When Summer turns to Fall in the Pacific Northwest it can be both beautiful and disastrous. The unstable weather can make for incredible filming conditions, bringing out the best colors of the surrounding plants, firming up dirt that was previously ground to dust, and filling the air with a thick layer of fog creating the dreary mood that the PNW is known for. But it also means the days are shorter and film projects can come undone by a rain cloud that’s just a bit too heavy. On a mission to document Mark Matthew’s new trail, a hybrid of his own creation and an old single track line, we knew we’d be up against Mother Nature’s own plans for the weekend.
Trail building is an art form, and it’s one that Mark continually strives to perfect. While most of us sit inside hiding from the rain, obsessively refreshing our weather apps to find the optimum time for a ride, Mark is putting shovel to dirt, creating trails that some of us can only imagine. His countless hours of solitude have paid off, culminating in a jump line from our wildest dreams. Cedar bridges and the red dirt of Vancouver Island pair perfectly with the surrounding forest and bright green carpets of moss, but their real beauty isn’t expressed until someone as stylish as Mark puts rubber to dirt and rides the trail to its full potential.
Mark Matthews is a wonderful blend of artist and mountain biker, fusing the two outlets of creative expression to push himself, and the entire sport forward. Without visionaries like Mark our industry would be stagnant, dragging its feet along the same awkward, mud riddled trails of the late 90’s, and for that we say, “Thank you.”
Title photo by Joe Leahy
Mark Matthews: A man on a mission.
Mark's ride of choice: the Marin Mount Vision complete with a matching PNW cockpit.
The fog seemed to be teasing us on our first day of shooting, blowing in and out of the background, making it seem as if we were working on different days every 10 minutes.
The start of Mark's personal jump line will keep away even some of the most seasoned riders. Tight corners, rhythm doubles down a narrow corridor, and a massive step down all need to be hit perfectly in order to maintain enough speed to clear the step up.
Speaking of the step up.. It's impressively big. With a cedar bridge leading into the take off, riding it in the rain made it even more risky.
Just your casual, everyday, mid trail suicide no hander...
That dirt though... It's drool inducing. This lip was nearly reclaimed by the forest and was covered with moss until Mark revamped it for filming.