay, what? I can't handle this all, this is too much, I'm breaking. What's something that I can remove? And I'm like, well the fire hall has a program for me. Boom, I'm just, I'm gonna take some time off work.

Kick that one out, and now I'm only focusing on two other things. And that helped me to, you know, actually focus on those things. Cause at the moment, I couldn't show up to work. I couldn't go biking and produce videos. I couldn't be like, sick every single day with no energy. And, you know, just dying, what I thought was dying.

Or feeling like you're dying. Yeah, you can't do anything you love.

So, yeah, it was like, press pause, acknowledge, and, uh, you know, reach out. And reach out to people that, like, people want, not everyone, [00:35:00] and don't share, I'm a firm believer that you just shouldn't just necessarily share with everyone, because it's hard for some people, like, if I just like, someone's like, Hey, how you doing today?

I'm like, well, actually, this is, this is, this is, this. If I just unloaded everything I told you there, they'd be like, it's gonna be okay. Yeah. Like, okay. That actually annoying to hear that because it might,

but not super helpful any other side. Yeah. But there's a time and a place, right? Pick the people

and hold those people close, build the relationships and, uh, yeah, that's, that's where I'm at and what

I've learned so far.

That's, that's advice. And like, what are some of the ways that you personally like to slow down and press pause?

Um, I'm really bad at, at that, like, I. You know, I'm pretty ADD, OCD, like I never stop moving, and I really like all my ducks to be in a row, I want my bike to be perfect, run perfect, my truck, my health, like I want things to run good, and I strive for that, and it's a, it's an impossible standard that will never be achieved, [00:36:00] but um,

I love to do saunas and just sit there and like actually chill.

Paddling is a huge one. Trying to get adequate rest and honestly, I found crazy advantages and this seems so simple. But like eating super healthy and I cut out booze for a year. People, so most people are like, I could never cut out booze. I'm like, well, you can, and it might not be a bad thing to try. And, um, I just found like booze was kind of a coping mechanism for me.

It was so easy to have a bit of stress, crush three beers. Stress is gone. Amazing. That's crazy. And I was using that more and more with the fire hole, coming back from bad calls and just crushing beers. And as soon as I'm three beers deep, That problem is no longer a problem, until tomorrow when I wake up with the same problem and a headache.

And, yeah, I just decided that, um, I was going to spend a year just off booze. And, um, focusing on eating really healthy and just, you know, nourishing the, nourishing the body. And seeing, [00:37:00] like, you can't put bad gas in your vehicle and expect it to run well. So, I was like, let's spend a year to see how much I can heal and how good I can actually make this machine run.

Yeah, that's a lot of work. It's so much work to cut out all these things, but it was cool

Dude, hats off to you, because yeah, like you say, not an easy process to go down. Yeah. Takes discipline, it takes courage to go and do that. And even just in a social setting, I'm sitting here having a beer today, offered you one, it takes courage to be like, oh, you know, I'm good for today, because my body's gonna feel


I would have done it, but I, uh, I unfortunately in my two month Journey discovered that I'm super allergic to gluten which sucks because my dad owned a bakery. So I would be I just

can't It's great that you you have figured that out. Yeah, it's I mean, you're now like respect that you respect your body Yeah, yeah It's super cool to say

and I think I'm not someone who pushes or judges Anybody like if you can bet if you can crush beers and balance it and eat whatever you want and you feel great So stoked for you.

That's so sick. For me, I [00:38:00] didn't. I started to like, slip a bit. So I had to make the decision to do that. And that was just for me. But it's, everyone's got their thing.

Totally, man. Yep. So stoked you ended up down this road. Thank you so much for diving into some of the heavier stuff here. Oh dude, absolutely.

I'd love to talk a little bit here. I know everyone's dying to hear about some of the mental tools, some of the processes that you use to perform at such a high level on a mountain bike. So let's talk about that. Wide open question at the start. What are some mental tools and some techniques that you've picked up along the way, that help you when you're mountain biking?

I think we

did actually touch a little bit on one of them, um, but I still think number one, is the, um, is the mental side of things, and I think that if you can visualize yourself going off something, and that you want to go off it, and that your feelings are not just like, reservation, and like, I hope this goes well, but instead they're like, no, no, I know this is going to go well, because I am dialed, and I can't wait to throw my wheel off the end of that, that you're going to probably be successful.

