Okay so the perk of owningÂ your ownÂ website and cool company like Muddbunnies RidingÂ is that Di and I get to interview some of our favourite people in the bike industry.Â So,Â I have created Founding Sisters of Freeride, a series of articlesÂ interviewing the ladies thatÂ haveÂ changed the industry for the better.Â Â One of theseÂ ladiesÂ is Elladee Brown.
WHO IS ELLADEE?
Shimano AND PRO rep
Past instructor/host West Coast Style
PastÂ DH Racer/ Past Alpine Skier
Kranked, Dirt Divas, Tread, WEST COAST STYLE
20+Â QUESTIONS WITH ELLADEE:
MB: How long have you had a career in this industry?
EB: 22 YearsA
MB: Tell me about your racing career?
EB: Unexpected really. I just rode cuz I loved it then my Mom showed me a newspaper clipping from the Whistler paperÂ about a race coming up; I entered it, came last and never looked back!
MB:Â Career highlights?
EB: 2nd at the World Champs in Downhill, 2x Canadian Nat’l Champ in DH and XC.Â
MB:Â CareerÂ lowlights?
EB: Hideous travel days.
MB: Notible crashes?
EB: Bangs and bruises. Worst one was at X-Games in Colorado, separated my shoulder. I’m lucky I got off easy with not too many injuries.
MB: Where did you grow up?
EB: Nakusp, BC
MB: Memorable experiences on a bike growing up?
EB: Riding with friends and feeling incredible freedom. Plus, my shetland pony, Frostie, kept bucking me off so that solidified my love for bicycles.
MB: Where do you reside now?
MB: What is your riding style now?
EB: Fitness and technical.
MB: How has it changed and why?
EB: I don’t like shuttling or waiting in line for a chairlift. I’d rather ride up and get fit.
MB: What bikes are you riding now?
EB: Marin MT Vision with full XTR â€“ Oh year! 5 inches front and rear.
MB: What do you think of the progession of women in the sport? DH? Slopestyle? XC? 4X?
EB: I think the progression is in the overall participation. The hardcore stuff like DH and slopestyle is seeing more women for sure, but it’s cool to see more women in general whatever the discipline.
MB: What do you think your part has been in helping women progress in the sport?
EB: Showing them the fun and helping with technical skills that enables them to do things they thought were never possible, that is an incredible feeling.
MB: What still needs to be done to makeÂ the progression evenÂ better?
EB: It’s a work in progress. The bike retailers are doing an awesome job with group rides, skill sessions and overall resources that help riders connect with each other.
MB: Favourite female rider?
EB: Tara Llanes 😉
MB: Favourite male rider?
EB: Bruce Spicer. He’s the humblest, most hardcore guy and he just loves to ride his bike; all action, no talk.
MB: Favorite race?
EB: Crested Butte, Co. Fat Tire Bike Fest from years ago, most amazing singletrack ever!
MB: Tell me about your experience in competition? I’ve seen some pretty catty behavior from some racers. Can you comment?
EB: It’s a whole new generatin from when I was racing so I’m not sure what the inside scene is like now. I think you will have “catty” behaviour in any sport., it’s up to you as an athlete wether or not you ant to take it on. Blocking it out with an ipod is helpful, better yet a first place finish!
MB: How does a female racer make cycling her fulltime gig? Is it even possible?
EB: It’s possible but it’s way thougherÂ now than it ever was. I was lucky to have raced in the hay days 🙂 I think you need to bring a lot to the table. You have to win races and you have to prove that as a sponsored rider you can help your company sell more product and be a great ambassador.
MB: What about women getting into the cycling industry as a profession, fo example, repping, working bike shops, etc? What do you recommend? Is this a, Â “who you know” industry?
EB: The industry is begging for more women!! Depending on your skill set there is a ton of opportunity. Every industry is about who you know to a certain degree.
MB: What has your experience as a woman working in the industry? Are you taken seriously? Did you have to work harder than a guy to build rapor and confidence in your customers?
EB: Pretty much all of my advancements in this industry have been helped along by men and because I have been in it since I was 15. Â Many of the companies and teams that I worked with became like family to me, and it just kept building from there.Â I think because of my riding accomplishments people took me seriously. Some may not but oh well, such is life! I think because there’s so many swingin’ dicks in this sport, when a woman comes along everyone is just happy for something different. 🙂
MB: I heard you’re engaged? Wedding date?Â
EB: Iâ€™m now a married woman!! Tara and I got hitched on April 4TH! YAHOO
MB: I’ve never told you this before, (because honestly I feel like a big star-struck bike nerd) but you’ve been a huge inspiration for me personally as someone who fell in love with this industry and wanted to make it a f/t gig. So thank you!Â Do you have anything to say to all of your other fans out there, (and there are many, fyi)?
EB: That’s really sweet of you to say, Ryan, and I’m happy that you would share that with me.Â I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that riding a bike reasonably well has brought to me. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that thisÂ is the life I would have in cycling. I was passionate about it as a 3-year old and that’s never changed! It feels pretty damn good to know that I have inspired people…WOW!
EB: Ha Ha, PETE! I bet he has a story! Not going to elaborate on this one. 😉