Wise Words is our 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 come at you this week via the medium that is Mr. Joe Nation.
Joe Nation is part of a long line of quiet, rapid Kiwis who’ve dabbled in World Cup downhill before making the move to the sharp end of Enduro World Series racing. Sounds glamorous but Joe lived out of a tent in Europe for years before teams started taking notice of him. He’s not shy of burying himself on the bike in fine Kiwi tradition either.
Photos by Jimmy Doyle.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
A guy who is keen to try and rip the cranks off pedaling uphill at any opportunity, and chats a lot about sports which aren’t mountain biking such as Ironman or Formula 1 whether others are interested or not.
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?
An annual pass to my local sauna. I try to go most days for recovery purposes or even just the deeper sleeps I have after a good session. The goal is to get one of my own at some point.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
Once a year I enter a local ‘Brevet’ style race where the aim is to climb 9,000m over 300km non stop. I like to hit rock bottom every so often, and I think I learn a new thing about my body and what it is or isn’t capable of every time.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
Advice to put themselves out there and enter events which are out of their comfort zone such as the Megavalanche or an EWS 80 race etc. They often end up being the most memorable experiences of the year.
Ignore the ebike haters…. ebikes are great.
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?
Back in 2008 when I was living in a tent in the Morzine woods without a care in the world. Everyday was the dream lapping out the ‘Portes du Soliel’, I’d maybe just upgrade to some fresh tyres and brake pads if I could make a change.
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?
Working on my riding technique. I’ve often looked at footage and spent entire off seasons trying to correct aspects of my riding; however, when the races come round I reset to the way I’ve always ridden… I’ve given up for the meantime and I just ride how it naturally comes to me. I think if I’d been guided when I was learning to ride a bike it would be a different story.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
I try to take a step back and assess where I am as a professional mountain biker and how lucky I am to have achieved this goal. Usually whatever I’m procrastinating about gets done after that.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
The best times for me are often a group of mates sessioning the same section\feature of a track and trying to one-up each other… supportingly. I find these rides are great for progression too.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
Covid, for a number of reasons, but regarding cycling the lack of racing at points was a big loss. I’m a fan of watching World Cup DH and XC, and racing EWS myself.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
Will be great when travel opens up again so people are free to travel to riding destinations carefree again.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
My team mate, Leigh Johnson.
You can keep tabs on Joe’s racing exploits on his Instagram feed here.
You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.