Work Ethic; riders and racers that work the 9–5 grind, whatever variation of it that may be, and put in time to pursue racing and riding bikes at the next level. These individuals are not your general hobbyists or weekend warriors so to speak, rather, they’re riders that in the eyes of many could be professional athletes, though are not, yet. Though we need some clarity around the phrase ‘professional athletes’, because these individuals are anything but unprofessional; in the context of this series, a professional athlete will be referred to as somebody who is paid to ride bicycles—no job, just riding and promoting bikes. With that said, some of the personalities herein will have ambitions of no longer “working” to make ends meet, while others are happy right where they are.
There’s a pretty common expression in the Sea to Sky Corridor, especially for those who at one time or another called Whistler ‘home’. This phrase; ‘moved for the winters, stayed for the summers’ is common enough that it’s now a cliche, though it does ring true for many. Davis is another of the growing population that originally moved because of the winters. A strong skier, he moved to Whistler from Nova Scotia in pursuit of larger thrills and better snow. Like many that fall into this bracket, summers brought the realization that mountain bikes were equally awesome in this part of the world, pretty well sealing Davis’ fate.
When I first met Davis he was a baby faced lad with a crazy, curly mane for hair—quite the defining feature. He was on a borrowed bike down at a local jump spot in Squamish and was a good laugh from the outset. His partner, Meesh, was working in Vancouver and with Davis working as a chippy (aka builder) in Whistler, being in the middle made the most sense. Although we only got to ride together once during that time, it was disappointing to learn that he had moved back up the highway after Meesh landed a new job.
Outside of hitting ditch jumps in church parking lots, bikes hadn’t really been considered too much during Davis’ formative years, but after moving to Whistler in 2002 that all changed. Racing bikes through the mountains presented itself as an option to continue enjoying the outdoors, while serving his competitive side and the adrenaline junky within (Davis isn’t unfamiliar with one of the bigger, more glorified cliffs on Whistler Mountain in the winter, with it even taking him down at one point. He now spends more of his winters backcountry skiing; but I digress). In little time Davis became determined to be faster on his bike, a trait that clearly shines through to this day.
But how does being faster, to the point that he now competes at select Enduro World Series events around the globe, fit in with holding down a day job in order to be able to “buy the things you need”? Where does the drive and motivation come from that allows for him to work a mentally draining 40+hrs/week, while training, riding, and being a considerable partner all at the same time? How can someone fit so much into a 7 day schedule and still have time for a few beers and a backcountry hell mission or three, by bike or skis? Our first Work Ethic delves into what makes Davis tick and how he interprets his situation. This humble 31 year old is just another rider giving the real world a crack, while pushing his limits on the bike. →
DOB & where you’re from?
Born March 1984 and grew up in Great Village, Nova Scotia.
Riding bikes for how long?
Hitting ditch jumps in the church parking lot since the 80′s.
Racing Bikes for how long?
I started racing when I moved to Whistler 13 years ago. The bike park and XC Toonie races were a great introduction to racing, and I quickly became determined to be faster.
Racer or rider?
Definitely a rider first; I don’t think you can be a racer without being a rider. It has to be fun, and it’s all about the experience. For me, racing is just a great excuse to ride more.
I’ll race anything, and that’s likely why I ended up in Enduro. It’s the Neapolitan ice cream of MTBing: you want some long vanilla climbs? Check; you want some sweet chocolate DH? Check; I don’t know what the pink stuff represents—no one eats the pink stuff anyway.
How did you end up racing the Neapolitan Ice Cream on MTB?
I feel like Tony Horn introduced the idea of stage racing to me. His events are always multi-faceted and emphasize the social aspect… which I guess you could call the pink ice cream of Enduro.
What was the driving force behind taking it more seriously—friends, realization of results, desire to be fast?
I think I started doing well in races locally and figured I owe it to myself to see how far I can take it. I’ll rarely turn down a challenge, and how better to test yourself than race a bunch of other dudes who want to win too.
I’m a project manager for a custom home builder in Whistler.
Full time or Part time?
Full time, fully engaged. It’s not the kind of job that leaves much time for daydreaming about bikes.
How many years?
I’ve worked in construction since I moved here in 2002.
Did the job come before pursuing race results?
The job is a necessary step to pursuing the race results. It’s nice to have a steady income and the ability to buy the things you need.
How does the day job hinder your racing ambitions?
Disclaimer in case my boss is reading: I love my job and am in no hurry to leave it. But I often wish I could devote more time and mental effort to racing. I’d love to get up Monday morning and focus on stretching instead of plumbing code requirements. Racing at a higher level can’t start Friday afternoon and end Sunday night.
How does your job support your racing ambitions?
My job has helped me become more organized and efficient with my time, and definitely adds necessary balance to my life. Managing stress and having patience are key to my progress with work and racing. Having an employer who understands what it takes is key, and having flexibility to take time off when I need to is part of the balance.
Toughest part of being a racer and working full time?
My job used to be physically challenging, not leaving much energy left for fun after hours. Now it’s much more exhausting mentally. Some days at work are like herding kittens and diminish my energy in a different way. The toughest part is finding the balance; how to divide the energy.
Outdoor Gear Canada has helped me for a few years, but really stepped up this year to a national level sponsorship with several of their brands: Intense Cycles, Fox Suspension, Bell Helmets, Camelbak, GoPro, Easton Cycling. I also have great clothing support from Royal Racing and 7iDp Protection. Also Sylvie at SweetSkills MTB training for helping me get my muscles bigger.
Family support. Is it invaluable? Are they supportive (do they allow for you to disappear training; get out of chores etc.)?
My girlfriend Meesh is the light of my life and her support is invaluable. She puts up with my shit, keeps me facing the right direction and well fed. Thanks Meesh.
GOALS AND AMBITIONS:
My goal racing is obviously to win, but I have to manage my expectations around here. With a half dozen top EWS riders calling the Sea to Sky home, podiums are hard to come by.
The bike has introduced me to great people and is now helping me see the world. My ambition is to continue the adventure and make every ride as fun as that ditch jump in the Great Village church parking lot.
I’d like to do as well as possible both locally and on the international stage. Since its inception, the EWS has become a very deep field of talented riders. I’d like to see a top 50 result at those events this summer, but anything in the top half of the Pro field I will be happy with.
What does the future hold for you?
Right now, I’m on a plane to Ireland and Scotland rounds of the EWS, and am really excited to go to Trans Provence later in June. Crankworx EWS will be a blast, and I have some backcountry trips planned for the fall.
Davis just got back from racing the Emerald Enduro in Ireland and the Tweedlove Festival Enduro in Scotland, stops two and three of the 2015 Enduro World Series. He took the experiences in his stride, kept it fun and came away with some impressive results for his first time abroad. There is no doubt that Davis will only be more motivated by the experience and eye up smashing results at his next major events, the Trans Provence, and the Whistler EWS stop.