[00:39:00] Because you can take all the variables, and if your front wheel slips, you're, you're in a great body position, you're confident, you can correct, your head's up, you're looking at the line, and that's been huge for me, the mental side. Um, and also, be okay that not every day is going to be a day that you're on your A game.

Fortunately today I showed up with Joanne, first lap in, I'm like, I'm riding great. I'm riding like so good today, let's do this, let's top to bottom this line. But there are days where I've hopped in, I'm like, I suck. I can't ride and to recognize that and to either like take a few steps back and Work on some more chill things that day or just call it.

I'm not feeling it today That's a huge tool for

me. Yeah, it takes courage to be able to be like hey today's not the day Especially if there's cameras involved or you like you've got this pre planned ride with a buddy

Yeah, and I think another thing is gnarly stuff It's just like sometimes just a accumulation of like small little skills that you can pick up without [00:40:00] any risk.

Like, go practice some corners. Like slapping corners, being fast and loose on sections because a lot of times it's not the actual drop that's gnarly. It's your run out after that you're hitting at speed. So, go work on that skill. Riding steeps at speed and corners and looking up and tuning your suspension, tuning your bike, trusting your bike.

And it all is going to come together. And yeah, that's, those are some tools that have really helped me.

Yeah, so true. And that's such a good process or good way of getting better and ensuring that the gnarly stuff goes well without having to do the gnarly thing 20 times in a day and take that risk 20 times.

So, talking about the visualization there, it sounds like you've got a really specific, process that you visualize yourself riding a line. Yeah. It sounds a little bit to me almost like you're, you're feeling how you're gonna feel on the bike and you're like, Yeah, I really wanna ride this.


stoked. I try to see if I can get what I think the feeling will be of, like, I'm almost doing it in [00:41:00] my mind and before I'm actually doing it, so when it comes to it, I'm like, I've already done it. Yeah, so

your mind's a little bit quieter, a little bit more relaxed because you've already played out that scene in your mind?

Yeah. So interesting, you're not the first person that said this on the podcast. Yeah, it's... It works. Yeah, it's, it's a definite. I love the idea. Do you, and do you find that, that process of visualizing and like, yeah, getting stoked to do this drop or whatever it is you're doing, do you find that builds your energy levels up a little bit as well?


definitely does. It gets you, like, it gets you where you need to be. It almost, it warms you up. It gets your brain lubed up and ready to do the. The thing that you have to do and, uh, yeah, you're just anticipating the things coming up. Um, I have a, um, I think it's a balance. You see some people that are just loose as heck, like they don't check anything.

They're just winging it. Works for them sometimes. And you see the other people that do 20 run ins. Um, I give myself two to three run ins and that's it. If I can't figure it out within two to three run ins, it's like... My indicator that there's too many variables that I think can go wrong [00:42:00] and the risk is not worth taking for me that day.

Yeah, it's an

interesting point. Hey, I feel like the like amount of run ins or time spent at the top of the feature is like such a common topic. And like on the, at the dumpsters, any given weekend people be there like talking about, yeah, man, like

sometimes you can just run and run and run and run. And then they like finally go for it 15 later and blow up.

You're like, well, you obviously had something blocking you from doing it.

Um, Totally. I think of it a little bit like mental interference. Sometimes there's like other, yeah, like thoughts or doubt or fear that seeps in. I'm curious, what do you do during that visualization process? Say if perhaps all of a sudden you find yourself visualizing like what could go wrong.

Do you have any ways of kind of kicking yourself out of that back to like that line of success?

Yeah, actually I have a few, a few ways like, um, shooting the one I call spicy fly, which is, um, one of the things I built on the North shore. And it's probably. 20, 2, 3, whatever foot drop, hipped, super gnarly. If you screw it up and you hit a tree, [00:43:00] like, you're gonna be paralyzed or dead.

That's the lighting ready

and not a bunch of other

films. Yeah, yeah, it's the intro to it, um, the first one. So, yeah, when I was shooting that last, which, uh, I think I was doing it with Remy, or maybe just a video, and I got to the top and I was quite cold, um, just cause when you're filming, filming's hard because when you're sessioning with your buddies, you're like, you're warm and you're flowing and when you're shooting, it's just the filmer and you and you have to, like, generate this, uh, False stoke or this false vibe because there is no vibe.

It's just you riding and I was up there and I just like Visualize myself smacking a tree and breaking every bone in my body and I was like I was just about to hit like where I hit the mic up and be like, yeah ready to go and Yeah, no, I just have to calm myself down and but just told myself I'm like you've done this a lot of times You do have the skills don't think about this.

