Extreme mountain biker riding high

Nanaimo’s Ben Glassen gets huge airtime while practising at the Doumont trails last month. The mountain biker is preparing for the start of another competitive season on the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour starting this spring.

These days, Nanaimo’s Ben Glassen can do a backflip on his mountain bike. Then another, then another, each one a perfect, safe landing.

Surely, there must have been a period of cringe-inducing crashes, right? How does a coach even begin to teach something like that?

“That’s the weird part about this sport,” Glassen said. “No coaches. No training, really. It’s kind of just go out, trial and error, and spend the time on the bike.”

First he’ll go over to Whistler and practise performing the trick into a giant foam pit built just for that purpose. Then it’s up to Parksville to try landing it into a sand pit. Then come the dirt jumps at Nanaimo’s Doumont trails.

For Glassen, it’s all preparation for another season on the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour, about to get underway.

The 21-year-old Nanaimo District Secondary School grad piled into a sponsor’s van last year and travelled to some of the North American tour stops, going as far as New Hampshire. He was happy just to make it to any finals. This year, Glassen would like to get to all the North American tour stops, and he wants to place high in his finals.

“I’ve really been progressing and learning lots of new tricks at a really fast rate. I’m really excited about it,” he said. “So I think I’m going to be very competitive.”

He bikes in the professional division, but going pro is easier said than done. Landing his backflips and 360-degree spins in competition is part of it, but sponsors are ultimately looking for exposure. In the YouTube generation, that means riders need to get footage of themselves navigating trails and jumps – “shredding” – in secret locations, then produce videos set to music their parents hate.

It’s both sport and showmanship. And Glassen is better at both, now that he can backflip his way down even the trickiest trails.

“The scary part about backflips is just that first flip, when you actually get to dirt,” he said. “I was feeling in the right mood and I did the first one, got that over with and it was like, ‘Oh, that’s not too bad.’”

BIKE BANTER … Glassen is seeking travel sponsorship and can be reached via e-mail at just_ride101@hotmail.com.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Nanaimo sees Island’s first nurse practitioner primary care clinic

Nexus Primary Care Clinic opened in late June in south end

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help finding missing 19-year-old

Haley Murphy has not been seen since Tuesday, June 30, say police

Learning outside the classroom suits VIU’s carpentry program just fine

Vancouver Island University has partnered with KSG Consulting Ltd. to provide hands-on learning

Nanaimo chef the Sensitive Vegan takes tongue-in-cheek approach to serious cooking

Jesse Rubboli creates cassava-based recipes and shares them via YouTube and on social media

Resident helps man in distress in Departure Bay in the middle of the night

Seven-foot-tall resident able to wade out far enough to help ‘frantic’ man in the water

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read