Wise Words is our new interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.
We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!
Wise Words comes to you this week from downhill’s tallest Scot, Sick Skill’s main man and Mr. #CathroVision himself, Ben Cathro.
Ben Cathro is a man of many talents. Absolutely pinned on an off-road cycle, World Cups made up the last decade or two of his life. All this simultaneously battling for National titles at home. Since then he’s become a Scottish enduro threat, a consistent SDA podium regular, skills coach, and more recently, become the man bringing us all the insight from the World Cups with #CathroVision.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
I guess the censored version would be: Lanky weapon who somehow manages to go fast on bike and has the pishest chat going.
What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?
A proper office setup. I moved to Pitlochry last year and stole the spare bedroom to turn into an office. I bought a 2nd hand screen/keyboard/mouse off Keith Valentine to turn my laptop into a desktop and now I do all my emails and editing on a big screen in a comfy chair in my own room. Big upgrade from the laptop on my knees while slouching on the sofa.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
Sectioning trails. Seems like everyone else just wants to bust out the miles, boost those Strava elevation numbers. I just want to hit a turn 23 times till I get it mint.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
Don’t forget to play. Stick your knees out.
If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?
Fort William World Cup Race Run 2010. I’d listen to the Shimano tech and take the time to re-space my chain device after replacing it due to a final practice run incident. That chain jam cost me my best World Cup result…
What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?
Procrastinating. I just don’t know how to give it up though, I always get dragged back in by that sultry temptress.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
I don’t… I find it naturally comes in waves. I’ll be an absolute waste of space for 3 weeks then bust out 2 days of full on productive wizardry. Rinse and repeat. That or deadlines…. Nothing like a deadline to spur you on.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
Speed. Not as an absolute, more in trying to squeeze the maximum amount of speed out of different features and sections.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
EWS doping scandals… Well, not the scandal actually, that’s a good thing as hopefully it’ll stop it happening. I’d like to erase riders taking illegal drugs to increase performance.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
Healthy consumption of social media. Been discussing this with a few people because kids are addicted and developing depression from it. I want to find a way to help reduce it’s affect or just make it more widely known so people are more aware.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Got to nominate the Scottish neeburs.
Reece Wilson for sure, dudes on the up and has a different outlook on things.
Greg Williamson, pretty much running his own team for one of the most boutique bike manufacturers going.
Was going to say Joe Barnes but I see he’s already done one….
Sooo, Ruaridh Cunningham as there’s bound to be some good event switching chat to be had.