It's not gonna happen. And yeah, I I just pushed it out of my thought

Yeah, so positive self talk affirmations, almost like filling up [00:44:00] your mind with that instead of having space for

other things. Totally, and there, I mean, there is, everything's risky, like even chill roles in Garenga or In N Out Burger, you could be super hurt.

Absolutely. Um, so I think I try to, to normalize that a bit, I'm like, this has risk. But you're okay. Yeah, like you're fine.

And isn't it that just reminded me like amazing what becomes chill with time with experience for a lot of people listening that might be like Not the best thing they've ever rode or like the thing that they hoped to be able to ride one day and you're like, yeah Yeah, and it's like really chill for you and it happens on different levels.

I say in every rider's perspective, like stuff that used to be like really challenging, really risky. Yeah. Comes easy. We

totally, it's funny. You see Yohan said all the time with his coaching. Now I may butcher this and say it wrong, but I think he rides, says more NAR for more NAR and more NAR for less NAR.

And it just means like, continue to build up and ride in this zone and then things would become less

gnarly. Totally. Yeah, there's a sweet spot, isn't there? Like that fun zone. Yeah, and that [00:45:00] moves. It's not a static spot. Yeah, literally. So I see a lot of riders like you were amping themselves off, listening to music, Chugging Red Bulls, whatever it is.

Maybe perhaps more in the old days, But for you, when I watch you in the videos, kind of riding some of these insane lines, it seems almost like You know, calm yourself down and you almost get really quiet and inward right when you're ready to hit this stuff. It

freaks people out actually.

I think some people that have come and watched me film before have, cause I get, when I'm really scared or in the zone, I get silent. Like super silent and I have to, I try to slow my breathing down and be just like hyper focused. And I find that like, you know, there are times like when I'm backflipping big step downs, I'll be honest with you, I don't really like metal, but I listen to metal.

I'm like, I put on some gnarly music and I'm like, Wow. Like, cause you kind of need that to do a big step down flip because like there, when you're at a technical line, your wheels are on the ground. You can see everything coming when you're flipping. You can't [00:46:00] see anything for a lot of times. It's definitely a bit of a bit of a pull and pray.

And at that point, I'm like, that's when I'll get myself dumped out. But, you know, it's like a couple of pushups, put the music on, feel it. Think about like a video part that you love watching a guy do it and then visualize success and go for it. But it's usually like a big pull, but for the most part, I'm like deep breathing.

Focus and feel the pulse come down like I don't even feel your pulse. You're like, oh, yeah, it's dipping This is right and then drop

it. That's so interesting. So you're feeling like yeah, like that nervous system activation. It's cool Some days you're you're wrapping yourself up with the metal music with the push up And in other days you're breathing and feeling your pulse That's such a good way of actually feeling like where's my physiological state at

It's cool.

And, um, for, I'm going to dive into a couple of tangents here, but like even sleeping, like I've had issues sleeping in the past and like, I've looked up like hacks to better sleeping and it's like breathing techniques and like breathe in, pause, breathe out. And you can feel your pulse and you can [00:47:00] like feel yourself as your body is just like coming down.

It's pretty cool. And it's something I've learned and this is cool to relate to the fire hall, is when I first got hired, you're so jacked up, you're under the microscope, you go to calls and you're not really thinking clearly, because your pulse is pinned. Like, you go into a structure fire, flames are showing, and you're like, Uuuh, this is gnarly!

And you can perform, but you're not necessarily, like, information in, um, action out, the most smooth. Um, but now that I've been there like 11 years, um, like as I'm coming to these, I'm, I'm breathing slow, like calm. I slow myself down. And even when I'm grabbing a hose line or advancing towards the fire, we don't get tons of fires.

I'm not trying to make it sound like that, but I'm like, I'm telling myself, I'm like, breathe, calm down, relax. Like you're only going to perform worse if you let yourself get stressed. And I can feel my like pulse, everything dropping and chilling. And it's cool.

Yeah, it's so cool to hear the relation, uh, between your work [00:48:00] at the Firehall and then mountain biking as well.

