Steve Storey: On Racing, Adventuring and Staying Curious
I met Steve about four years ago, after moving to Whistler to pursue my own mountain dreams. It was my now husband, Dave, who knew of Steve and was keen to catch a ride with him even before we up and moved to Whistler. Since meeting Steve, we have had the privilege of riding with him, sharing a few local trips around the PACNW, and generally being inspired by that passion he seems to emanate for adventures, bikes and the riding thereof.
JS: What are you most excited about in the upcoming race season? A new Canadian Open DH course, bettering your EWS Whistler result, something else? SS: Hmm that’s tough; I’m excited for racing and partying with friends at Revie, the new CDN Open course for sure, as well as Phat Wednesday’s in the Whistler Bike Park. Phat Wednesday’s aren’t quite as fun as a weekend away camping and racing, but they’re still pretty damn fun. JS: Agreed, they are a great way to break up the week. JS: What’s your favorite race planned in the upcoming season? CDN Open DH, EWS, Revie? SS: CDN Open DH. JS: Why? SS: All the jumps
JS: What would be your top 3 training/preparation tips for riders and racers who are aiming to complete a race like EWS whistler:? SS: One: Ride until you’re done and then ride 20% more. Two: Do a stupid big day JS: You mean like the Blackcomb Ironman!? SS: Yah, like all the trails on Blackcomb .... aka. The Blackcomb Grind Three: Also don’t forget to have beers after those long rides to make it seem like you didn’t ride that extra 20% for nothing
JS: Recognizing there isn’t really much of one here in the Sea to Sky, what’s your favourite part about the ‘off season’? SS: The excitement of having a really good weather day, and great conditions, like in Bellingham just recently. JS: You mean like it wasn’t rainy, snowy, miserable, so it just seems so amazing? SS: Yah, great dirt, some sun- you just feel so grateful. How pleasantly surprised you can be at how good the days are even when it’s not so good. There was also that Squamish day, when there was 20 cm’s of snow. I had zero expectations and just went out and rode because I had my bike with me in my truck. It was still puking and I thought it was going to be kind of miserable but it was stupid amounts of fun.
JS: Anything in particular that makes you stoked about training off the bike? Are you big into CrossFit, Yoga, going to Burning man? Haha.
SS: Yah, Crossfit and Olympic lifting. These are fun things that are not on the bike but keep the drive / competitive thing going. They help give me that same feeling of accomplishment you get after a sufferfest when you can’t get a sufferfest in mid-week. When you set a PR (personal record) in an Olympic lift, it’s like that same flow state you get riding. It's the same combination of technique, physical strength and mental component; when everything clicks it’s almost the same feeling as nailing a gap or double through a super technical section of trail.
JS: Do you have any words of wisdom for up and coming Knolly riders and otherwise young talents? SS: It probably sounds cheesy, but never give up. I put all my energy into riding/building and I’m always trying to better myself, trying to improve, or learn something new, no matter how slow the improvement is. If you put in the work it will always pay off. Maybe not always in the way you thought but it will always result in positive benefits. Also, don’t listen to people who hold you back and discourage you from trying (i.e. "you’re too old", "you can’t do it"...whatever). Those are usually heard from people that did give up, don’t let them get you down! JS: Hater’s gunna hate!
JS: Your partner in crime (Justa) is also into bikes, travelling and photography - how much do you think this adds to the experience and lifestyle around what you do? SS: It makes everything seamless. If one of us has a goal, there’s a chance the other wants to be a part of it. When you set big goals, and you have someone at your side to share them with, it makes it all more achievable and more memorable.
JS: Are you building any trails? SS: I’ve got areas in mind that I’ve walked, but haven’t put any shovels to dirt yet. When I build I tend to walk areas for weeks before I decide on a line. So far I haven’t found that magic line but I’m getting closer. I also want the next trail to surpass Roca and Salsa Verde in terms of beauty, flow, and larger jumps. Not an easy task finding that magical combo but it’ll happen. I also had to give my building partner, Danny, some time off the shovels for a while after his accident. JS: So… we got him in the gym so he could bail off box squats. Hahaha.
