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 this week comes from Mr. Crankworx himself, Darren Kinnaird.

As general manager of Crankworx, Darren Kinnaird has his work cut out for him. Crankworx Whistler has been and continues to be the most insane gathering of bikes and their enthusiasts, and the hysteria has gone global with Crankworx heading to Innsbruck and Rotorua.

Photo by Clint Trahan.

How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?

Lots of energy (on and off the bike) and a pinner on the climbs (on the bike).

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?

I bought a proper 24 inch NS Zircus dirt jump bike for my son. It’s got us out doing jumps together, and riding things way bigger than I would have ever imagined.

This past Christmas we drove out to the Air Rec Center, an indoor bike park a couple hours away from where we live in Squamish. I almost killed myself. It was mostly teenagers, though there were a couple dads my age there. We were all looking a bit scared, but having a good laugh. I started chatting with one guy and asked him: “Dude, how old are you?” He was the same age as me, 43. So that made me feel better. #Freeriderat43

What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?

I wake up at 4:15 and work out every day. Apparently that’s early… It’s just what my internal clock is set to. It probably helps my fitness, especially on the climbs.

I’ve also started using the Peloton app…it’s awesome. It’s such a good workout. I can’t wait ‘til Crankworx Rotorua in March. Our Crankworx family is from all different parts of the world, and when we come together and get the chance to ride, there’s some good rivalry. I’m stoked to see if the training is going to help me crush my riding buddies on the climbs.

Photo by Clint Trahan

What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?

Funnily enough, I was texting with an industry colleague the other day, and something came out of it that really struck a chord with me. We should be reminded that mountain biking is a bunch of people having a good time, exploring and pushing themselves.

Those of us who work in this industry take our jobs very seriously. It’s a privilege to get to do what we do. And as riders, we can get pretty intense about goals and speed and mileage. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember what bikes are all about. Fun, exploration and challenge, and keep it all in balance.

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?

Living in Squamish and doing a lot of riding at home and in Whistler, where our office is, we are pretty spoiled. There are so many good days riding in the Sea to Sky, but I’m also fortunate in that I get to travel to a lot of other amazing riding destination. The feeling you get when you’re travelling and riding makes those days extra special.

One day that stands out is Day 2 of the EWS in Madeira in 2017. The location, the trails, the challenge, and riding with a great crew, it was just amazing. Ending the day in this amazing spot was unreal. Madeira had never even been on my radar until I heard about it through the EWS, but it’s a place I’ll never forget.

Another would probably be a day of shuttling with our crew at Crankworx Rotorua last year before the festival started. The trails are just so ridiculous there. To start our season there, especially as we’re still in the thick of winter in North America, is awesome.

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?

The belief that as I got older I’d get faster… That experience would continually make me faster. I work hard on my climbing and definitely see progress there, but on the descent… I still haven’t been able to beat a couple of my riding buddies.

Merida eOneSixtytea

Photo by Kike Abelleira.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?

It’s pretty simple, I pinch myself and remind myself how lucky I am. It’s pretty unbelievable what I get to do for a living.

Sometimes something will happen when we’re travelling and putting on festivals that reminds me of that…

The first year we were in Les Gets, we were out having a couple drinks after dinner. The bar was pretty packed, so this guy came up and asked if he could share our table. We got to chatting and he asked what we all did. When he found out I was the GM of Crankworx, he lost it.

He was so excited. He left and brought all his friends back to introduce them. Then he said he wanted us to eat some sausage together. He pulled one out of his jacket along with a knife, and started slicing it up on the table in front of us. It was hilarious. I didn’t really want to, but I felt like I had to eat some.

What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?

There are three things that jump out…

Riding with my wife and son is awesome.

Riding with friends and industry colleagues is so much fun, and such a great way to connect. This past fall our team got together to celebrate Thanksgiving in Squamish. We called it “Cranksgiving.” We went riding then all helped to make a big meal together after. It was a great day. Then there are days with the Rotorua team, mornings during our festivals when I get out to ride first thing with whoever else is keen, before the work day starts. Ability level doesn’t matter, these group rides are such a great time. It’s really just about getting out there with good people.

The challenge is also huge for me. I always push myself on the climbs and get a lot of satisfaction from that.

Photo by Fraser Britton.

What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?

There was a lot of controversy around drug testing last year. I understand certain things had to happen the way they did, but it was just such a bummer.

What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?

Definitely continuing the momentum toward creating more opportunities for all riders. More events to bring women in to different disciplines of the sport. More youth…this is something we’re charging full steam ahead with, with the creation of CWNEXT, a category for the next generation of Crankworx athletes.

Last year at Crankworx Whistler we had our first Adaptive Jam, with riders of all different levels of ability, on all different adaptive bikes. Adding all these layers to Crankworx has been awesome.

Who else should we ask these questions to?

Tyler Morland, Brand Manager at SRAM.

You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.