We sat down with Brian Mazanti, Niner’s International Sales Manager for Asia and Latin America to find out a little bit about his love for bikes, his worst ride ever and also to see if we could glean any wisdom from him.
Niner: What’s your first memory of riding a bike?
Brian: I was really young. My folks took my training wheels off and pushed me along the sidewalk. There was grass on both sides – something soft to land in. I remember tumbling into the grass over and over again.
Niner: What was your first mtn. bike and where was your first ride on it? Do you still have it?
Brian: A GT iDrive XCR 3000. I had a paper route in middle school and saved up $700 and bought a used one off of ebay. My friends and I were into the New World Disorder films and would sneak onto construction sites, make off with pallets and other materials and head to the woods and make jumps, bridges, etc. At the time I thought I was pretty cool. I bought a 50 mm Azonic stem and put that on the bike. We’d go downhilling and have a great time. My first ride on it was outside of Seattle, WA, at a place I think that was called the Fjords. It was behind a business park. Our parents would drop us off and we’d just go ride. We were unprepared. I don’t even think we took water. We rode in our street clothes and when you crashed, you’d land in ferns and the trails were soft and loamy. It was pretty magical.
Niner: What’s the one place you’ve ridden that you would go back to right now?
Brian: I don’t want to be cliché and say Whistler… I’d probably say Crested Butte, Coloraodo. It’s probably my favorite place to ride especially in the fall.
Niner: What’s the worst ride you’ve ever had?
Brian: Oh, this was probably around 2005. I was living in Boulder and was working at Performance Bike at the time. Long rides were something I had just started getting into. Just heading out and going for 3 hours or longer. I was up around Sugar Loaf Mountain and saw this moto trail. I headed down it assuming it would take me out to Four Mile Road and I’d be able to get home from there. The trail was rocky and loose and went down a long way. Then, it turned into a dead end. And did I mention it went down a long way? It wasn’t the kind of trail you could ride back up. A thunderstorm rolled in about the same time. I was in shorts and a short sleeve shirt and it got nasty real fast. The only choice I had was to hike back up the way I came. It was muddy and wet and nasty. It was the first time I actually thought I might have to spend the night in the woods. It seemed like forever before I got to the top.
Somehow I managed to get on Boulder Canyon Road and headed back down the canyon – fast. Which added to my misery because now, I was not only wet and muddy but I was going fast. I had no gloves, I was soaked from head to toe and freezing. Performance was actually closer than my house so I stopped there. When I walked in, my coworkers looked at me and asked, “What happened to you?” I was covered in mud. I don’t think I said anything. I just grabbed some wool socks and a jacket and threw those on and sat down on a bench, ,shivering until I warmed up.
Niner: What is it about the bike that has grabbed your attention and held onto it?
Brian: Probably a mix of things. I love to be able to go far and do it under my own power. I love the adrenaline and the adventure. I also love the design aesthetic. I can look at bikes for hours on end and admire the intricacies of a perfect weld or a carefully sculpted top tube. You can’t forget the social aspect of the bike either. Sharing experiences, laughing and having a good time. There’s just so many great things about bikes.
Niner: What movie or novel (or cartoon) character do you most identify with?
Brian: Can I get back to you on that?
Niner: What’s one rule you try to live by?
Brian: Especially since my daughter was born, I try to slow each day down. I try not to wish things away. Things change so fast and if you aren’t paying attention, you miss them.
Niner: What would you do if you didn’t work for Niner and funds were not an issue?
Brian: I would probably hitch up the trailer and travel the country with my family. We would see all the states, visit national parks and hike and bike a lot. There’d be no TV and limited cell phone coverage.
Niner: In the cycling world, who would you like to meet and go for a ride with? What would you ask that person?
Brian: I would love to meet and ride with Tom Ritchey. I’d talk to him about his early days with klunkers and the early days of the sport. And I’d also talk to him about Project Rwanda as well as discuss what drives him and keeps him motivated.
Niner: What piece of bike gear can you not live without?
Brian: Comfortable shoes. I have weird feet and up until recently haven’t found a pair that don’t have me thinking about my feet by the end of the ride. I recently went to flat pedals and picked up a pair of 5.10s. I can finally say I found the right combination. I don’t think about my feet like I used to.
Niner: If you had to choose between bowling, mini-golf or disc golf, which would it be and why?
Brian: Disc golf. It’s outside. There are some pretty cool courses in the mountains.
Niner: If you could improve one skill on the mountain bike, what would it be?
Brian: I’ve been working on wheelies and manuals, but I’d really like to learn how to jump better and be able to whip and scrub better. It’s just so much cooler than just going over a jump straight and it looks so much more fun.