Spoke Magazine

FRANKLY THURSDAY – MARK WEIR

Posted by Lester Perry on Thursday February 24 2011

Mark Weir and good friend Laurence Mote. Laurence warned Mark about the New Zealand sun, did he listen? Photo Caleb Smith

Mark Weir has been one of the most prominent faces of ‘All-Mountain’ riding and racing for the past few years and has certainly got a target on his back at any enduro / all-mountain event he competes in. Regardless of if that event is a full blown pro-fest (ie Downieville) or a supposedly friendly ride with the locals, he’s the man to beat. Mark has graced the pages of Spoke many times and after some major changes in his sponsorship setup we thought it was about time we let you a little further into his world. Ladies and Gents, Mark Weir….

How old are you (if you want to tell us)?
37 with a 50 year old body and 10 year old mind

Where do you live?
Novato, California, USA

Not only did Weir hand it to New Zealand's Santa Cruz distributor on the Wakamarina, he handed it to the trail. Here Weir threads the needle on the descent to Canvastown. Photo Caleb Smith

What do you like best about living where you do?
Family and friends, trails and and the riding community. If everything goes as planned we will even have a 14 acre bike park right down the street. A place for kids to ride safely, learn skills and respect each other’s efforts.

Mark climbing midway down Methven's backcountry epic, Scotts Saddle. Photo Caleb Smith

What do you dislike about living where you do?
NIMBY’s Not in my back yard rich yuppies. Horse shit on trails and dog lovers that don’t care about others enough to pick up their dog shit. Even worse they put it in a bag and leave it on the trail. Like that makes it better, now we have dog crap and plastic, that should break down fast…


How did you get involved in the MTB scene to begin with, and how long ago was that?

Being stalled-out after high school when my pro football contract never showed. I started drinking like a fish. Being fat for the first time was not all that bad till one day when I was shooting my BB gun. I was crouched over and caught my reflection in the window. What I saw was a layer of fat eclipsing my belt, looking like a stack of cottage cheese high and thick. That’s when my buddy said. “Hey chunky why do you choose to be fat?  Maybe you should get on a bike.” From there I never stopped. that was 18 years ago.

You’ve visited New Zealand a few times now, what is your best memory from your time here?

Well being a real fan of motor boating the jet boat ride with Mark Dickson was tough to beat. But overall maybe it was getting schooled by the unassuming tough guy Lawrence Mote. Him and Caleb gifted me some of the best trail I have ever ridden and showed me that American coffee is crap and so is the food.

Favourite trail you rode while in New Zealand?
Wharfdale I think the trail was? It was the last trail Mark Dixon brought us to. It was super flowy with the a great downhill angle with perfect rock to root to dirt ratio. I think I may be off on the trail name but it was 15 days and at least a couple rides a day. Maybe Mark can chime in?

Even more Canterbury foothill singletrack desecration. Photo Caleb Smith

What’s your ‘day’ job?
Working for WTB, PR and R&D. I also double as a ditch digger. I go shovel to shovel with any man. Moving dirt is one of my most favourite things to do. You show me flat ground and I show you lots of holes…

What’s the skinny behind your recent move from long time sponsor Santa Cruz to Cannondale, why the move after all these years?
Well that was just one of those things. It seemed we kind of grew apart and headed in different directions. I’m still close with all those guys they are great people and love riding bikes but it seemed I was not in the five year plan. I have always been working towards being more involved in trail access and getting more kids on bikes. Don’t get me wrong, racing bikes is something I will do till I am consistently considered pack-fill (maybe not far off).

In Marin were I live, we have spent the good part of that last few years working on getting places to ride for kids of all ages. My pump track really showed me the light. Just from a bunch of dirt made in to flow we built a community of mothers, fathers and kids that all have the same goal. Working with Cannondale gives team WTB a stronger motor and one of the top dealers in Mikes Bikes who is also behind the movement. With all of us working to make a difference for the next generation. I hope by the time my son Gus is riding he will have a place to do it safely without being a threat to the community. He is almost two now and he is already a threat to the walls in my house when he rides his strider….

