Parksville pro mountain biker gives tours

Ballenas Secondary grad Darren Berrecloth was back on home trails over weekend

‘The Claw’ grabs some big air back in 2005 at the Top Bridge Mountain Bike Park he helped work on.

‘The Claw’ grabs some big air back in 2005 at the Top Bridge Mountain Bike Park he helped work on.

It was back to his roots, literally, for local pro mountain biker Darren Berrecloth last Saturday, as he took to the meandering and well-maintained wooded trails in deep Errington, playing tour guide for riders from out of town as part of the inaugural Island Bike event.

It’s been a while since The NEWS caught up with the BSS grad that turned his love of bikes into a rewarding career, making a name for himself not only on the competitive freeride mountain biking circuit, but in documentaries and film as well.

“I’ve been back (on the Island) about a month and a half now and love’n it,” Berrecloth said easily at Tranquility Woods after he finished his two hour guided tour with a group of kids from Sooke.

Berrecloth it turns out has been busy the last couple years traveling around the world filming for the movie Where The Trail Ends.

Produced by Red Bull Media House and Freeride Entertainment, Where The Trail Ends came out last fall which is available at  www.wherethetrailends.com.

The film was shot on location in Nepal, Argentina, China’s Gobi Desert, Utah, Fraser River …”each trip was like a month long, tons of work on the front end and the back end and of course all the riding that goes into it,” he said.

No small budget flick by any stretch, the film crew he said numbered anywhere from 15-20 strong “and we had a big budget. It was awesome.”

He was the main character in the film which actually tells a story that he narrates.

The movie made its debut at venues around the world just before Christmas from Munich to Montreal.

Berrrecloth, or ‘the Claw’ as he’s known in riding circles, is the featured rider in the movie, which features frame after frame of  jaw dropping stunts and scenery.

Berrecloth, one of the top-ranked freeride mountain bikers on the planet, didn’t compete last year as he was “dealing with multiple injuries at the same time as we were filming the movie, which is pretty standard fare for my job.”

Berrecloth ‘tweaked some bones’ in his back at last year’s big annual Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival in Whistler when he went ass over teakettle after attempting to stick a landing on some dirt that hadn’t been packed properly.

“It sucked but it was just one of those things,” he shrugged, then made the point he’s healed and ready to roll. The Claw and his counterparts kick off the competitive season May long weekend in Germany at the Red Bull Bergline (billed as the biggest free ride mountain bike festival in Europe), and he says he’ll compete in seven or eight events all over the world which will take him through to October.

After that he says the plan is to jump right back into the filming of Where the Trail Ends II.

 

“For me, it’s definitely back to where it all started,” the Claw, now 31, smiled when we shifted our attention back to the Island Bike event. “This is my hometown, this is where I live. The mountain biking community in this area is huge,” he said. “You tally up the number of people that ride bikes around here …it’s insane, and every community is exactly the same, and to be able to spread the knowledge of how to build trails, keep trails, maintain trails; grow the trail network, and grow the mountain biking scene — that’s what this is for. Get everyone together, and all it takes is a couple high fives, go for a ride, have a little chit chat and man, that mountain bike club just learned something. That’s how you spread knowledge — just getting people together.

“Everyone here today loves to ride bikes, we all do it for the same reason, so it’s good.”

Pressed for an example of some of the things they talked about as they wound their way through the woods, Berrecloth said. “We talk about how to maintain a trail properly. How to make a trail so it doesn’t erode; there’s certain ways you can build a trail that doesn’t hurt the environment …”

“Lots of rock-work for example so you’re not always riding in mud. It takes a little bit of time but at the end of the day you have a trail that lasts forever and it’s not hurting the environment one bit whatsoever.”

Saturday’s Island Bike he pointed out is just one piece of a much bigger plan.

“As the world progresses in its eco-saving campaigns and everyone gets more knowledgeable about the environment and about taking care of their bodies, everyone’s going to want to be healthier, and a great way to do that is to get out on a bike ride, but at the same time you need places to do that, so you need to have sustainable trails, and we have to work together to do that.”

And while the baby boomers are proving to be big fans of biking, how do they keep it moving forward with the next generation, we asked?

“It’s tough,” he said. “There are so many other things (distracting them) but at the end of the day we have to take our kids out and show them. You can’t just let them find out things on their own because they’re not going to. They’re going to sit in front of their TV and they’re going to play their video games and eat their crappy food …we need to be proactive. Take them by that hand and show them …that’s how it started with me.”

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