Wednesday, December 31, 2008

January's Featured Rider: Darian Harvey

Darian Harvey is the current National Mountain Bike Series Downhill Champion and represented the USA at the 2007 World Downhill Championships. She's fast on the downhill bike and aggressive on the 4x course. Darian has a Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in photography, and she's an ace bike mechanic as well. She's current training in California, and will return to Durango, CO to skate ski and snowboard until the mountains thaw enough for her to start riding bikes again. --FF

Name: Darian Harvey
Home: Durango, CO
Age: 26
Favorite type of riding: Fast, flowy DH tracks with wide-open, drifty corners.
Why you ride: I ride because I love it. I love that no matter what happens to me on a ride, I can come home with a smile on my face. I can get a flat tire, go over the bars, or just ride poorly--the bottom line is that I had a chance to ride my bike, and for that I am happy.
Sponsors: SoBe-Cannondale Team (SoBe, Cannondale, Fox, Shimano, Mavic, Michelin, E-13, Thomson, Smith, Bear Naked, Marmot, Hydrapak, Teva, Pedro, Thule ), Six Six One, Royal, and Sunline

When I was 10 years old, my cousin bought his first mountain bike. He let me ride it a couple of times and I was hooked. I knew that I had to have a mountain bike of my own, so I started working odd jobs and saving money. I subscribed to Mountain Bike Action for about five years before I could afford to buy my own bike.

In those magazines, it always appeared that the gravity riders had more fun. The cross country riders always had these painful grimaces on their faces, while the gravity riders looked like they were having a blast. I would see pictures of legends like Missy Giove, John Tomac, Shawn Palmer, Anne-Caroline Chausson, and I would think, "I want to do that!" So the first bike I bought was a typical hardtail, but I always dreamed of racing on a downhill bike of my own. After several more years of saving, my dream came true. I bought my first DH bike, and have been racing ever since.

One of my big goals for 2009 is something that I have struggled with for a long time. My goal is to become proficient at jumping. Anyone that has ever watched me race 4X or dual slalom knows that jumping is my Achilles heel and my inability to jump doubles has cost me races. I intend to change that for 2009 and I am actually moving to California for part of the winter so that I can work on my jumping skills. Look out dirt jumps, here I come!

I think that there are many important skills that can help riders be successful in our sport, but the two most important things to me are fitness and mental preparation. It doesn't matter how high you can bunnyhop, how far you can jump, how long you can manual, if you can't remember your lines and don't have the power to pedal out of every corner, you are not going to win races. All those fun skills come in handy in nearly all riding situations, but great fitness allows you to be competitive and proper mental preparation allows you to put all of your skills together and hopefully win.

I would say that my career highlight so far would be winning the 2008 Pro Women's Downhill National Mountain Bike Series Championship. This year was the first year that I was able to make it to nearly all the races in the series (only missed one this year), and I ended up winning the whole thing.

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