Jared Graves and
MBA: Where did you grow up?
Jared Graves: Toowoomba, been there
all my life.
MBA: Where is Toowoomba located in
JG: Toowoomba is about 120 kilometers
[ 75 miles] west of Brisbane. If you looked
on a map, you would look right in the middle of the east coast, then go inland 120
MBA: What’s it like?
JG: We have some of the best riding
within a day’s driving distance for sure,
one of the higher mountains as well. It’s
become a bit of a riding hot spot. The dirt
varies from red clay to sandstone, and
constantly changes down any trail. The red
clay breaks up into super-slippery mar-
bles—think “dry mud” grip levels—then
the sandstone turns into, well, sand, but
sometimes if you time it right just after rain,
you will find the best traction imaginable.
MBA: How far away is the nearest big
city that Americans have heard of?
JG: Well, Brisbane is the closest big city,
but we’re about 525 miles north of Sydney.
MBA: How big is Toowoomba, popula-tion-wise?
JG: About 125,000. It’s a small city; big
enough to have everything you need, but
not too big, so you never have any traffic to
deal with, and there’s not too many distractions. It’s perfect.
MBA: What’s your wife’s name and what
does she do?
JG: Jess. She worked for years in the
HR department at the university here at
home while she also got her business
management degree, but currently is taking
some time to work towards some goals as
a professional dancer. Currently, mostly
salsa and samba dancing, but [she] has
a big background in hip-hop dancing as
well. She has danced just about every style
MBA: Do you have any kids?
JG: No kids yet, just our Great Dane,
Staffy, and black lab mix, Josie; she’s 9.
MBA: What kind of work do your parents
JG: Dad has his own small business. It’s
kind of hard to explain and has evolved a
lot over the years, but he makes machinery castings mostly. Mum has done a few
things, from a bridal shop to a health-food
store and currently sells furniture.
MBA: When did you first learn to ride a
JG: I think it was just before I turned 4.
MBA: Who taught you?
JG: Mum and dad.
MBA: Did you compete on other kinds of
bikes before mountain bikes?
JG: BMX. I was always the [small kid]
of my age class, but made a lot of national
title finals and things like that—almost
a kid, Graves took up mountain biking
when he was a teenager. After racing
cross-country events for a few years,
Graves switched his emphasis to gravity
events—downhill, dual slalom, 4-Cross
and, more recently, enduro. Graves
became one of the world’s top riders in
all of those disciplines. He even returned
to racing BMX for a few years so he
could compete in the Olympics.
This past year Graves set a new
record for the most pro men’s Sea Otter
downhill titles of any rider in history.
He’s even won national championship
races in the United States in both
downhill and dual slalom. He’s also
been one of the top riders in the world
in enduro racing.
We’ll let him tell you the rest.
Photos by Sebastian Schieck