That was one of the subjects I wanted to dive into, like, what have you learned from the Firehall that's helped mountain biking, and then what have you learned mountain biking that's helped it work? Yeah,

and that is, uh, what I just said, works for both ways. Like, the biking that I've done and grown up in pretty, like, more extreme sports, more gnarly things has helped me to be more okay with the Firehall when I'm in, like, Rescues are repelling off of cliffs, they're doing kind of more adrenaline filled things and I'm like, this is a normal place for me to be, like, I like this, I know this place, like, making decisions under, like, duress and stress, um, this feels normal, and then the fire hall is kind of the same way, like, when I go biking, I'll be honest, the fire hall is quite a safe place, like, I don't want to make it sound more than what it is, like, modern firefighting and modern safety protocols.

We're not just running into things blindly like it's all the training. We're [00:49:00] smart, but still like there's inherent risks

Much like mountain biking, right? It sounds like it's safe, like, I don't want to put figures on it, but say most of the time it's safe. There's no gnarly calls, but when there is a gnarly call, it's incredibly risky.

Much like with mountain biking, we're safe most of the time. Totally. Except for like that five seconds where you're hitting the drop that's on the trail. Yeah,

and I found like if I can actually, it's really easy for your brain to get scattered on the job. There's a big car accident. There's a car over there.

There's a car over there. There's people screaming here, and you're like wow That's so much like and to slow down your breathing and and actually because your brain can only take in so much And do so much and eventually you just freeze and you don't do anything So, you know slow down like look at what you're doing Take each thing in and then make a decision and that works great for the biking too.

Like if I'm If I was, like, listening to head banging metal coming into a bus at Oxfound, that's basically what happened when I crashed. Like, if you saw, I came [00:50:00] in double the speed, nose manualed, and then I blew up. That was loose, and it just wasn't my style. So, like,

too amped? Too amped, yeah. And do you find, sorry to cut you off...

Oh, I'm just saying, I'm, like, I'm actually not a very competitive person, um, and I'm usually kind of chill. Like, I just, I have my process, and, uh, yeah. Yeah, so

you've found a way of doing incredibly high consequence things in this, this chill place.

I don't actually think I'm that gnarly. I think I get like scared pretty easily and guys are like, you can just send it I'm like, I don't want to just send it.

I I've just ridden my entire life I think so I'm just comfortable on

these things. A lot of the guys and girls I talked to on this podcast that are riding at Such a high level and doing these crazy things I feel like that's part of the Longitivity in the game for you is because you're not taking undue risk.

You're listening to your intuition Yeah, and you consider yourself not an ally, too, because you say no to things sometimes, right?

Yeah, you oughta, I mean, you want to, um, Yeah, you want to stay in it for a long time, [00:51:00] then you gotta eventually become smart, smarter. Yeah, I mean, you can only get away with things for so long, but, uh, Yeah, I think that's, I, I want to keep doing this for as long as I can.

I love it so much. It's so fun. Um, so I will make the decisions that I have to, to keep riding another day. Yeah,

and that's such a good lead in to something I've been dying to ask you, like, where do you see yourself taking mountain biking? You were talking at the start there about, like, doing this as long as I can, obviously age is related to how I perform on the bike, to some level.

Yeah. What do you see the future looking like for you on a mountain bike?

It's a really, it's a great question. I think, uh, Yeah, I'm not, um, I'm not a, I'm not a social media hater like some people are. I totally see how it is the new way for, for brands to market. And, um, the only downside is there's just so much saturation.

Um, there's so many guys that ride at such an extremely high level throwing out content. The equivalent of that like Freeride [00:52:00] Entertainment video and it would come out like in the past and there would be a banger and like one video a year with that banger part and you're like, Oh, that was so insane.

It's like stuff like that gets dropped every day, multiple times a day. Yeah. And sometimes it can feel like there's, you gotta, you gotta keep up and you'll get buried really quickly. Um, and that's okay. I just don't really want to play that, that game. Um, because I'm aware that. Even the lines that I'm doing now that three, four years ago were, I considered like, whoa, that's really crazy.

No one else has written them. People are all doing them now. And, um, I try to not be ego driven and I just want to be in it for fun. So who knows if I'll be able to ride, like put out video parts or ride gnarly stuff that really grabs the attention of people. So I think where I see my riding going, like I said, still want to, I want to put out a video this year that's like my version of gnarly.

But, um, I love mentoring, I love coaching, and I love helping basically everything that we've [00:53:00] talked about with the process. I like sharing that with people that are receptive and watching their riding explode and seeing them have the same feelings of satisfaction. So, I think coaching and mentoring is something I would love to do.

Um, and yeah, just riding and I think there's one thing, like a lot of satisfaction in watching extremely gnarly, high quality riding. But there's also a lot of value in just watching a couple people out there riding, having fun. Like what Yoann and I shot today. It was gnarly, but it really was just cameras on, capturing, catching a very organic, natural, fun time between two buddies.

