Thursday, June 26, 2008

July's Featured Rider: Darcy Turenne

Canada's Darcy Turenne is quickly pushing women's freeride mountain biking into the mainstream. In addition to frequent appearances in cycling mags, Darcy has also been featured in Men's Journal and in an upcoming Rolling Stone issue. A former member of the Canadian National Downhill team, when Darcy left racing for freeriding she never looked back. She currently hosts "The Ride Guide" TV show and has a university degree in environmental studies, so she can properly identify the soil and trees she sails through. --FF

Name: Darcy Turenne
Home: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada--plus airports and couches everywhere!
Age: 24
Favorite type of riding: Fast, flowy, jumpy singletrack
Sponsors: Norco Performance Bikes, Oakley, Gravity/FSA, Dakine, Shimano, Etnies, WTB, Skullcandy

The more I ride, the more I fall in love with it. The freedom and sense of challenge that I feel when I ride is endless and it puts me 100% in the moment. As soon as I jump on my bike I feel in my element and any residual stress I had during the day is gone. That terrible blind date I just had? POOF! Out of my head when I ride!

When I first started "freeriding," it was all about the tricks for me. The only bike I had was a huge downhill bike and I was determined to learn a suicide no-hander. To me, that was the epitome of freeriding! It’s hard to write that now and not laugh.

After I learned the trick and did it a few times, I realized it wasn't as cool as I had imagined. Sure, it got a few “oohs” and “aahs,” but it wasn't actually all that fun to do! Around the same time, my ex-boyfriend had given me a BMX bike. On the first ride I was like, "Why would I want this thing?" I was in my teenage rebellion phase. It hit a littler later for me than most.

He convinced me that BMXing was fun, good for the ol' skills, and that I should try it out. To avoid being in the way, we'd hit the skatepark at 10pm at night after the lights went out. I'd pump around in full gloves, scarves, and down jackets to get the feeling for the bike. After a while, I started venturing out on the BMX in the daylight and soon started to really enjoy it. On a BMX, your mistakes aren’t brushed under the rug like on a big squishy mountain bike. BMX bikes let you know they’re there—like a noisy roommate on a Saturday night. After rough landing after rough landing, I began to realize that being smooth and light on a bike is what separates a good biker from a mediocre one.

There are tricks I've learned, and ones I want to learn, but I don't care about them nearly as much as as I care about my ability to moto-whip and ride with style and confidence. Now all that matters to me when I ride my bike is style and flow. It's a lesson I learned over time and one that I'm going to stick with. I think style is the hardest thing to learn on a bike because it really has to be developed over time and it comes within. I've put a lot of work into mine and that is what I'm the most proud of when I ride.

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