High School Quarterback

I’ve always had trouble with the freeride flicks, with the overly serious music, editing, and pretty much everything involved with the Canadian Freeride Nouveau school. And by Canadian Freeride Nouveau, I mean everything after Wade, Thomas, Robbie, or even Steve Romaniuk. I’m referring to your standard Coastal Crews, your Doerflings and Jarrett Moores, and their ilk. And of course these guys:

To review, Canadian Freeride circa 1999:

Canadian Freeride Nouveau, 2014:

Why all the epic bro brah bad music, why all the fist bumping and mean mugging? Why so many muscle shirts and tank tops? Freeride flicks are just an extension of all of this muscle-y, jock-y, epic, bro brah prove-how-cool-you-are BS, but what’s the root cause? There’s a strange but familiar aesthetic running through all the elements of Canadian Freeride Nouveau, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until today when I watched this culminating ballad of freeride flicks, this full flowering of bro, the denouement of a decade or so of slow painful progression towards the new freeride:


And here it is: mountain biking is cool in Canada. Of course it’s not the single coolest thing to do, but it’s also not the lamest. Let me frame it this way: unlike all of America, in large swathes of BC and Alberta mountain biking isn’t relegated to the losers who sucked at all the other sports. In Canada peers will be impressed. Girls will take notice. A young, budding male in Canada could look at his Dad and say “I want to ride mountain bikes,” and his dad won’t have to choke down disappointment and put down the baseball glove in his hand that he was hoping to use to play catch with his firstborn son to lie through gritted teeth as his wife forces him to say “whatever you want to do.”
This one factor, let’s call it the “cool factor” if you will, completely changes the demography of mountain biking in America vs. Canada. 
See, in America we have Football, Basketball, and Baseball. “The big three.” Those three sports consume the attention of 90% of America’s meathead jock high school quarterback population. And even if the big three miss out on a meathead jock type, then we still have lesser meathead sports like Lacrosse or Water Polo to scoop up the remnants.

It’s not quite football, but you can still imagine this guy beating up someone who’s small or different.
If you’re from the U.S. and you ride mountain bikes, I already know you were the last one to get picked for every game of basketball in gym class. Sure, maybe you were captain of the soccer team, but that wasn’t even considered a real sport in America until maybe five years ago, and only on the West Coast at that. Basically if you ride mountain bikes in America you’ve known your place in the heirarchy of testosterone for a long, long time, and here’s a hint: it’s not near the top.
Future American Downhill National Champ.
But our friends up North aren’t so lucky. Yes they have hockey in Canada, and that goes a long way towards occupying the interests of meatheads, but it’s just one sport, so it doesn’t have the power to cull them all into one place. There will be meatheads left out. Where do all the other bro’s go?
Those bro’s found mountain biking. 
It doesn’t help that Dylan Forbes even looks like Ben Affleck’s wingman from Dazed and Confused:
James Doerfling looks like he’s trying to model for J.Crew. Except for Bingelli or Lopes, that wouldn’t even occur to an American mountain bike racer. We’ve all been too busy endlessly practicing turns and hiking runs to make up for the total failure that we amounted to in traditional sports and to prove to our dad’s that “see we’re good at something” for the last 14 years.

In America, Tanner would be a defensive nose tackle on the varsity squad, would beat up his brother Dan who will later become Poet Laureate of the UN and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and would wreck his dad’s Nissan senior year after the big game, and we’d never hear about him again because he’d be a mid-level sales guy at Bob Lanphere’s Beaverton Honda for the rest of his life.

In Canada Tanner would pick up a used Demo 8 off Pinkbike sophomore year of High School, learn ugly unturndowns and hucker backflips, and eventually become the fourth member of the Coastal Crew so we can hear him yell “sick” or “send it Norbs” ten times per video for the rest of eternity.

32 thoughts on “High School Quarterback

  1. I'm Canadian and I would agree with most of this. Way too many bros in these parts. Lifted douche trucks, white oakleys, flexfits, tanks, and skin tight cut offs. Full sleeve bro tatts too. All that sais, Canada still has a better scene than 'murica. Sorry bro.

  2. Don't forget mtb is also lower in the pecking order then skateboarding, But that's legit because anyone can afford a board.

  3. Now that Satan is in Gwin's undies, America has nothing to be proud about again. This post reflects that sad fact.

    But nothing represents Canadian stupidity more than the nucks that bring their guns to Rampage every year to show them off for the Pinkbike cameras.

  4. Dude come to the bc (excluding whis/vangroovy) and see what's up! It's way more core (am i allowed to use that word?) and way less bro brah than you think.

    Maybe it's just cause what's portrayed in the media? ?? But you already know they are clueless.

    And dude seriously you're from oregon you can't say shit about anything mtb related.

  5. wait so what about that dylan forbes video made him look like a jock/bro? the fact that there's a lot of slow motion? or that hes not tall and lanky?

    totally agree about that first video being garbage, but this whole article is just you speculating that mountain biking is probably maybe cool in canada just because some of the guys who ride there wear muscle shirts which automatically means their doucebag bros

  6. Not one but TWO pictures of Doerfling in a wife beater?

    I think someone has a man crush.