And, that's what we did.

I love where you're going with this, but what you were saying there about like, yeah, just two buddies having fun, I feel like it's so relatable. And it's so fun to watch, because I'm like, Ah, I can relate, I have similar moments with my buddies. Right in my version of gnarly. You've certainly got a great way of breaking this stuff down, making it sound, yeah, it sounds really simple.

And you know, sharing that passion. I'd love to see some videos in the future, kind of like [00:54:00] helping, yeah. Helping people achieve their version of Nali as you call it. Yeah.

And that's, um, stay tuned. I think that that will be happening with one of the brands they're really interested in. And I just want to produce really authentic stuff that, um, that relates to people and doesn't have like another agenda necessarily.

It's just. Yeah, man, we're not here for a long time. Uh, bikes bring me happiness, and I would like to show people how bikes can also bring them happiness. I don't know, it's like, I have a pretty simple life mantra, but that's it. And I said this also in the Pinkbike podcast, um, when, if I'm no longer providing any value to people on videos, that's okay.

Like, I don't, I'm not gonna push, try harder if it like, something goes out and flops, and I'm not gonna go out and try harder. To make people like what I put out. I'll be like,

I don't care. It's such a unique and cool thing about your position, isn't it? Because you'll still [00:55:00] be Steve. You'll still be building trails.

You'll still be riding trails and you'll still have an income through your career at the fire

home. Yeah. Yeah. Like I'm, I'm really not even trying to like think too far into the future. I'm just going to enjoy how this goes now and take the opportunities, which have fortunately been. Plentiful. There's been a lot of sick opportunities, and I think, uh, this next year with Kelsey, we're, we're gonna travel.

So we're gonna go down to Utah and shoot at Rampage sites, something I've always wanted to do. Push my riding there, flip some big stuff down, hit some bigger drops than I've ever done. Uh, go back to Williams Lake. I wanna shoot up there with my dad. Build some new stuff on the shore. That'd be super special to see.

Yeah. Yeah, um, I love building and the cool thing is is even if it's not the gnarliest feature you you've ever seen I can you've never seen It because I just built it. So at least there's something not repetitive there. Totally

Yeah, I do see new new features and I love to see the process of like from this piece of forest I see [00:56:00] a line there

Yeah, and I think, um, we have funding as well.

Uh, we're gonna shoot a year long, uh, documentary behind the scenes of next year. Not sure if Kelsey brought that up in her

podcast. No, it's a, it's a first scoop right here.

Yeah, so I mean, that's not a hundred percent, but we're getting the funding from a few, uh, brands and people. And I've got a guy that I've worked with in the past, and he's has like a huge interest in the mental health side of things.

And, um, Just like, I think behind the scenes videos are better than edits. Yeah. Like Fabio Webmer drops like the craziest edit ever, like a five, six minute video, but then when he puts out his hour long, uh, documentary after the fact, I love watching that, like, what struggles did you have to do to get that shot?

Um, so we're gonna try and do a little something like that. Like, just film all the filming, film the building, film me and my dad riding together in Williams Lake. So that's kind of my goal for next year. Dude, that sounds One video, one documentary. That's all you

get. That's fantastic. Yeah. I think that's enough to it.

Especially if it's a longer form thing and you can see more of the [00:57:00] process and, yeah, see like more of what goes into getting that one epic shot on that one epic feature.

Yeah. It's cool to share. Whatever it is. It's really cool to share.

Yeah. you've obviously had some really influential mentors along your journey.

Is there any like bit of advice or like way of riding or anything that's kind of stuck with you throughout this whole journey that you think back to?

Uh, I, I would say as far back as I can remember with my biking career back in 2003, 2004, uh, Ken Maude, who's one of the owners of Lynn Valley Bikes, he... My dad paid him to coach me, because I was just a loose kid, like, loose, you know, just blowing up off stuff, and he's like, you, like, Ken was shooting the North Shore Extreme videos, he was like, riding the steeps, like, gnarliest dude on the shore, and he took me in, and he mentored me, and he took me down Fifth Horseman, which has now become, you know, 20 years later, one of my favorite trails, and why Kelsey and I shot a video on it, but he kind of, he taught me my foundations of biking, how to ride steeps, and, It's all the riding that I like doing now.

