A while back I had a short phone call from Caleb saying "Hey you want to come ride Te Iringa tomorrow? Ross Schnell and Jason from Crank Brothers are out here." "Yeah keen, I'm in, meet you in Taupo at 8," was my reply. The rest of the day I was pumped to be riding Te Iringa the following day but I really had no idea who Ross was. I figured he must have worked with Jason on the Crank Brothers marketing team or something. Ends up I wasn't too far off the mark.As we discussed the day's plans over coffee and chatted about each other's escapades on and off the bikes I was still wondering, who is Ross Schnell? Discussions gave away a few clues, he was an all-mountain rider that was into a bit of everything.
Later in the morning we hit the trail and while riding I did the usual "so where do you ride normally" "where you from?" "how do you like that bike" and then dropped the "so do you do a bit of racing back home?". On one of the many stops during the ride a bit more of Ross was revealed to me, mainly the fact that he was current Singlespeed World Champ, a full blown Trek sponsored rider and Crank Brothers rider and development rider, along with being a full-on SRAM/RockShox pro!
The nail in the coffin was when I asked if Ross had ever competed in the famed Downieville Classic all-mountain race, it seemed like his type of thing after all. "Yeah" he'd ridden it, and won it. I kicked myself, why hadn't I heard of this guy before? Ends up I probably had, but his attitude wasn't one of your classic 'pro guy'. Ross graces many of his sponsors' ads, features in plenty of web-vids and photos in magazines are commonplace. With his down to earth outlook, humble attitude and all round awesomeness he comes across as just a kick ass rider who loves to ride and has as much fun as possible while doing so. It's no wonder they call him Rad Ross....
So without further ado, here's Frankly Thursday with Ross Schnell......
I'm 30 years old.
Hometown is Grand Junction, Colorado. USA
My riding is made possible by Trek, Crank Brothers, Oakley, SRAM, Pearl Izumi.
First bike was a 20” Peugeot wheelie machine!
Best thing about travelling the world? Riding my bike is exploring places I would probably never get to if I had a normal job. It's pretty awesome shredding new trails and meeting tonnes of cool people along the way.
Best spot in the world to ride? Every place is so different that it's hard to choose. I can definitely say that New Zealand is at the top of the list. There are so many different types of terrain and it's nice going out on big rides and not seeing anyone all day.
What can’t I travel without? Earplugs and my Trek Remedy.
What can I not live without? Balance. It's hard to find balance when something becomes your profession. I just do what I’m comfortable with and makes me happy and so far it's working out okay. I’ll never live like a monk and let cycling rule my life like a lot of other riders.
What’s my day job? Riding mountain bikes.
What motivates me each day is knowing that I don’t have to get up and sit behind a desk! I train hard on the bike and look forward to a new adventure every day. I love the lifestyle and freedom of what I’m doing right now and fully appreciate the fact that it won’t last forever...
My plans this summer include lots of travel and going to the big races, that’s what keeps me motivated. I’ve got Downieville in a month, US Nationals, some fun local events, Crankworx (Whistler and Colorado), and of course Singlespeed World Champs for the grand finale.
What’s wrong with mountain biking? Depends on what aspect you’re referring to. If you’re talking about the racing side of things I could go on all day. From a general mountain biking standpoint I can’t find a thing wrong with it! More people need to enjoy what we do.
What’s right with mountain biking? Knowing that it's a growing sport and brings a lot of good things to the world. If everyone rode a bike the world would be a much better place in a lot of respects.
Who do I look up to? My local riding buddies who kick my ass all the time and don’t ride half as much as I do. It's cool seeing people that just love the sport and find as much time as they can for it. I also look up to the guys I race against that are faster than I am with a lot less support, it keeps me on my toes.
What do I like best about living where I do? It's such a unique place. The landscape is like no other place on earth. Red rocks and big mountain riding is where it's at. I enjoy travelling and seeing other spots but it's always nice coming back home for a recharge.
What do I dislike about living here? It gets really hot in the summertime, luckily I’m travelling most of the summer so it works out well.
Favourite piece of bike kit? That’s hard because I absolutely dig all my gear. If I had to choose I’d have to go with my Joplin adjustable height seatpost. I can’t seem to ride without it.
What are my vices? Beer
Any dirt on a pro MTBer? Lots of it, but probably not wise to share on the Internet!
Ross breaks down his ride: