We here at Trail Fund NZ are big fans of the always entertaining and very talented Mr Claudio Calouri. Many of us “know” Claudio as the daring trail pre-view guy from World Cup DH events but Claudio is a man of many talents including being the owner of trail design and build specialists Velosolutions. He’s also now the star of the new Red Bull video game “Bike Unchained” and as many of us watched in horror, able to get down the hill at the Red Bull Rampage unscathed. Claudio is pretty handy on a pair of ice skates too.
We are very grateful that we managed to get a few minutes out of his very busy schedule to answer what are mostly inane questions.
(1) Those of us who follow the DH WC circuit know you best for your always entertaining course previews. In fact it’s fair to say you’re probably even a bigger deal in NZ than Eddie Masters and his jandals. But tell us a little about what you do when you are not on the road managing the Gstaad Scott WC team?
Bigger deal than Eddie Masters? I highly doubt it, but I’ll tell that to the ladies at the next party and see if it works. When not on the road with Gstaad-Scott, I’m building pump tracks with Velosolutions all over the world, try to ride my bike (5 minutes before it gets dark) or try to learn to play the guitar (from 1-2 in the morning). The guitar thing could be a lot more efficient with the ladies than telling them I’m a bigger deal than Eddie Masters.
(2) If you could live anywhere in the world whereabouts would that be.
Of course New Zealand would be an appropriate answer. Well, without even cheating, New Zealand would really be my answer. The landscape is just as cool as Switzerland, but it’s not as crowded as Switzerland, which makes it a lot cooler actually.
(3) If you were going out riding for a day what food would you take with you?
Swiss chocolate, dooh.
(4) The post dig / ride beer is pretty much a legal requirement down this way, what’s your preferred beer for the post-match function?
I’d rather go for straight vodka.
(5) Your business Velosolutions is creating some amazing pump tracks around Europe and they tend to be to a standard that is a lot higher than we are used to here in NZ. Can you tell us a little more about how you approach it, a little about your philosophy and design approach?
Well, I’d say I should just come to NZ and build one there! That might actually happen soon, hopefully. The approach: everybody has fun on it and every town needs it. Beginners, pros, kids, adults, mountain bikes, skates, skate boards and more!
(6) Do you have one project that you are most proud of?
(7) You didn’t just start building these iconic trails and pump tracks. What got you into trail building in the first place?
I had the chance to help with some race tracks when I was still racing. My friend Sean Heimdal (who became Sam Hills team manager later on at Iron Horse and Specialized) built a training track in San Diego. But even before that, I was always into digging jumps and tracks. Back when I was racing, there were no dirt jumps in Switzerland, so, if we wanted to jump, we had to build them on our own.
(8) Eleanor Roosevelt said “do one thing every day that scares you” and you seem like someone who follows that mantra. So what have you done today that scares you?
Well, I think I have done enough scaring myself for a while with my run at Rampage last week. I was actually thinking of that mantra all the time when I was there. Funny that I read it now in your interview, hahaha!
(9) New Zealand is part of Australia – True or False.
False! Australia is part of New Zealand, doooh!
(10) Most under rated place to ride in the world?
Not NZ, because we all know it’s great!
(11) There’s been a lot of controversy about wheel size recently, where are you on the 20 vs. 24 inch debate?
I’d have to ask my son. I don’t ride kids bikes anymore.
(12) Finally, if there is one thing you could say to a trail builder that you’ve learned over the years as both a rider and a builder what would it be?
Let me do it! hahahaha, wow, what a cocky answer that would be. but anyways, let me do it.
Thanks for your time Claudio!
Thank you. And be aware, all my answers are 100% serious.