Described as a well-rounded rider who specializes in suffering, Mark Weir, 38, has remained a successful and dominant force in downhill and endurance racing throughout his career. In short, the Novato, California native believes in hard work and fair play without compromise—values he will undoubtedly pass along to the newest addition to the Weir household, son, Gustin ‘Gus’ Bradley Weir. In terms of mountain biking, having these values means developing the skills, fitness, and technologies necessary to compete against the world’s best mountain bikers under any condition or circumstance.
Weir’s comprehensive training program is a prime example. It involves a healthy diet of organic foods, refueling and repairing muscles with EAS sports nutrition products, a dose of strong coffee, an occasional frosty beverage or two, along with a brutal riding regimen and what some might consider an abusive amount of core strength training. Weir uses everything from the living room floor to his pump track and slack-line to improve his balance and body control. He also added RC off-road racing as a tool to increase mental focus, picking up new sponsor Traxxas RC Company along the way. He explained that when the body is worked, you can always train the mind. Add a little luck to his amassed skill, and Weir significantly limits his time on the ground and any resulting injuries.
Combining training and riding with friends between races means that most of Weir’s friends also get the benefit of his program. They can often be found assaulting the trails of Marin County, some of which he built into a pump track-style downhill course on a nearby privately owned ranch. With an average lap of 13 minutes, the course combines a 600-foot climb with 50 mile-an-hour descents down cow-laden trails lined with oak trees and hairpin turns along the rockiest, roughest terrain any seasoned mountain biker could hope for. The course also provides Weir with the perfect testing ground for all things WTB, as well as Shimano, Fox, MRP, and now Cannondale.
Weir’s role in WTB’s research and development began years ago with his namesake tire line, the WeirWolf, launched in the 1990s. Nearly a decade later, the tire design and tread pattern was updated and re-launched with the added feature of WTB’s new TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) technology that Weir also worked to advance with product developers. He devoted endless test ride hours specifically to rim/tire bead retention, resulting in a high-performance system with phenomenal flat resistance—something he’s been working towards since he stopped using tubes eight years ago.
In addition to his demanding schedule of product testing, training, and competing locally as well as abroad, Weir actively supports the next generation of mountain bikers, who often find themselves displaced by the lack of multi-use trails on open space land. In years past, the kids made their way to the Weir’s backyard pump track, where Mark gave hands-on instruction and skills training. As a result, Weir found himself in the center of a local community discussion and grassroots campaign to build a privately funded, public pump track where kids can hone their riding skills in a safe and controlled environment. With his support and the support of others, plans for the Stafford Lake Bike Park are moving forward.
If it sounds like Weir’s softening his competitive edge or aggressive behavior, think again. Weir dominated in the 2010 downhill events, taking first place in the Ashland Spring Thaw, Ashland Mountain Challenge (12-Mile Super D), and the Downieville Classic. He also traveled to France to compete in the French Enduro Race Series in Valloire and Vars.
Kicking off 2011, Weir traveled to the Cabo Verde Islands off the coast of Africa to join 13 of the world’s elite mountain bikers in an ultra endurance downhill race that also raises money and awareness for the islands' local charities. The 2011 Urge Cabo Verde event was more than a race to its participants. As Weir puts it, it was a chance “to become a better person and friend to everyone.” Some of the experiences were definitely more pleasing than others. Weir recounted tales of loose volcanic terrain, exhaustingly steep “hike-a-bikes” cresting the volcano, and harrowing, endless, leg-cramping descents. Riders were forced to put their nerves, fitness and skills to the test (not to mention their bikes!) as each day brought new challenges to overcome.
Despite the challenges and suffer fests, Weir continues to be inspired by the people he meets and competes against as well as the amazing places mountain biking takes him.