So like, [00:58:00] I'm not the fastest, and I'm not the best at corners, berms, and jumps, but like, the type of riding that I do, he set the foundation for that. And then filming with Digger, who's hilarious, because he would build all these features that he couldn't even hit himself, and then they were not even tested.

He would just bring me to them, like, and he'd be like, oh yeah, like, this should work. But, uh, I would guinea pig them, and he was amazing. And then guys, that's so cool, is I've watched Gullovich, Tippy, and Simmons my entire life. And now they're friends of mine. Like, I just rode with Gully the other day, he's coming back from a big injury.

Um, Wade, um, you know, riding for his godfather's garage company now, getting to ride with him, ride moto, shoot videos with him. It's like, are you kidding me? Like, these are the guys that dropped the best video parts ever after freeride entertainment days. New World Disorder days. Um, so, yeah, Gully, I think Gully is one of my favorite guys to ride with because his...

His, like, wisdom and how he approaches things is very similar to kind of [00:59:00] all the things I talked about today. He's like, I've done rapage. I've done the gnarly stuff. Is it in me still? Totally. Do I need to risk myself every day? No. Biking's fun. And he, that's what I think Gully sells the best. Gully sells biking as fun.

Totally. Because he goes out, he travels the world, has good times. Like, I think that guy's got it dialed almost more than anybody. He's

got the, yeah, he got the fun thing dialed. He was on this podcast as well. That was one of the things. Yeah, I got out of it. It was like three months after his injury. He's just kind of back to biking.

We went and rode John Deere on Mount Seymour. So, super chill trail for him. But he was just having the best time in the world. He had the best day. Yeah. And I was like, wow, yeah, this guy's rode Rampage. But he can still have the best day ever riding a blue trail on the shore. And you'd

almost forget it when you ride with him.

Because he just like, he doesn't push you. He'll ride at the back of the pack. Just having fun. Doesn't need to prove that he is the gnarliest. He's just having fun. So, having mentors like that have been really, really cool for me. Because, yeah, I just learned that [01:00:00] you don't have to try and always be the gnarliest or the best.

You can have fun. There's a lot of different ways you can provide value if you want to have a position in the industry. Totally, yeah. Um, so yeah.

So much, yeah, valuable learning there along the years. I'm curious, like, going right back, uh, to those early rides, those early sessions with Ken on Fifth Horseman.

Like, what were some of the things he taught you that you carried on to this day about riding steeps? And it's one of the most common things I get asked as a coach, like, oh, like, yeah, how do we ride

steeps? Um, yeah, him and Wade put up really well. Um, the shore specifically is, like, looking for islands of safety.

Is, uh, committing. Not. Just like pulling a fistful of brakes in the wrong area. But, uh, yeah, like head up, look at your line, always have your head up, and you're gonna get from here to here, and that's where you can brake. All these routes that you're going over, if you apply brakes, you're just gonna stuff your wheel into a hole, and then OTB and crash.

But like, pick that line, and that's where you gotta go, and [01:01:00] that's where you're gonna brake. So I think that was a line choice. Yeah, line choice from those guys was

huge. What about if it's a compound feature? So we've got like... Steep section of routes, island of safety. Steep section of routes, island of safety.

That's all he goes after that. Yeah, body

positioning and line choice is huge. So if you have a section like that and you come into it with reservation and fear and poor body position and you're in the back seat, you might make the first section. And when you get to your island of safety, if you're in a weak body position.

You're not going to stop. You're going to stop, you know, 50 percent worse than if you were over that front end, driving your weight in, super aggressive. Like, Remy and I can both hit that garanga drop and basically stop. Yeah. But that's because, like, our shoulders are engaged, we're over the bike, and we're driving the weight in.

So, yeah, that's, uh...

So it sounds a little bit like committing to the whole section. Yeah, but also like resetting, checking the body position, slowing down each

time. Not breaking form. Like you want to learn the best body [01:02:00] position is just go watch Enduro World Cup. Mm hmm. Literally watch those guys. They're just squared up, so strong, weight is driven like so right into the ground.

It's really like that actually changed. I watched a lot, I got into watching World Cup. Yeah, it's like, oh,

I find it fascinating like watching their torso. Yeah. Because their torso kind of just like is... They're like a, they're like a gimbal, they're like... Yeah, totally. It stays so, like, centered and stable and then their arms are moving.

Uh, sorry, arms and legs are just moving doing this dance as the bike just moves around like crazy

underneath it. Yeah, man. That's like, head up, line choice and, uh, loose where you need to be loose, strong and tight where you need to be tight. It's, uh, it's cool, man. There's so many aspects of riding. You can never stop getting better.