  7. Charlie wears DISSENT LABS socks. So, in a way, you and all the other Canadian retards are teammates.

  8. Who runs most major mtn bike brands marketiing departments? Canadians. Here lies your problem.

  9. Meh. Weak argument is weak and smacks of jealousy.

    Do you really think Doerfling got respect in Williams Lake, cowboy country, for riding a bicycle? And that the Coastal Crew were cool in high school? How about Aggie in Kamloops?

    Watched a ski or snowboard movie filmed in schoolyards or parking lots lately? Way more douchey. On either side of the border.

    You've probably been to Whistler twice or something and that makes you think, like all Americans who have visited a place once, like you've got it all figured out.

    Mountain bikers in Canada are no cooler than others who do 'action sports!' – which means they are cool to mountain bikers and ignored by everyone else, unless they get a Redbull hat. And then they are cool as shit to everyone. Doesn't that apply to 'Murica as well?

    New schtick maybe?

  10. Lol at all the anonymous canadians. But really, the most accurate thing I've ever heard about being a pro mountain bike rider in the U.S. was, “being a pro mountain biker is almost as cool as owning a dirt bike”.

  11. let's see here – a country of 300+ million people, lots of mountains, and bike companies based out of yet hardly anything to show for it on the world's stage. Compared to a lowly 35 million people with 4+ months of real winter, yet we have better riding and better riders. (Brits are the best but that's another story).. Butthurt americans who THINK they're the best at everything then make excuses as to why they aren't. it's sad really.

  12. Rabble rabble America freedom liberty lol

    The Canadian freeride flick bros must have terken' all yer jerbs charles?

  13. This blogger obviously hasn't seen much of Canada and bases all his opinions on pictures he sees on Pinkbike and then overinflates it inside his metal head. The American freeriders aren't really any different from the Canadian ones. This is just some sort of weird envy of successful people that is being expressed in a disingenuous fashion….. essentially childish trolling.

    And as an American I agree Canadians are nicer people.

  14. …..says the stupid American who can't help himself from being obviously stupid in public.

  15. This whole robot Rumpelstiltskin act is cute. It's a hard life as a mid level racer in the lottery of marketing resources. Mountain biking is a sport populated by small businesses with limited budgets. As a marketing schtick you can put all your eggs into the racing thing, which can turn on you in a hurry if your racer does not get results or turns out to be a total douche bag. Any one want to guess what Santa Cruz spends on their world cup program? I am guessing its more then the net profits of a lot of smaller bike companies. Devinci hit it out of the park with Steve Smith, but that could have gone either way.

    The other way to go at it is to toss a small amount of money to a few different groups of “bros” who are creating content, let them eat the bulk of the cost, and you get your name out there. you know most of it is going to suck, there is a chance some of it won't but either way its going to get eyes. Un-like a mid pack finisher in the EWS.

    The irony of the robot singling out of the coastal crew is funny. instead of bitching about not having trails (“tracks” for you americans) to ride, the coastal crew build what they wanted to ride. the whole “they should really do something” does not fly in the Canadian MTB scene. Sorry robots, your choice of trail building tools tell me every thing I need to know about how much trail you have actually built.

    none of this changes the fact that mountain biking is cool in B.C., and with that you do get a some of the trappings of cool. though, at its roots, the scene in B.C. is still a bastion of weirdos and dorks.

  16. Charlie, you are two old to be a salty old man.

    It is bizarre to me that you think Bourdo and Romo are awesome, but Doerflinger and Aggy are tryhards.

    Doerflinger is like Bourdo's brother from another mother, but without the dwarfism.

    Romo = Aggy, except Aggy hasn't got dropped for DWI rolling pickmeup trucks and for fucking fat bitches at parties.

  17. Anon 6:53, you have a learning disability. You completely missed Chaz's point. Of the 300 million people living in america, all the athletically gifted people play REAL SPORTS, not bikes.

    Put Marshawn Lynch on a DH bike, and watch that motherfucker throw double backies over the snake river canyon gap.

  18. “Romo = Aggy, except Aggy hasn't got dropped for DWI rolling pickmeup trucks and for fucking fat bitches at parties.”

    YOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Someone finally told the truth….

    “And as an American I agree Canadians are nicer people.”

    You have only spent time talking to mountain bikers from Canada, and not ones in Whistler. Go spend some time in downtown Vancouver. Canadians are douchebags. I've been down to Portland and Washington quite a bit and people there are WAY nicer than people in Whistler and Vancouver.

  19. Vancouverites are cold and pretentious. no surprise there. At least we're not afraid of making eye contact or talking to people like in Calipornia. you guys gun shy?

  20. canadian freeride scene has
    always sucked major bag.

    the worst were the originals, the hair care fags that couldn't race because they were too insecure to learn the racecraft.

    wade sucks, they all suck, get real, wanna talk real?, talk real.

    fuck freeride.

    fuck all canadian freeride faggots including the slope goons too.

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