JS: Any past sources of inspiration that have left a lasting impression? SS: Not really, if there was something I wanted to do, I would just do it. I would just set my mind to something and go for it. I tend to be quite stubborn at times. JS: So there was no particular people, events or anything that really inspired you? SS: Justa has actually inspired me more than anyone. She’s pushed me to chase some things that seemed absurd to me before, like riding in El Salvador. On a surf trip there I saw kids in homemade knee pads biking and said to her in a later conversation, "let’s go ride bikes there!" And she said, "yah let’s do that!". She’s inspired me to chase these big dreams and projects ever since we’ve met and we’ve accomplished a lot of crazy goals. JS: How long ago did you meet her? SS: 7 years ago
JS: There’s this new thing on social media called Mountain Mondays. How do you find that living IN THE mountains affects you? Makes you who you are? Like maybe in relation to where you grew up in the Lower Mainland…?
SS: It makes me happier, comforted somehow. There is so much beauty in the lines of the mountains, the shapes, and the potential for exploration. There are epic views once you climb up them and you’re rewarded with the descents. It’s like two rewards, for one piece of work! JS: Yah, I feel like living in the mountains is a constant beckoning / call to get out and explore!
JS: You also seem to like mountains so much that you travel all over the world to visit new ones - what’s the draw? Are there words to describe it? SS: The draw is the exploration of new places, the rewards are huge. You never know what you’re going to find, and when you do find something, it’s like striking gold. For example, the Candy Cane Mountains in Azerbaijan, they are so cool in and of themselves and then you find a line, and it’s all rideable. You’re thinking that no one has ridden this line before and it’s a surreal feeling. You hunt, and there is a lot of failure, so when you do get it, it feels like you’ve just found that secret trail you’ve been searching years for.
JS: Are the mountains here just not big enough? SS: They definitely are but other mountains are different. And when you really start to think about how many mountains there are in the world and how many different types of terrain and trails are on each one of those……there’s just a lot of this world that I want to set my eyes and tires on. Every time I travel and discover new areas it just makes me want to explore more.
JS: If you’re up in the alpine having an adventure, and it’s rainy and snowy, generally just inclement conditions - what do you wish you had packed? SS: This makes me think of Peru and the 9 day bike-packing mission I did there. What I wanted more than anything on that trip was more protein and dry shoes. Oooh, avocado too. But avocados are probably the dumbest thing you could bring on an epic bike-packing mission. So yeah, I’d say it’s a toss up between a couple kilos of beef jerky or maybe an extra pair of shoes. Although extra shoes when you’re already overloaded is also dumb. If anything, more food that isn’t all carbs.
JS: What is your biggest stoke around upcoming travel? SS: A fall trip planned for western Asia/Eurasia. The mountains look insane, incredible, and beautiful. I look forward to the sufferfest, in that we don’t know what it’s going to bring. JS: When are you going, and for how long? SS: Somewhere in the September to November range. Probably going for a month. JS: Anywhere in the world you haven’t been yet to lay down some turns on a bike or surf board that is top of mind for the next few years (or is this top secret…)? SS: Bhutan; that’s a far off one JS: Like similar in complexity to the India trip? SS: Yah. We are also looking at a place that is above Japan, in eastern Russia - Kamchatka Oblast. I love looking at maps, topo lines for riding, and coastlines for surfing. You start to see the crazy features when you zoom in, like the Candy Cane mountains, which have interesting geological terrain. We pick destinations partly based on that. This is probably similar to why I like trail building, you get to see the different layers of rocks, the erosion, how everything works and forms our environment. It’s like being a kid, playing in the dirt, you continue to learn hands on lessons like a kid.
JS: Yah, stay curious right?!