Jeff Kendall-Weed spent three days in June exploring a few of Washington’s iconic mountain bike trails: The Palisades in Greenwater, Xanadu near Leavenworth, and Duthie Bike Park at Issaquah. The diversity and quality of riding should be evident in the imagery and video produced by Kitsbow, which captured and the smile on Jeff’s face. It’s trails like these that remind us why we ride.
Post ride interview with Jeff
What did you think of Washington?
Washington is amazing! The trails are great, the air is clean, and the people are nice. And it’s not as jampacked full of people as is the bay area! It’s especially neat traveling outside of the city – you can get pretty rural pretty quick!
You’ve ridden in a growing number of successful mountain bike videos now, how was this project unique, what were the successes? What were the challenges?
It was Kitsbow’s idea to head up to a place where we could visit a few rad spots, all within driving distance, that would each be quite different. I didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t think Washington has gotten the same level of love as has BC or Oregon, and it’s right between the two! The elevation was quite real, and the amount of perfectly sized ridgelines for MTB rides was stunning! The MTB population is huge, too – maybe the folks that love BC and Oregon all live in Seattle?
With neither Elliot nor I having ridden the area before, we were a little bit in the dark on where to go. We did a bunch of research ahead of time on spots, but the style of riding and filming that we did was more something that we had to seek out on our own. We were blind on what we’d find on each trail, and we definitely rode past a few things that we wished we could return to, and we also had to film what we found just in case that was going to be the best the trail had to offer!
Which trail was the most fun to ride? What trail was the most fun to film?
Duthie was by far the most fun to both film and ride – what a cool park! So often public riding spots are watered down and kinda boring – not Duthie! There’s such a variety there, and the jumps were killer!
Xanadu in Leavenworth was sweet but since we were trying to shoot a few things, we didn’t really get to enjoy a true top-to-bottom run. It reminded me of the trails in Santa Cruz with the rad berms, but the forest and ridgeline was much more epic feeling. The views of the valley are awe inspiring!
You’ve had a successful racing career, how is filming different than racing? Do you plan to do more of it?
Racing is great because it’s such a finite, concrete goal to train and do well. In a way it sort of establishes legitimacy – the stopwatch doesn’t lie! It’s also a great motivator – how many times do you travel someplace new for a race? What’s really unique about filming is that it allows you to show the world how you envision the trail, and how you approach various obstacles. The fastest line isn’t always the most fun or most difficult line – bike skills are neat, and filming is a fun way to share that with others. I’m still blown away that folks actually want to see me pedal around on my bike in the woods.
What are your next goals (that are publicly shareable) for your career in biking?
I’ll be racing for many more years, it’s too much fun to see everyone and ride new trails with all my friends. Each race is sort of like a little reunion, and racing is such a great motivator to go someplace new. If opportunities to film are available, I’ll definitely jump on them! Those opportunities are still rare and I don’t take them for granted! It’d be neat to do more videos, but the freeride and slopestyle guys set the bar pretty high. High enough that I’ll always be more focused on the racing side of things, but it sure is fun to expand horizons!
What do you think makes you a unique rider? What defines your style?
I don’t really think of myself as having a unique style, I just ride how I want to ride. I like to throw the bike around a little and play with some wheelies and jumps. It’s a great feeling to see a trail, form a bit of a vision of what to do on that trail, then be able to pull it off. And it wasn’t that long ago that I was still a struggling grom, so it’s rad to be able to do some stuff that I used to only dream of!