Jay Hoots Interview
Jay Hoots is a freestyle mountain bike rider from Vancouver, British Columbia. From riding in pro competitions to designing his own line of mountain biking gear, Jay Hoots has his hand in just about every part of the high-flying world of extreme mountain biking. He talked to Simon about how to become a pro, how to stay safe on your bike and his nastiest wipeouts.
Simon: How did you get started in freestyle mountain biking?
Jay Hoots: Well, I used to do a lot of snowboarding and had plans to become a pro snowboarder. I started mountain biking as a way to train for snowboarding during the offseason because I thought it would help me keep the mental edge you need to be a good snowboarder.
Simon: How is training for snowboarding and mountain biking the same?
Jay Hoots: The two sports have a lot of simliarities both mentally and physically. In both sports you have to plan out your route. Whether you're going on a rail on a snowboard or over a jump on a mountain bike, you have to see your line and plan where you're going. Physically, the two sports are similar because they require a lot of stamina and good quad strength.
Simon: What's the best thing about being a professional mountain bike rider?
Jay Hoots: I love what I do and I get paid to ride. I love riding, I love teaching people at mountain biking camps, I love making videos, I love designing gear, it's all great.
Simon: I checked out some pics of you riding and it looks like you've ridden some pretty wild stuff. What's the worst injury you've ever had and what's the best way to stay safe on your bike?
Jay Hoots: I've had lots of injuries. My worst was probably when I was riding at a World Cup event and I split open my spleen. I nose cased one of my jumps and basically hit my sternum right into the handle bars. I lost like three liters of blood! Another time I was jumping off a third story roof over a hedging and I busted an ankle. The biggest thing new riders need to understand is that they need to wear gear. If you want to ride for a long time and protect yourself, you need to wear a helmet and pads all the time. You won't be riding for very long if you don't wear the proper gear.
Simon: Is there anything you wish you'd paid more attention to in school that would've helped you in your mountain biking career?
Jay Hoots: Math for sure. I always hated Math when I was in school, it was my worst subject. But now I use it all the time when I'm designing gear, building mountain bike parks or checking out angles for a jump. Most of the things I design use a lot of Pythagorean Theory, which I wish I'd paid attention to a lot more.
Simon: What advice what you give for peeps who wanna become better freestyle mountain bike riders or maybe even turn pro?
Jay Hoots: Just go out and ride as much as you can. If you really want to get good, go to a mountain bike camp or clinic. The level that kids ride at these days is insane and it's very competitive. There's lots of kids who are like 11, who can do no-handed jumps no problem. If you want to turn pro, it's important that you can be creative on your bike and do something that's unique.