Smiles. I immediately think of smiles when I think of Natie and Jeremy; it's the first thing that comes to mind, I can't actually picture either of them without a huge smile. I was musing over that in the back of my mind, having sent them the questionnaire the week before when pictures started flooding my inbox. No announcement, just peppering my impacted folder at an alarming rate. BAM, there was Natie, mouth open, huge grin, shredding trail. Jeremy atop Mt. Tam, hang loose, wide smile, exactly as I had envisioned it. I broke out in grin, by myself, I couldn't help it, my day was made. Then another shot zinged my mail folder, titled Pregnant Rider. WHAT?!?! Natie, atop Mt. Tam, over 5 months pregnant, of course smiling. I almost lost it.
The first time I met Jeremy I was working at a small lean-to of a bike shop. Forty something bikes had to be wheeled out of their carefully jammed stack up, wheeled out aside the busiest intersection in town where everybody knew exactly what you were doing, then locked up, then it was time to inhabit that shack that housed enough Oxygen for one person, though two occupied it, then it all started over again. I spent a lot of time one knee down, peering at rusted curiosities pretending to know what could have happened decades ago, as buses barreled past my head on the route seemingly inches away. It was keeping it real.
On one such occasion, dangerously close to what all shop employees fear - Burning Man eminent time, I was looking down, pondering, when feet invaded my view, I mean in my rusted musing zone. I looked up. Teeth. Wide smile. Germ Rozen, in the flesh. He had pedaled over Mt. Tam from Bolinas with another dude, things strapped to their bikes, skateboards somehow fashioned.
"Need a tire, thing's done." Efficient, no need for Jeremy to tell me anything else.
"Where you headed?" There really was no need for me to ask that question, he needed a tire.
Wow. Yosemite is like, a long way from where we were. There is no easy way to get there, it's a mess. My try to plan mind has a fit just trying to think about how to think about it.
And that's Germ, ahhhem, Jeremy. They were headed to Yosemite to skate Granite rocks and bowls on their boards. And they did.
I am Jeremy, this is Mt. Tam, way over there is Yosemite. I am going there. Jeremy is also pointing to their house, which looks right up at Mt. Tam, rad.
I've known Natie for forever. Our parents are really good friends. That means she kinda sorta had to be nice to me (read: way too nice to me.) She patiently taught me how to snowboard, kindly attempted to teach me to surf, and rode a bike. A lot. All of the sudden she was arriving at family friend functions by bike. From Santa Cruz. That's like, a long way too, dude. Her orange steel Kona would be propped against the wood fence with some sort of surreal allure. She'd talk of forgotten fire roads, dropping off Mt. Tam to the sea, grown over with green grass, "So you can stack, and it doesn't even hurt." Everything had a magical sound. She talked of rides that went on forever - sun up to sun down, ride as many trails as you can. I had to do that, that was amazing.
You could argue all day about who is more badass and get nowhere and there's no point to it anyway, they're just gnarly, in the most positive connotation that can be attributed to that word. And they're also incredibly positive, there's a light that seems to dance behind their eyes with enthusiasm. The older you get, the less you see that light so when you irrefutably see it, it really means something. Then Natie started just plain owning triathlons (I mean really owning them, shameful stuff for competitors) so Jeremy told me about his own triathlons. He'd skate to surf, surf, then shred his bike. Simple. Then his bike was sidelined in some sort of mechanical annoyance he didn't have patience for. So he ran over Mt. Tam to and from work every day on the Dipsea Trail, a trail where ambulances line up in waiting as people run one way over in a race each year. He does some sort of real man work building things all the way up from nothing, a true carpenter. Then he would run the Dipsea home, crazy.
Believe it or not, Jeremy is wearing a WTB hat atop that mighty barn he built from ground to finish.
Natie and Jeremy are also proof that you can care deeply about riding bikes, also be another trail user type, and happily exist in Marin County, the birthplace of mountain biking that is wrought with user conflict. We need more people like them.
Enjoy Natie and Jeremy's responses, they are so awesome. They are also true WTB, through and through.
