Wise Words | Chris Kilmurray.

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 this week come to you from none other than Chris Kilmurray.

A rider and racer at heart, Chris Kilmurray is also coach to the stars, looking after Canyon FMD Racing and Trek Factory Racing’s downhillers to name but a few. Operator of the DadCam, brewer of mean coffees and loves a filthy climb. You’ve been warned.

Photo by Bartek Wolinski.

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

High energy nerd, who enjoys climbing as much as descending and loves racing more than most things.

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?

It’s been a little more than a year but buying bikes for my daughter that are now handed down to her baby brother. Watching them enjoy the freedom of freewheeling around on two wheels is amazing.

What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?

Enjoying burying myself up a steep climb. I think a lot of people love the physical challenge of riding a bike, but I don’t seem to be able to help myself when it comes to digging deep just for the love of it, especially if there’s a few friends to race (and hopefully drop).

Photo by Markus Greber.

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

Be friendly and kind, especially on trail or when meeting other non-MTB riding trail users and learn to corner and brake (well).

Advice to avoid? Elbows up or “lean back”. All those well-meaning pieces of advice riders are given by peers or even coaches that actually do more harm than good when helping you learn to ride a bike more safely and faster.

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?

There’s been so many but in 2022, a few good friends and I did a “summer solstice” ride, starting at about 07:00 on June 21st we rode all the best alpine trails around Morzine. Clocking up 4,800m of climbing over 80km of riding, no lifts used, insane amounts of food eaten, and some big risks taken on trail for such a long day out. We finished at the bottom of Le Plenéy at about 21:30 with burgers and beer. Unforgettable day.

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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?

I’m not sure it was truly a waste of time, but there was a period when I would get dozens of fitness or training questions a week via Instagram from all sorts of people. I’d take my time to reply in detail and help people out and often would not even get a “thank you” in return. I struck me as one of those quirks of social media. The kind of interaction that would be very different in person.

Having the right kit for the job is also a lesson learned the hard way, I probably spent far too many years without top quality wet weather gear, glasses or winter riding gloves.

Photo by Bartek Wolinski.

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

That depends on what I need to create motivation for. Making sure I sleep like a log always helps, removing distractions that are a barrier to doing what I should be doing. Stopping procrastinating on a decision or difficult choice in life often helps free up the brain to focus on what’s important. I’m lucky that I seldom struggle to be motivated to ride, but if I am feeling a bit “meh” about riding then inviting a friend to come along for a skid always helps.

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

Nature. Being outdoors, sucking in alpine views, smelling the seasons, and occasionally seeing some amazing wildlife.

I ride a lot of DH too, so while you aren’t as connected to nature when riding DH as you are when you are out on a trail ride, there’s something very special about the focus and attention that’s essential to ride a DH bike fast and safely that really sticks with you for the rest of the day.

Photo by Keno Derleyn.

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

No erasing history please. That’s what fascists do.

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

I’d love it if more people understood concussion rehabilitation better so we could all do a better job of helping riders recover and return to the sport they love. It seems the world over it is unnecessarily hard to get the diagnosis, treatment and longer-term support needed to manage and treat concussions.

Who else should we ask these questions to?

Vincent Saccomani and Phoebe Gale.

You can keep tabs on Chris’ adventures 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.