Mark Matthews is practicing social distancing in his own way: by taking to the woods to create his latest masterpiece. While we're used to seeing his trails as a completed project in videos like Rainy Daze and Hometown, this time we get a front row seat to all of the decisions and hard work that go into the design process. Follow along with the building in Mark's new video series, Isolation, and check back in a few days for new episodes.
Isolation with Mark Matthews - Episode 1
All this downtime at home is giving me a bit of extra time for starting some new build projects. I'm starting this new series to track what I'm up to during isolation. Without being able to push riding and ride with groups of friends, it's time to build some sick new stuff!
Mark kicks off episode 2 with a ride on a dual slalom-esque course aboard his Marin Mount Vision. With the location of the first jump finalized it's time to move a ton of dirt and work on the landing.
There's nothing like some laps at the local dirt jumps to start the day and get the blood flowing. After a quick ride on his trail bike, Mark fills us in on the direction of his new jump line. Will he pick option A or B?
Episode 4 is all about trail building and wrestling gnarled stumps out of the ground. The deeper Mark digs, the better the dirt gets and the more promising the future of the trails becomes.
Click the image below to watch Mark ride one of his immaculate jump lines in Rainy Daze.
New bike day! Mark's new Marin Hawk Hill gets its final touches at Dodge City Cycles in Cumberland, BC and it's ready to hit the trails once the rain clears. In the dirt moving department, Mark packs in the first lip and digs a rough run out so he can get to testing the new line.
The new line is progressing incredibly quickly and Mark spends the first half of the video testing out its first feature, then heads over to Cumberland to ride some of his favorite trails: Cupcake, Baker's Dozen, and Knuckers.
In episode 7 of Isolation, Mark troubleshoots some technical difficulties with his jump line and then does some spring cleaning and riding on an established trail that runs parallel to his new jump line.
Mark finishes the second jump and landing and gets them prepped for testing, then heads out for the first lap of the season on a secret trail that was previously buried in snow. This trail was also filmed in our video with Mark, Rainy Daze.
With jump #2 complete, it's time for some test rides. Mark called his friend, and local photographer, Brett Kroeker to join him for safety purposes while testing the jump and then hit the local trails to wrap up the episode.
Mark dons quite possibly one of the coolest shark shirts in existence to build the third feature in his new jump line: a fast and low shark fin. After throwing dirt and keying us in on the future of the trail, Mark heads out to ride some huge jumps that have incredible views of the bay.
Before another storm blows in, Mark heads to the local sand pit to practice his 360 drops, tests out a new oval chain ring on Bear Buns and Broadway in Cumberland, and then finishes the landing for the shark fin.
We're gonna need a bigger boat because the shark fin is alive! With the first ride of the shark fin complete, Mark pushes onward with building and immediately runs into a huge, boulder-sized dilemma.
The soil gets a bit more rocky as the build continues. After stacking dirt for the next shark fin, Mark challenges a buddy to a head to head "dual slalom" style race and makes a new amphibian friend on his local trails.
Ok, we love every episode of this series, but episode 14 definitely takes the cake so far. From build-lapses to drone shots, dog shirts to the sickest dirt jumps, and maybe even the possibility of a cursed trailhead, this video has it all.
Third time's a charm for Mark and he's finally able to show us a top to bottom run of Cupcake, pairing it with DCDH to form an incredibly rowdy lap. Let's not forget the digging: Mark cuts in a huge landing for the second shark fin and is almost ready to test it out.
Ok, we're starting to get an adrenalin rush just from watching Mark ride his line. The new shark fin is absolutely insane and the jump line isn't even finished yet. We can't wait to see what Mark comes up with next, and it sounds like he has some pretty big plans.
Class is in session folks. Episode 17 kicks off with a lesson on building and designing wooden ramps before diving back into the woods for a bit of digging. Classic PNW weather gets the best of the dig crew and Mark takes us for a lap down Numbskulls in Cumberland, BC.
This episode is a swan song of sorts, but for a different reason than you would initially expect. No, the Isolation series is not ending (thank goodness) and it seems like there will be plenty more episodes in the future, but another era is coming to a close: Mark says good bye to his Marin Mount Vision, soon to be replaced by an Alpine Trail 8.
The title of this episode is "Rainiest June Ever?!" and we would have to agree. It's been absolutely dumping in the PNW, but Mark isn't letting that slow down his building. After introducing a new app partnership and riding Bucket of Blood and Slick Rock, Mark clears the area for the stump gap landing and shows us just how big that jump will be.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong while trail building. The dirt can become too rocky, problem solving can get in the way of creativity, and you can get stung by wasps... Somehow all three of those examples happen to Mark in episode 20...
After a rough go in episode 20 the future of the stump gap was not looking bright, but after hundreds of requests in the comment section to keep the stump gap dream alive its plans have been resurrected and revamped! Mark makes progress on building the gap after a quick lap down Chunderbox in Cumberland, BC.
Mark puts the trail building progress on pause for an episode as he heads back to his old trail for some filming with Scott Bell Visuals. Things get a bit rowdy as Mark and Scott test out a new cable cam set up to film some monstrous jumps.
After taking a week off from digging, Mark heads back to his trail and makes a ton of progress on the mega stump gap. With dirt on the lip, Mark is able to do his first speed checks and plan the location for the stump gap's landing.
