Kris Olsen works hard and rides hard. That may sound clichéd when first looking at it but when you consider that he works in the bike industry for KRD Imports LTD based in Christchurch, New Zealand, a country that it seems the entirety of the globe is willing to travel to because the riding is second to none, then it all starts to make some sense.
In a given week, he’ll have driven over 1500 miles visiting shops, finalized trade terms and conditions, coordinated logistics of an incoming shipment, and maybe put the finishing touches on an upcoming event. Or maybe he’ll have done some fine tuning of the ERP system the company runs, or forecasted inventory, or worked on the website... or, or, or... it seems like a guessing game what he’ll have worked on if I’m lucky enough to exchange e-mail pleasantries with him.
Yet Kris also rides, big time. He flew out to California and Downieville’s hodgepodge of fist-sized boulders didn’t faze him. Bootleg Canyon’s searing splinters of rock didn’t seem to hurt his feelings either. A wide, irrefutable smile of delight seems to be Kris’ go to expression when discussing trails. I swear, though I can’t now find proof, that he ended one e-mail correspondence with the phrase, “Take chances,” or maybe it was “Ride hard, take chances” or “Ride a lot, take chances.” This could be another case of the ORs. Regardless of what variation I’m supposedly recalling, it really summed up Kris and his zeal for riding.
Don’t even get me started on parts, the same level of enthusiasm immediately surfaces – makes don’t think about it twice sense that Kris works for a mountain bike parts distributor. So, how can one work hard and ride hard? Simple, love mountain bikes and then find a job that allows you to share that passion with others. Kris has accomplished that and survived some pretty wild trail adventures as you’ll read below.
Name: Kris OlsenHome Shop and City: KRD Imports (NZ Distributor for WTB) Christchurch, NZ
Kris shredding the rad at the Gravity Canterbury Enduro this past February in the greater Christchurch area.
Photo Courtesy of John O'Malley - to see more beautiful, stunning New Zealand photography, check out his website: https://jomphoto.photoshelter.com/ Better yet, buy a photo, they're gorgeous!
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
I honestly couldn’t say when it happened, I’ve been around bikes for as long as I can remember, it’s in my blood... passed on from my Dad.
I had BMX bikes all through my youth until one day he bought home this weird Peugeot bike, under the seat stay U-brakes & 18 gears! I ended up riding that around a lot even though it was several sizes too big for me… This was probably the bike that piqued my interest.
Dad bought me my first MTB sometime in the early 90’s, a KHS… this was pretty much where it all began for me, it was my pride & joy. Forever tinkering, I was always pulling it to bits or thinking about the next “upgrade”... Being that right pain in the ass grommet hanging out in bike shops peering through the glass cabinets & dreaming about what I could put on my bike next...
I rode a little bit of Road & Track through high school, but, at the end of it all, I kept going back to the dirt.
From there, it’s been a constant stream of bikes in all shapes & sizes, downhill bikes, dirt jumpers, singlespeeds, and now a lightweight 650b trail bike.
Tube or Tubeless, why?
Tubes... there’s something quietly satisfying about sitting on the side of the trail in some remote area fixing a flat tyre. Taking time to appreciate your surroundings is an important part of why I ride.
That said, I don’t tend to puncture too often...
Remote and scenic? Yes. Puncture? No. Just the only reprieve from direct sunlight when ascending out of Sierra City to Packer Saddle following Downieville's cross country course. Kris travelled all the way from New Zealand to race the Downieville Classic - can't say Kris doesn't love trails!3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
decent light (see below)
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
It was probably what I thought I was seeing.
It starts off sounding like a bad joke… A Kiwi & a Canuck were out for a MTB ride.
We ended up lost in the forest, miles from home base, well after dark, no lights & a crappy map... in the middle of bear country. This was my first trip to the US & seeing as back home, we don’t have animals that will eat you, I had all sorts of visions...
Anyway, we probably stumbled 10 miles in the dark thinking we were heading in the right direction, when in fact we’d followed an unmarked fork taking us further from home.
Getting towards midnight, had run out of water & food, we started seeing lights in the trees. First thought... Aliens.
We kept going, more lights started appearing, finally came across a camp site in a clearing… Half expecting to be greeted with a shotgun or a scene reminiscent of the movie Deliverance, we approached with caution.
Turned out to be a totally cool hillbilly prospector chick living on her claim… welcomed us in, gave us beer & ended up giving us a lift back to town.
Crazy Barbara, thank you.
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Listen to your parents…. They only want what’s best for you.
Left my wallet in… (fill it in): My other shorts.
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
First up, a shout out to the great brands that we represent in NZ: WTB, Lezyne, The Hive, e*thirteen, X-Fusion, Race Face, Hope Technology, Gravity Dropper, Pro Gold, Sapim & DMR bikes.
Then, Intense Bikes, because my new rig rocks!
Finally, to WTB, for all the hospitality when I’ve been in town… You guys are awesome.