Founder and Owner of RipStoke
Many people have asked us over the years what RipStoke means. When we started the company, I wanted to create a name that was more about the spirit and lifestyle of the sport than anything that would be too descriptive about a certain part of it. Long story short… “Rip” means to do something well and “Stoke” the feeling of euphoria or happiness about a situation or a moment. Combine the words together and they could have infinite meanings, which for us encompasses what makes riding so much fun!
This spring is my fifteenth year coaching mountain bike skills and the eleventh year since I started RipStoke. My coaching background began in the winter sports arena back in 1996 when I got certified in the ECDSF (French national coaching certification) in Skiing and snowboarding, through Club Med at Copper Mountain. After my second season at Copper Mountain, I got the opportunity to help develop the Winter ParkSnowboard team and work with elite athletes in the terrain parks for halfpipe and slopestyle (a competition with a series of jumps and rail features whichhas been popularized in the mainstream at the winter X-Games) Through my work with the Winter Park snowboard team I also went through training to be certified in the USASA (United States Amateur Snowboard Association). The experiences and training at Copper Mountain and Winter Park and the different certification exams and training, have helped me learn invaluable insights about teaching techniques, group dynamics, and the many different learning styles that people have. These ideas would later be paramount in the development of the RipStoke mountain biking teaching program.
Below are some of my personal results and achievements in cycling, and as a coach:
I’ve lived in Boulder for the past fourteen years, and for me, being involved in coaching is a great way to give back to the sport that has provided so many incredible experiences and friendships throughout the years. A lot of us have been riding for such along time, that it’s hard to remember the “Stoke” we got the first time we pulled off a technical move on the bike. When I coach and can walk someone through a technique and have them get it for the first time and see the joy on a persons face, I get that feeling vicariously back through them! When I’m not on my bike, I try to stay involved with the cycling community through events to which we have donated our time and performances,which recently include: the BMA (Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance) film festivaland the Valmont Bike Park Fundraiser at the Boulder Theater. Another piece ofour service goals are the school programs we do to promote the healthy active lifestyle of cycling and educating kids about bike safety. If we can get some kids to step away from the video games and do something outdoors, or motivate some of them to chase their dreams… THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!
Some of my favorite local trail rides are Hall Ranch in Lyons and Dakota ridge in Golden, for the technical challenges, and Chimney Gulch connected to Apex Park for the perma-grin fun factor. It’s hard not to enjoy the smooth singletrack on the Colorado Trail notably around Buffalo Creek or in Summit County between Keystone andBreckenridge.
Apart from the incredible desert singletrack in Fruita and the classics in Moab like Porcupine, Amasa Back and the Sovereign trail. Some of my most memorable rides have been when I’ve had the chance to hop across the pond, where part of the adventure is learning about the culture and where a mountain bike can take you. Most notably are renting amountain bike Near Fort Williams Scotland at a mountain bike specific trail network called The Seven Stanes. Who knew that the brits ride with their brakes flip-flopped! I can’t remember ever having as many close calls with almost going over the bars from grabbing the “wrong” brake, and oddly enough having more fun while doing it! Another is the chance that I got to ride in the Black Forest just outside of Freiburg Germany on a rental “mountain bike” that would be questionable on a dirt road. The temperatures were hovering around freezing, and besides the fact that Icouldn’t feel my feet and it took three fingers to SLOWLY come to a stop it was amazing to see the network of thousands of miles of bike accessible trails thata person could spend a lifetime exploring!
Specialized Enduro for trail riding, all mountain freeriding and super D; Czar stock trials bike for the big boulder technical riding and urban gap, rail and big droplines; Dean hardtail for commuting and smooth singletrack cross country; Wheeler full rigid mountain bike for the town beater bike.