"Comes to a bike park, decides to hike...I don't know what I'm doing" - Mark Matthews. That might be the quote of the year 🤣 Mark's journey in episode 25 gets a little rowdy in the rain as he rides the Mount Washington Bike Park on his shorter travel Marin Hawk Hill.
The title of this episode says it all: after enlisting some help from his friends, the stump gap is almost complete! All that's left is to move some dirt onto the landing and shape the lip. We're keeping our fingers crossed that we see Mark riding it soon.
It's finally done. The beautiful monstrosity that is the stump gap is complete and it's been so cool to watch it progress from the initial planning stages to it's current state.
The episode we've all been waiting for is finally here. Mark rides the stump gap and it's as epic as we've all hoped it would be.
After riding high in episode 28, things come crashing down to Earth a bit as Mark sustains what he would describe as a minor set back. Join us in sending healing vibes Mark's way as he aims to recover from a broken clavicle in a matter of weeks.
Mark is on the sidelines until his collar bone heals, which means no new riding footage for a little bit. But the awesome thing is that Mark is taking the down time to teach us more about how he pursues his dreams on and off the bike. In this episode, Mark dives into how he sets up his GoPro Max and GoPro Hero 7 Black to get the best POV footage possible.
Mark knows how y'all like time lapses, so this episode is one giant time lapse. With a few more weeks before he's able to get on the bike, Mark is using the time to get creative from behind the keyboard.
This episode may not have any new riding as Mark is still sidelined with a collar bone injury, but it's one of our favorite episodes yet. Mark takes us to his home town of North Saanich, B.C. to show us where his career in mountain biking was kickstarted by his first major video, Sweat Equity.
Mark is back in the woods after taking time away from the shovel to allow his collar bone to heal. As the dirt is too dry to reshape the lip of the stump gap, Mark pushes onwards and begins to tackle one of the flatter sections of his jump line by clearing the way for a new feature.
After riding Nanaimo's pump track, Mark heads to Hornby Island to ride with his step daughter Zoë. At just 8 years old and with only 2 weeks of riding experience, she's already crushing the trails with confidence.
Holidays and birthdays are great, but there's nothing quite like "new bike day." Check out Mark's new Marin Alpine Trail and then enjoy some build lapses as the trail progresses beyond the stump gap.
The rain is back in the Pacific Northwest and the dirt is drinking it up, but not quite fast enough for Mark to avoid puddles that resemble small ponds. After hosing down the bike, Mark heads back to Sharknado for some digging.
Physical therapy can be painful. Physical therapy that incorporates trail building tools looks somewhat entertaining. Take a look behind the curtain at how Mark has been strengthening his shoulder so he can ride at 100% again.
Three months have passed, but Mark is finally able to ride Sharknado again. Follow along with Mark as he puts his new 29 inch wheels and the latest jump on the trail to the test.
40 episodes? That's quite the milestone. Take a trip back to Sharknado as Mark and Scott Bell shoot photos of the stump gap for Halloween.
With the Shimano Blueprint project on hold until the snow melts in the spring, Mark is back digging on Sharknado for the foreseeable future. In this episode we learn how Mark films his "buildlapses" and take a trip down memory lain to a 2018 trip to Iceland.
Now in a flat spot of the forest, Mark is searching for ways to maintain speed until Sharknado reaches another descent. After cutting in the start of speed oriented features, Mark hops on two wheels for a lap down Cupcake.
The Isolation Series is ramping up and Mark is putting out episodes at record pace. Bookmark this page (subscribing to Mark on YouTube is the better way to go) so you don't miss an episode.
This may not be an official episode of the Isolation series, but it's a great tool for prospective builders that are looking for a bit of help in the corner design department. In less than 15 minutes, Mark teaches us all about how to build berms and how corners help generate speed and create trail flow.
Mark is back to testing new features and shows that trail building isn't always sunshine and rainbows.
Sharknado is almost finished and Mark is looking to you for help in deciding how the trail ends. Leave your ideas in the video's comment section to help him.
"The run out is, I would say... acceptable. It's a little sketchy. Test day will definitely get loose." That may be the best quote of the series.
Happy New Year! Mark closed out the year by riding some fresh cut trails and shaping what may be the last feature on Sharknado.
Episode 48 sees Mark put the near finishing touches on Sharknado. With the trail 99% complete, Mark teases the creation of something new that will push the limits of his riding and we couldn't be more excited to watch it come to fruition.
As the final feature on Sharknado settles after a heavy rain, Mark dusts off his Marin Alcatraz and tests out his new air bag before heading out for some trail riding.
Episode 50, what a milestone! The trail is complete, with the exception of a few corrections here and there, but the heavy rains haven't helped to pack in the landing on the final step down, making the last jump on the line impossible to ride.
It's done! After bulking up the final landing, Mark has completed Sharknado. It's only a matter of time before we see top-to-bottom POV footage akin to Mark's winning video in the GoPro Best Line Contest.
That's a wrap folks. Sharknado is done. It's been 10 long months, but Mark is finally able to ride his trail from start to finish. We can't wait to see what he gets up to next.
The Grand Finale - Sort Of
Sharknado is complete and deserving of one last episode in Mark's Isolation series. Join Mark as he recounts his inspiration for the trail and gives us a top to bottom breakdown of what it took to complete this build.
While Sharknado may be completed, Mark's Isolation series is not. Click here for the second part of Isolation and follow along as Mark resumes building on his previous jump trail, Moon Boot. Be sure to subscribe to Mark on YouTube, follow him on Instagram and like his Facebook page to stay updated on his latest endeavors.