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The Inside Line

It’s not just about the results. It’s about the experience.

Richie Rude of Yeti-Fox Factory Team, Cody Kelley of Alchemy Factory Racing Team, and Aaron Gwin of YT Mob get that more than most. A few months ago we caught up with them in Aaron Gwin’s backyard around Vail Lake and the Temecula trails in California. Read on to discover more about their personalities, when the cameras aren’t on.

Photos: Ale Di Lullo & Dain Zaffke

We learned a lot about Rude on this photo/video shoot and got to know Aaron Gwin and Cody Kelley better, too. We’ve spent a fair bit of time with the three athletes, but almost exclusively at bike races or in the context of product feedback and design. Mainly, when we were working. So this time around, it was really great to spend some quality, rush-free time, even if only for a couple days.

The trio takes each of their respective careers seriously, but off the race course, they just have a blast slashing turns, sessioning sections of trail, and downing milkshakes.

Richie Rude wanted to hit every jump on the trail, so it’s probably not a surprise that while we were there shooting, the Temecula trails didn’t have any jumps big enough to make him think twice. In fact, Rude not only hit all the gaps down the trail, but he was also persistent about clearing all the gaps going up the trail. Without gravity on his side.
Perhaps the outside world sees Rude as more reserved. In reality, he has a light-hearted spirit and encompasses the enthusiasm of a kid who’s just mastered his new bike. Rude is more comfortable on his than off it. Put simply, he moves through life at lightning speed, whether he’s on his bike or sucking up chocolate milkshakes in split-seconds at In-N-Out.
And Aaron, well, you already know how talented Aaron is on the downhill, but what you might not know is that he’s probably one of the nicest guys in the industry, and we couldn’t have been more appreciative to have him as our host. Not to mention, he’s as much as a savvy storyteller as he is a rider. He took time out of his training to show us around on the local trails in his backyard and share some captivating stories over sushi.

What’s interesting, is unlike some riders, Gwin doesn’t just find enjoyment in downhill -- he encompasses it all and likes to pedal around the local trails, soak up nature, and explore when he’s not training for the next race. There’s a different, zen-like side to him that anyone who’s lucky enough to meet him will immediately notice.
Cody? Cody is always having a ball and just shows up for good times and better rides. He loves to manual his way around. In our eyes, Kelley wins the podium not just for enduro but for the best jokes and Euro Tables, too. He kept our spirits high the whole time and left us with big grins on our faces.

Although we only spent a few days with them, if there’s anything we’ve learned about Cody, Aaron, and Richie, it’s that even though they spend much of their time competing and training, they don’t let anything get in their way of “having fun with the buddies and riding.”