Posted Nov. 22, 2003
Real Men of Action: On the road with Lopes and Peaty

Featuring: motocross, fist fights, car chases and Scotchgard



As fall turned to winter, Brian Lopes and Steve Peat drove to Whistler to set up their new condos -- winter rentals and summer fun, baby! As you might expect, this trip wasn't all business. Here are a few ordinary days from the lives of these extraordinary guys:

Monday - Bubba comes over to play
Just to get things started, James "Bubba" Stewart dropped by Brian's house to ride the back yard track. Within about a minute the Kawasaki 125cc motocross phenom had most of BL's doubles, rhythms and berms wired. The only thing left un-green was a 30-foot transfer into a tight, vertical berm. Bubba was like, "that's pretty big for a 110 ..."

Whatever.

When B.L. pimped the jump on his hardtail mountain bike, it was definitely on -- all the way to flat bottom. "Good thing for the trick suspension," said the host, starting to notice the damage wrought by Bubba's snappy clutch work.

Tuesday - Moto ranch bonanza
BL and Peaty loaded a bunch of Ikea booty into the Sportsmobile Ford 4x4 bad ass van and start motoring north.

But first a stop at Castillo Ranch in CentCal. The empire that built the CTI knee brace also built a 500 acre motocross playground, complete with supercross and outdoor-style tracks, all with full sprinkler systems. Peaty had been laying around for five weeks after a minibike peg took a bite out of his calf muscle, but neither soreness nor atrophy kept him from telling California's golden hills to braaap off.

Wednesday - Hotel room trials
Drive to Kent, Washington. Settle down at a Travelodge. Amble to The Keg restaurant. Discover why they named it after a big barrel of beer. Stumble back.

Time for hotel room trials: Who can hop onto one bed, change direction then hop to the other without cartwheeling onto the carpet or smearing Super Tacky rubber on the wall? Answer: Nobody.

Thursday - Moto love fest
The gang at BBR Motorsports treated the boys to a hero's tour and yes! some test rides down the street at Bob Lanphere's Wide Open Sports Arena. The indoor motocross track wasn't big or super technical, but it was fun, especially on those BBR CRF 150s, which felt just like downhill bikes with engines: enough power to get going, light enough to whip around, and low enough to rail corners. BL liked the ride so much he threw down on a maxed one of his own. Retail price: $12-13K. Pro bro' price: A bit less.

These guys love riding their bikes, but they get super stoked on moto.

I asked Brian,"If you could make a living riding motorcycles, would ..."

"Yes."

   ---

Peaty looked huge on the little bikes, but he was STOKED.


Lopes was killing it, as you'd expect from last year's No. 2 at the Crossover Challenge. He vows to win this year at the San Diego Supercross. In that last shot he's looking back for Peaty, who was overbaking the turns.


Scott Tyler, BBR welding department manager and local MX legend, was ripping the place up. Scott back in '79 on a Maico


Duane Brown, one of the brothers in Brown Brothers Racing, took great care of us. Thanks, Duane!


Trick BBR Honda CRF 150. Sit on Santa's lap and say "braaap!"

Friday - Real men of action
With the town of Whistler dead except for the fresh crop of free range Aussie hens just arrived for the winter season, it was half price Thai food with Richie Schley, then off to a local bar.

A couple bro's and I flirted with some attractive women. I'm happily married, but I find sport in trying to impress chicks under pressure. I told the hotties my buddies and I are all bike racers. We like to use our bodies, that we crave excitement. We're men of action, if you know what I mean. They did know what I mean.

As the ladies climbed into our truck, someone smashed into our tail gate.

The perpetrator peeled away in the rain. Richie and Peaty were all over it. Peaty, with the stitches still in his calf muscle, ran down the truck and dove into the bed. Richie chased like a madman until he flung his keys out of his pocket. Meanwhile, Peaty held himself in the careening truck, yelling for the guy to stop. The truck skidded to a halt. The passenger pulled Peaty out and flung him to the ground. All 6'4" and 200 pounds of Peaty got back up. The passenger threatened him with a 2x4. Peaty punched him in the chest and knocked him down. Peaty flung the driver out of the cab and grabbed the keys. The driver fled. We rolled up with Richie, his keys and the girls, who were quite impressed with the heroics. Men of action, indeed.

We got the hit-and-runner's license plate, returned the keys and everyone lived happily after -- especially our buddies and the two girls.

Sunday - A river runs through the trail
While snow piled on the mountain, rain pounded the valley. Might as well go for a bike ride. The River Runs Through It trail is a municipal bike path, Whistler style: super technical and rooty, with lots of wooden stunts. This trail requires skills and smooth commitment on a dry day; in the slop it was a challenge for even BL and Peaty to keep things going.

When we got back to the paved path, darkness set in and the rain froze into snow. These guys were in a hurry to get back home, and they were motoring -- even though Peaty hasn't ridden a bicycle in a couple months. It just goes to show that top pro downhillers are very strong dudes, even when they're not completely focused on bike training. Or maybe laying around and riding moto is good for bike fitness. Let's hope so.



Monday - A quiet night at home
Peaty cooked up a nice chicken curry, and we watched Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights. "My finger's in your mouth Kitty, but I don't feel your teeth. ..."

Steve Peat doodles while he's on hold.

Tuesday - Booze cruise
We hooked up with Dave Watson and gang at the On Top Bike Shop in North Vancouver. This is definitely free ride central: It seemed like every bike weighed at least 40 pounds and even the little tricycles sported 3.0 Gazzaloddis. The kids in there about lost their minds when BL and Peaty walked in. Before we knew it the place was full of after-work hangers-out. Both stars signed whatever was on hand and prepared themselves mentally for the action to come.

The notion was elegant in its genius: Gather a bunch of crazy bike guys, each with a $10 bike and a $10 suit. Seal everyone up with Scotchgard and let fly. Half the bikes were as untorqued as their riders, but it was all fun as everyone skidded, splashed and laughed from bar to bar.

At dawn the surviving hard cores made it to Dave's rooftop. It was quite a view: five bleary but happy dudes, the sun rising over distant clouds, downtown reflecting in the water and Grouse Mountain gathering snow for the winter. You can see why North Vancouver's become the core for progressive mountain biking: great terrain, a thriving city and cool people.



Brian slept in his car. Poor guy.

A night like that calls for a REAL breakfast.

Next stop: Back to SoCal for B.L., then off to England for Peaty. Just a couple guys doing their thing.

Lee McCormack is a bike freak. Downhill, slalom, jumping, cross country, recumbents, whatever. You can give him the business at lee@leelikesbikes.com.
Driving:










Check out:
www.brianlopes.com

BL's Whistler condo
It's super nice, right next to the slopes and it's decorated with Dr. Seuss artwork.

www.stevepeat.com
Curry chef and downhill madman.

www.bbrmotorsports.com
World class 4-stroke hop-ups.

www.sombrioracing.com
Nice riding gear from Dave Watson, Andrew Shandro and Thomas Vanderham. Check out the shorts with the "Intake Port" front vents. Cool, so to speak.

First snow of the year:








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