Mark Weir Talks Will vs. Skill, Climbing 1M Feet in a Year, and His Almost Heart Attack [Podcast #211]

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Note: This episodes contains language some listeners may find offensive.

Mark Weir is a legend in the mountain bike world, having won the Downieville Downhill eight times and making his mark at WTB as a demanding product tester over two decades. He even has a mountain bike tire named after him, the WeirWolf.

In this wide-ranging interview, we talk about enduro racing, climbing a million vertical feet in a year, his near heart attack, trail advocacy, and electric bikes. Mark is an entertaining guest who could easily host his own podcast, so you won’t want to miss this one. It’s already one of our favorites!

Here are some of the questions we asked.

  • How is downhill endurance racing different from the more traditional, UCI-style downhill mountain bike racing?
  • How does enduro racing connect with the ethos established in the early days of mountain biking?
  • How and when did riders like yourself bring the French enduro race format to the US? Was there a natural transition from races like the Downieville Classic and super-D events to enduro, or was the change more abrupt?
  • When did you start to see frame geometry and components shift in the enduro direction in the US?
  • Based on your experience over the years, what’s more important in mountain biking: will or skills? Obviously, you need both, but what’s a good percentage split in your opinion?
  • Last year you came dangerously close to suffering what’s known as a widowmaker heart attack. Part of your recovery following surgery has involved riding an e-bike. How has that helped you get back into riding and fitness?
  • One of your many claims to fame is you climbed 1M vertical feet on your bike in a single year. Why did you set this as a goal for yourself? What did it take to make this happen?
  • Mountain biking has taken you all over the world. What are some of the best trails that stand out in your mind?
  • You’ve worked closely with WTB for at least a couple decades now. What are some of the projects you’re most proud to have been a part of? Where do you see opportunities for MTB product improvement in the future?

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