Darren Berrecloth

Freeride Mountain Biker

Darren Berrecloth     Photo: John Gibson

Darren Berrecloth, 23, remembers the exact moment he decided to dedicate his life to mountain biking. It was the summer of 2002, he'd taken the day off from his job at a Vancouver, B.C., machine shop to compete in a dirt-jump contest in Whistler, and his boss was pissed. "This skinny, nerdy guy was yelling at me that I needed to snap out of this biking thing," he remembers, "to wake up and smell the coffee." Berrecloth was fired on the spot. That fall, he showed up in Virgin, Utah, for the Red Bull Rampage—freeriding's premier huckfest—unregistered, unsponsored, and virtually unknown. He took third. Since then, "Bear Claw" has almost single-handedly radicalized freeride mountain biking by bringing BMX stunts like spins, hand grabs, and no-hands seat grabs to an already extreme sport. With signature moves like the Superman Seat Grab Indian Air (translation: flying through the air, feet off the pedals, bike out in front, one hand on the bars), he won both the 2003 Joyride Slopestyle Expression Session, in Whistler, and the 2004 Monster Park Slopestyle Invitational, in Marquette, Michigan. While Berrecloth's outta-nowhere podium finishes have raised eyebrows, his film segments have redefined what's possible with two knobby tires and eight inches of travel. In the 2003 video New World Disorder IV: Ride the Lightning, he pulled a 360 off a 25-foot cliff in Kamloops, B.C. "People were blown away," says filmmaker Derek Westerlund. "It was a big jump for most riders to even go off, and Darren rode up and did a 360 off it." In Westerlund's latest film, Disorderly Conduct, Berrecloth clears a 50-foot jump over a canyon in France. One man's lunacy is just the logical next step for Berrecloth: "I'm always pushing myself to learn new things," he says. "That's what makes me tick."

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