And sometimes you, like, you want to go focus on being the best at jumps and berms. If you focus purely on that and sometimes your steep stuff kind of struggles a little bit and you get back in the steeps You're like, oh, it's been a while. I haven't really done this. Like when I go shoot in Kamloops Like this year for the Dirt Diaries, I'm like, I have not [01:03:00] hit a 35 foot blind step down in a while That's just really scary.

I don't remember how to do this So you got to find your find your legs for that again,

right? And then what's like what's your process for doing that you broke up? I don't know. There has to be

like oh, there's got to be a little bit of a not huck and pray but a Sometimes you are taking, you have to take a little bit of risk, like when you're hitting a step down That's a little bit bigger or an air, your wheels aren't on the ground Couple run ins, trust your speed, keep your front end up Brace for impact if you screw up.

And here's a question when you visualize something like that So a bigger step down you're in the air for a long time. Are you visualizing and feeling like what it's gonna be like? in the air for that long. I know Joanne mentioned like when he will visualize it in real time. So if it's a three minute run, that process takes him three minutes.

For you with a big step down, is the airtime in your head the same, roughly the same amount of time?

Yeah, 100%. Um, back in my cliff jumping days when I would cliff jump into water, [01:04:00] I would huck rocks off and I would count the time it took the rock to fall. And I'd be like, and that's how I would like, if I was double flipping something 80 plus feet.

You don't want to flop, or you'll be super hurt, so I would, I would toss it and close my eyes and hear it, and then that would, when I was throwing the flips, it was timed to what I saw, and it would usually work. That's so fascinating. Except

for when it didn't. And are you consciously keeping your breathing rolling while you're in the air?

Are you thinking about

that? Uh, I don't think so. Nope. I don't know. Kind of hold your breath, yeah? Um, yeah, I don't really know actually. I don't think I've ever thought about my breathing when I'm, I'm in the air, but uh, yeah, for, you know, the Dirt Diaries video, nothing. Crazy in Kam loops, but you know a decent size step downs with some decent consequences But you know, I'd picture what it would be like in the air and I would relax especially on a hip That's like this if you try to carve off that lip, you're gonna end up in the wrong spot You have to actually point yourself and catch air in the wrong direction Get up in the air be up there and then crank your table [01:05:00] and shift direction in

the air So you're in this position where you're calm enough mentally to be able to think and make all these decisions midair

I think you have to be or it won't go well.

Yeah, you're just That's where you see guys stiff legged, and...

It's just fascinating for me, like, the level of, mastery you must have. I don't know if I have

yet. There's, uh, there's, uh, it's always learning.

Totally, yeah. Like, such a humble approach, but from where I'm sitting, it's a mastery to be able to be in the air, and be able to think about all these little things, and turn in and making decisions, and...

All of that stuff once you're in the air.

I would say that it's not necessarily a weakness, but it's something that, um, It's hard. Like, you lose it quickly, and we don't have a lot of that on the shore or Squamish at all. If you're not riding bike park, like, I just don't ride jumps. I don't really have... Big jumps around here.

So that is a skill that needs to be like worked on and um, yeah, I don't know

right So you consciously make an effort to put time into that? Well, like, [01:06:00] you know

cantaloupes kids when they come to the shore and they ride in the wet They're like, holy crap. This is gnarly. How are you guys doing this? And then I go ride with cantaloupes kids and i'm like you guys are insane.

Like you're just Following each other blind into enormous step downs, but it's just the riding that you know, and it's your comfort level

Yeah, we almost become products of our environment,

right? Exactly. Yeah, and that's why I love biking There's so many different pump track, dirt jumps, racing, freeride Totally do.

So many.

Man, this has been such a great conversation. I wanted to give you the opportunity here I know we could obviously keep talking for another two hours. It's been great. Yeah Touched on so many more interesting subjects, but is there anything I haven't asked you today that you would you were hoping to talk about on this podcast?

Um, man, like nothing. Nothing is really jumping to mind I think you really hit a lot of the things that are really important to me right now and that is the breaking down And normalizing just the mental health side of things and life is just a journey and finding [01:07:00] the tools that work for you and the support network and you know, you can scoff at it and laugh at it and be like, Oh, I don't, I don't need that stuff.

