That way you can have a stage that is a mellow downhill,
another that is more technical and one that has a bit more
pedaling. There has to be some type of formula, so if the
stage is, say, over 10 minutes long, it can only have so
much pedaling in it. These are supposed to be enduro
downhill races, not cross-country races.
Look at the Downieville Classic. There is so much
climbing. It doesn’t matter if you are Aaron Gwin; you
are not going to that race and winning. As fit as Aaron is,
there is just way too much climbing.
This is always going to be the struggle with this kind of
racing. It is not just the course or event formula either.
The courses are not roped off from top to bottom, so there
are guys out in the woods just looking for places to cut
the course. That’s a real bummer. And you know the timing isn’t dialed. There have been plenty of timing issues.
I take every race seriously. I go to represent my sponsors and to get a good result. If you find out that guys are
cutting the course or the timing is all messed up, it is a
bummer. It is a waste of money for the sponsors. It is a
waste of time for me to go there if because of a timing hiccup or discrepancy I miss out on a good result.
I’m labeled a whiner or a complainer because I point
this stuff out, but if you were there and knew all the facts,
it is not that hard to figure out. If I start 30 seconds
behind a rider, pass him and his posted time is only 20
seconds behind mine, there is something wrong. I made
up 30 seconds on him. There is still a lot of learning to be
MBA: We’ve seen products dramatically improve after
you’ve signed with the company that makes them. Is that
the effect of the whiny Lopes?
Brian: Yes, for sure. I like to be involved as much as I
can be in the development of products. I ride. I ride every
day. I know when something works or doesn’t work. The
people designing the stuff are great designers and have
really good ideas, but they are not on their bikes in the
real world putting in as much time as I am. Most of my
Still got it: Brian is still a familiar figure on the podium, even if
he is joining riders 10 years his junior. “I thought I’d be done with
racing when I hit 30, but I’m still having fun. I’m taking it year by
year,” explains Brian.
Perfect fit: Nobody fits to a bike like Brian. Brian won this made-for-TV 2008 Jeep Eliminator event with plenty of style to spare. If
he got any lower, his chin would be resting on the stem.
Don’t box him in: Brian is not an easy rider to pin down. He has
ridden—and won—everything from a road stage race prologue to
downhill events. If it requires explosive acceleration, bike-handling
skills and determination, Brian is a threat. Photo by Ron Sellers
“I don’t beat
bush. But I