Interview: Graham Agassiz + new video "Digging for Galena"
It’s called Digging for Galena and was shot by the Mind Spark Cinema boys out at Retallack Lodge in B.C.’s remote Kootenay region with Kona and SRAM. We worked on the trail out there the whole summer. The trail is helicopter access only. We were told to build our dream trail, whatever we wanted. Unfortunately, I had broken my hand in the spring, so I couldn’t do as much digging as I wanted but the trail crew did an amazing job. It’s is one of the sickest trails I have ever ridden and the fact that’s it’s heli access only makes it pretty special. I’m pretty excited to get the video out as it is pretty much the only thing I did last year.
The past two years I had seen the jumps in the Pure Darkness videos and they caught my eye. The step up is the biggest I have ever seen. Even just the roll in, with the loop, it looks like a Hot Wheels track out here. Then there is the backdrop of the mountains and the African forest. This place is something else for sure.
I had a good winter but I haven’t ridden my bike at all. I had one day on the spiked tyres before coming over here. I’m definitely rusty. I’m still feeling it now. It’s always hard to come back from an injury. Usually, I have some warm-up days before getting into the gnarly stuff but I’ve put myself right back into it this time. It’s often the best way to do it. Get rid of that bad voodoo.
There were a number of things. We could have had the landing wider while the run in was not the greatest with a pop to the left. It was mega breezy, going left to right. I almost went for a chilled first run, going for a straight air but I figured going straight with that kind of wind might be worse than spinning. So I committed to the spin. It went off perfect and I thought “Wow, I can’t believe I’m going to land this” but, as you know, I was a foot over to the right and clipped the edge of the cliff.
The risk to reward is not there for us at all
I keep getting asked that. What are the limits? Each year, it’s so crazy. You think it can’t get any gnarlier and the following year the guys just go for broke. The risk to reward is not there for us at all but there is just something about that event that makes everybody push it. It’s a rad thing to be apart of. I can’t even imagine where it’ll be in the next couple of years.
It was great to have a new venue. Ideally, there should be a new venue every year. The last couple of years was a total bike park out there. For us to be creative and do new things you need a changing landscape. There was simply no room for that at the old venue. Having a fresh zone definitely made it a much better event. Also having fewer people there made it a lot less crowded. The true free riders that can figure out a line and see something from nothing are the ones that really excel.
Yeah, we spike our tyres in winter. We use short XC mud spike tyres, drill them out and put some bigger screws in there. They turn out lighter than downhill tyres. We shovel out the trails and get a nice icy layer, the icier the better. We get full traction, you can’t even drift, and ride at full trail speed. It’s something else, being able to kick it out to the side and send out big white waves, it’s almost more fun than riding in the dirt.
It wasn’t supposed to be so big as it turned out but I broke my neck while filming it and the story sort of developed from there and I just ran with it after that. It was really hard for me to recover from such a big injury (broken neck) and getting straight back into filming was tough and I struggled a bit. But much like coming to DarkFest after my Rampage crash, you just have to hop back on the saddle and know that you can do that kind of stuff. Yeah, it was a long process and I am stoked that it is all over and now I can chill a bit more and come to Fest Series.
Fest is the best blend we could possibly have for freeriding. Just chilled vibes, no pressure, and hanging out with your homies and shredding. It’s the best environment to push ourselves in.
I’ve been filming a lot the last couple of years, so this year I plan to crush as many of the Fest events as I can. I also hope to stay healthy and ride my bike all year.