High on Mt Roy on one of Al "nah we always climb over this deer fence" Heine's infamous "Heli Trips". Photo Caleb Smith

How will changing frame sponsor really affect you (and the WTB team) in the long term, will anything new actually be happening or will it be ‘business as usual’ for the team?
The frame change will not be much of a change in our day to day. We signed a two year deal, but I’ll do my part to make it last much longer. The people that I have talked to at Cannondale so far are my kind of people. They are very stoked on the ride and I can feel that when we talk.  What I do know is that they will bring much more presence to the all-mountain movement. That means riding, racing and working on solutions for more access for us to do. A big part of that will be started in our own back yard with the proposed Novato bike park. Like always we are crossing the fingers, nothing’s ever a guarantee in the land of the free.

Weir at the invite only Urge Carbo Verde event. Photo Sven Martin


How was your experience at the Urge Carbo Verdre (click to read Mark’s event report) event?

It was the the best mountain bike adventure I have ever done. The Urge crew, Fred Glo and Fabien Barel, are some of the best minds in the sport, to think they could put something like this together. Their vision shows how strong we can be as riders and people. The Urge humanitarian effort built by a group of like minded people will make change every place it visits for the better. These changes will change the community that they affect for years to come. I thank them for letting me join. To be around such great riders and people was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. This trip makes you want to make a difference. It was a true human growth experience.

What are your plans/goals for the coming Northern-Hemi summer?
As far as racing I have three seven day stage races planned. Transylvania Epic, BC bike race, and the Trans Provence endurance stage race in France. Also a bunch of the local stuff that I have been racing for years. Some great classics around these parts. A real high poster party. Maybe Caleb can make it out here with that big wheel?

You lost your house in a fire a couple of years back, I take it you managed to get back on your feet? What has been the most challenging part of that disaster?
Man what a shit storm. I still have not moved back in and I will not be for at least a few months. I’m still a sad guy when I think about it. The community and the culture has really changed. It was a meeting place and where a lot of good things started. I know it will be back like it was someday and I have what matters to me most my family, friends and a bike to ride. Life is still really good. Sometimes I do get a little pissed. People say it’s just things and your house, get over it. The stuff was not what was lost, the vibe was. The feeling that it created will forever just be a memory in our minds. Now we will just have to tilt our heads back and pour some new ones.  When the house is done it’s party time, you’re all invited.

Weir shralping volcanos in Carbo Verde. Photo Sven Martin


Who do you think was the most legendary MTB rider in the World ever?

Nicolas Vouilloz without a doubt. He is so amazing. Watching him ride at Cabo Verde was like watching an animation. He is so gifted and a really great person to boot.


The beard... and the bike. Cannondale's new $14,000NZD Carbon Jekyll. Photo Sven Martin

What is it with your facial hair? You trying to make up for a lack of something somewhere else?
The beard is a powerful tool. Scary when you need to be and also easy to talk to when you want it to be. Maybe it’s the hair I lost at 18 or the overwhelming feeling to fill in my face like an etch a sketch. It also is the gift that keeps giving. I just had dinner twice. It’s a great place to store leftovers.

What’s wrong with mountain biking?
Not enough people do it.

What’s right with mountain biking?

The ability to be alone with your thoughts.

Chasing New Zealand WTB distributor Mark Dickson down Christchurch's legendary Anaconda trail. Photo Caleb Smith

Who do you look up to?
My wife, family and my friends. We are just a refection of who surrounds us. I hope I can be everything to them that they are to me…

What are your vices?
Muddy trail rides, fresh tracks, Jeeps, guns and beer. In any order.

OK, a bit of word association-
- Dirt jump: Slap!
- Cross Country: Highposter
- Downhill racing: Faltbill
- All Mountain: Washed-up bike racer

“Mouth open hard efforts change the world one mind at a time…”

Thanks for the opportunity and I hope you guys are all okay after the earthquake. Our thoughts are with you ALL

thanks for taking the time Mark!

  • http://www.santacruzbicycles.com furrknuckle

    one of the true characters, that man. i’ve known him since he was riding (i think, it was so long ago) a khs in the expert class, and yelled out to me in passing: “go for it, man! us fat bald guys gotta stick together.”

    he got skinnier since then, i got fatter. we’re both still bald. gonna miss seeing him on our bikes.

  • LR

    Ummm, Laurence what exactly is going on in that first photo? Are you two checking in the closet for your cowboy hats?

  • CHACHE

    He’s the Fonz, period!