Name: Jeremy Rozen + tons of nicknames...
Natie Tillotson "Nurse Natie" :)
Home Shop and City: Tam Bikes, Mill Valley and Gravy Wheels, Novato
They lived in Hawaii, they definitely ran.
Favorite WTB or Freedom product:
Jeremy: I loved and still have 80's vintage Grease Guard Hubs and Roller Cam brakes. Now I love Speed V seats and Moto tires.
Natie: WTB Speed V saddles! Super comfy and durable. Used to have an amazing sparkly WTB saddle - blue - would love WTB to make these again!! *Please consider making sparkly WTB saddles once again!
Jeremy ran too, even over fences like this one in Kona. This one, he titled, "Flipping Out!"
Jeremy: I usually try to mix it up so nothing gets old or boring. Best rides were adventure rides on a long, continuous trail throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains and on the Lost Coast. Also, Moon Point, Oregon. Write in, Natie: Also, any ride w/ Natie, my love :)
Natie: Any ride with my hon, Jer Rozen, and also Santa Cruz - Wilder / upper campus, Pine Mountain, almost anything on Mt. Tam / Headlands...
They had to move back to Marin, they missed it too much. This is in the Marin headlands, after they ran 50 miles and climbed over 11,000 feet. Yes, I am perplexed too - why are they smiling after that? That's just how they are.
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
Jeremy: I was riding BMX bikes on Tam as a grom. Met clunker dudes so rode cruisers and just kept getting more into it. So fun to ride trails and be outside.
Natie: My dad, George, had an old, huge, yellow Diamond Back (rigid everything) and I borrowed it one day... Rest is history! (in high school.) Also, I confiscated his old school helmet and decorated it with puffy paints... He never wanted it back! How could I stop riding once I started??? Didn't have / need a car 'till well after college... Still even hardly drive! :) (Even at 5.5 months prego)
How Natie's triathlon starts.
Tube or Tubeless, why?
Jeremy: Tubeless! No snakebites / pinch flats
Natie: Either - don't care.
How Jeremy's triathlon starts.
3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
Jeremy: Good vibes, water, snacks. Write in, Natie: Natie (most importantly!)
Natie: H20, snacks, good 'tide, great company...
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
Jeremy: Probably a mountain lion in my light jumping higher than my handlebars on a couple feet in front of me while riding trails at night! Huge lion! Scared me!
Natie: Most amazing thing - A mountain lion cruising down Coastal... Pounced on prey as I watched, luckily wasn't me :)
The second part to Jeremy's triathlon.
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Jeremy: Definitely be respectful and polite to hikers - share the trails. Bring good vibes - go fast don't fall down
Natie: Have fun! Be adventurous! Ride, don't drive when possible! Encourage others and be respectful of others and the environment.
Left my wallet in… (fill it in):
Jeremy: My house. Don't need one to ride the trails.
Natie: No need on a ride! Just a few bucks for snacks / lemonade at West Point or the Scoop (Fairfax) if over that way!
The final, concluding portion to Jeremy's triathlon, shredding. This photo's titled, "Favorite Bike." It's seen thousands upon thousands of miles and it's single speed, which means fewer things to break. Notice the Speed V and Weirwolfs, goin' strong
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
Jeremy: WTB inspired me at an early age to ride off the beaten path. Wilderness Trail Bikes literally. I love just riding for the sake of riding and riding adventures to places where I don't know where or how to get there! Just finding your way on unknown trails and dirt roads. Huge shout out to Gravy for all the inspiration and enthusiasm! If you need bomber wheels, look no further! Gravy Wheels!
Natie: Hmmm.... Just like to say that the more of us ride (as much as possible) the better (for us, the environment, other people/creatures, everyone's attitude, etc.)! Let's keep encouraging the youngsters / all ages to get on their bikes, rather than driving everywhere! As Jer mentioned, Gravy (Gravy Wheels) is incredible... mechanic, wheel builder (master,) trail builder, etc.
Also happy so many more girls and women are out riding now... Back in the Santa Cruz days, I was one of only a few women into Naked Full Moon Rides, etc :)