But I think it's super important and all. Like if that if you're consciously working at all these things like you can really improve your quality of life Like I know I'm just really aware of all these things now Yeah,

thank you for a reiteration like the importance of all of these things one thing I did want to ask do you have any good resources for people on the North Shore that may be dealing with concussions or just It's good information for people to know in the future.

I don't have any specific resources always happy to help find those we fortunately through the fire hall have these programs that are offered to us as firefighters, so Um, you know, I use some of those and, um, and then just, you know, honestly chatting with Tori, I had a really good chat with Tori. Um, it was on your podcast.

Um, and yeah, like honestly put, put the feelers out. There's people are connected and people. Like it wouldn't take much if you ask one person like, Hey, I'm [01:08:00] having concussion symptoms. Who do I talk to? I bet somebody or many people have like 10 different

resources. Yeah, there's some fantastic people in the cedar sky that I'm aware of because of this podcast.

We've got Adam Vanloo through Union Sports. Yeah here in Squamish. I believe North Shore Sports Physio. Yeah, also has concussion specialists as well.

So Yeah,

It's a very common and it's a well researched People are aware of it. There's resources out

there. Totally do. Yeah Wise words. as we wrap up here, do you have any sponsors or industry partners that you'd like to mention?

There is several of them. Unfortunately, I can look at my bike over there and say Incredibly fired up to sign for another two years with DaVinci.

They've been insane. Um, and they just, there is no pressure. Like it's, I'm signing my contracts. I'm like, am I missing a page or something? It's basically, they're like, go make biking look fun. Well, that's it. No, like pressure to do anything else. And then, you know, Fox and race face have been amazing. Uh, we are one composites and ride wrap.

[01:09:00] Um, what else? STFU, uh, Max's tires have been insane. Um, Cush core. I don't want to just list stuff off. You can see all my bike checks and go to there, but yeah, um, all the partners have been amazing and basically like kind of almost hand select them as the part of the products that I would love to run anyways.

And they're happy to support.

Yeah, credit to the work you're doing, and it's just so great to see so many rad sponsors that are happy for, like, hey Steve, you just go do

Steve. It's, it's really cool. It's cool to see that there's still, um, people that will support that and, uh, see some value in that.

Totally. That it doesn't just have to be absolutely pushing your friggin limits. Because... Eventually you find the limits. Totally. And I know that, I'm conscious that I will eventually, I may find my limits again. I could crash, I could have something big, maybe, but I'm aware every time I pick up my bike.

Like today, I was like, this, if this goes bad, like I'm on the side of a cliff, it could be really bad. But that was just in the back of [01:10:00] my mind, and I just made good decisions about it. And if I crashed and hurt myself, I was doing it for the right reasons. Right. Like I was doing it because I wanted to, I know it could happen, but I wouldn't be like, What an idiot, like I pulled for that gap, like I knew it was gonna be bad, and here I am with two broken legs.

But, uh, no, today was fun. Yeah,

sounds like kind of assessing the risk each day and being like, am I comfortable with it, or am I not? Yeah, yeah, yeah, man. Um,

yeah, thanks for that. Uh, like I said, a lot of, a lot of ride companies, and, uh, I'll just keep pushing, pushing my riding and... That's about it. I mean, my words are getting peanut butter mouth now after a long day and

no sleep.

For someone, yeah, that's had no sleep, that's been out on a gnarly ride, you've done a fantastic job. It's gonna be a great sleep tonight. For those that aren't aware, where can people find you, follow your adventures online, and see some of the great films you're producing with Kelsey?

Um, yeah, just um, my Instagram is at sVanderhoek.

I don't post very much on YouTube, but you can search [01:11:00] my name and occasionally I'll drop a few videos there. Uh, and that's where you'll find any kind of series that I do in the future, along with bike checks, and, uh, all the Kelsey's and I stuff goes there.

Fantastic, dude. Thanks so much for being a part of this podcast.

It's been an absolute blast. Man,

it's awesome. I think you're doing great things here and asking great questions. Thank you, dude.

What's up guys, just one more thing before you hit the trails. If you enjoyed this podcast, please be sure to subscribe and don't be a stranger. I'd love to hear from you about any topics or any particular episodes that you enjoyed, and even about any guests that you'd like to hear me have on the show in the future.

You can find me on Instagram at The underscore Mind underscore Mountain. This podcast, mountain biking, and mindset are all things that are very close to my heart, so I feel super grateful to be able to share these conversations with you. So much love to you all for taking the time to listen, and I'll see you next time.[01:12:00]

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