Mountain Bike New Mexico
Interview with Mountain Bike New Mexico’s Eric Cook
MST Adventures recently sat down with Eric Cook; the mind behind Mountain Bike New Mexico. Let’s be realistic, this actually took place while riding on our local single track and through some email correspondence.
Just what is Mountain Bike New Mexico?
MTB NM is a showcased celebration of the local biking scene that revolves around the riders, the gear, and bikes. Eric has a strong belief that through advocacy, support of the local bike shop scene, fundraising, and storytelling New Mexico’s mountain biking scene will grow and thrive.
I for one believe this to be true. We are defiantly not Moab or Sedona, but we are situated between both places and are a destination in our own right. From high mountain trails in the north to great winter destinations in the south we have it all. Mountain Flyer Magazine wrote a stunning article on what we already knew to be true, and the reasoning behind why IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) choose Santa Fe as its location for the 2012 World Summit.
Let’s get into the meat of our conversation.
· MST- Eric, can you tell us a little about yourself?
EC- My name is Eric Cook, I am a 26 year old Burqueno, born and raised, with a passion for mountain biking! I earned a Bachelor’s degree that focused on Photography and Journalism, and since my current job does not utilize that skill set in any way, I needed a project to work on to keep myself sane. The obvious choice was combining my two favorite things, riding bikes and taking photos, so I launched Mountain Bike New Mexico on January 1, 2017.
My vision is to showcase the trails of the state, both through photos and my Featured Trail Series, highlight the local riders who make this scene so amazing in the Locals Series, and promote trail advocacy, protection, and expansion across the state by getting others involved with trail building days, AMBA and SFFT meetings, and educating riders about upcoming projects. It all just about enjoying what our state has to offer, showing the rest of world what we are about here, and bringing the mountain bike community in New Mexico together to ensure that our trails only get better!
· MST- What are you riding this season?
I am riding a Kona Process 111 right now; [it’s the] perfect bike for our local riding, fairly efficient suspension, short travel but playful geometry, such a good combo. I also have a Specialized Enduro 29 for the rowdy stuff. [Read the review from Dirt Rag here]
· MST- Have you taken any formal skills classes, if not do you think you would in the future?
EC- I have not taken any formal skills classes, but I would certainly like to. I am quite aware that even as an intermediate / advanced rider; there is still so much room for my skill set to grow. I am always looking for every opportunity to improve on the bike, and ways to have more fun on the bike, and I think a skills class would boost in both of those factors. For example, I know I could be a more proficient technical climber. I am decent, but there are plenty of sections that still trip me up that would be so satisfying to clean!
· MST-What benefit do you think a skills clinic could have on your riding?
EC- More fun on the bike is the end goal, whether that means being stoked on cleaning a tough climb, rallying a descent that scared me half to death, or pushing a big day and setting a new climbing record. I can grow my skills in every facet of biking, and in the end it will just stoke the fire and make me love mountain biking even more. If you think you couldn't benefit from a skills clinic you are probably kidding yourself.
· MST-What has helped you progress as a rider?
EC- Riding with people who are better than me. Every time I see someone clear a climb or send a jump or blast a rock garden that I haven't been able to make, I feel like I can do it too. I would highly encourage riding with more advanced riders if you have opportunity, it will open your eyes to what is really possible on the bike.
· MST- What is your favorite trail for beginners, and what is your favorite trail for experienced riders?
EC- For beginners, the North Foothills is the perfect area to learn especially if you are located in Albuquerque. For southern NM, the Dona Ana trails are a great place to learn too, and for Northern, I would recommend La Tierra. Placitas is another good option for both beginners and advanced riders. Santa Fe probably takes the cake for best areas for an experienced rider. Sidewinder, Big T, Alamos Vista, Rio en Medio, and of course the iconic Winsor trail are all just so fun! Very close runners up being Glorieta, Los Alamos and Angel Fire... we are blessed with so much amazing riding here in NM!
· MST- What is your favorite trail to ride outside of New Mexico?
EC-All time has got to be the trails off of Teton Pass in Wyoming, called Black Canyon, Lithium, Phils Canyon, and Jimmy's Mom. [These are] pure amazing moon dust natural trails leading right into slopestyle-esqu jump lines. More locally, Durango is always a favorite of mine; there is just so much variety there. You can go ride the Horse Gulch area pretty early in the season, and rally the Colorado Trail, Hermosa, Jones Creek and so many more when the high country opens up.
· MST- Do you have a favorite race or event?
EC- Los Alamos Enduro Fest is epic and riders get to race both "backcountry" and "resort" style ridding, and it is all super gnarly. I also gotta shout out the Scott Enduro Cup at Angel Fire for being run and organized extremely well, but the races course wasn't as gnarly. I also like the vibes around the local Zia Rides series where you can kick back and drink beer with your friends and take some fun XC type laps, with great venues all over the state.
Eric as the trail winds down I have to say that today’s ride was nothing short of awesome, thanks for sharing your lines and style with us at MST. One last question though. If you were to give advice to someone interested in learning to mountain biking as a hobby or new sport, what would it be?
EC-Just go for it! Dive right in and ride as much as you can. Finding a riding partner / crew will also dramatically decrease the learning curve because you will always have people to pouch you and teach you.
Eric Cook and I recently rode the North Foot Hills trail system in Albuquerque. It was there that we discussed some of the talking points, while sharing fun lines off rocks, and along the trail. Eric is as fun and exciting to talk with as he is to ride with on the trail. I would like to strongly encourage you to check out his work at Mountain Bike New Mexico. We (MST Adventures) really enjoy his Locals Section, as he highlights local riders who are ripping it up and having a great time.
IF you are a new rider, our just someone looking to increase your bike prowess, give MST Adventures a call and schedule a clinic with our IMBA Certified instructors and guides today! We currently have some great early season rates for our fundamental classes and our guided tours can catered to your skill level.