If you ask Pat Smage how to describe himself he’d tell you he’s a MotoTrials rider with a bike addiction. It’s an apt description as the PNW Components Squad member, with 10 MotoTrials National Championships to his name, is an absolute legend in the sport. Lucky for all of us his skills transfer over quite nicely when a motor isn’t involved. With new tools in his quiver from Fatback Bikes and Ghost, Pat is spending his time off the moto making his mark on the MTB industry.
Recently we had the pleasure of spending a few days with Pat out at the infamous Blackrock trail network in Oregon. The surrounding woods are a site to behold, and once you add in the incredible features and ripping trails it’s plain to see that the Blackrock Mountain Bike Association has turned Falls City, Oregon into a must ride destination in the Pacific Northwest. The area’s popularity is expanding thanks to the wellspring of talent coming out of the Bend area and the classic soil of PNW riding.
This popularity presented an interesting hitch in our filming plans. The crew happened to head out to meet Pat and his wife Hanna right on the heels of the new Kirt Voreis edit filmed in the same place. Traversing the same trails as another film crew, especially so soon after a great release, is something videographers usually try to avoid. We often found ourselves circumventing features that Kirt had just filmed on. But this may have turned into a blessing in disguise as Kirt’s video played a part in how creative Pat was with his line choice.
In fact, “creative” doesn’t even begin to describe the lines and jibs that Pat was coming up with. Our crew documenting Pat’s riding had never seen anything quite like it. We were often left scratching our heads, wondering what we had just witnessed.
Working with Pat and his two wheeled magic was a unique experience beyond just watching his interesting line choices. There were numerous times throughout the shoot where the typical roles of photographers and their subject seemed to be reversed; when on location for a shoot you'll likely hear the question, "can you do that again?" regretfully voiced by the photographers a handful of times. However, during this project it was often the other way around and Pat would ask our crew if he could give a feature another go in order to perfect minor details. It was this determination and drive for perfection that shed a light on how he became a 10-time National Champion and acquired his skills for the job.
Apparently there are multiple ways to ride the same jump when you have a background in Mototrials. The two photos above are of the same feature, but show very different outcomes.
Pat was quick to show us that even though a fallen log has not been built into a log ride... it can still be used as a log ride.
We managed to stay dry for day one of shooting, but the weather had different plans for day two. We woke up to an absolute downpour and decided to wait for a clear patch in the radar. By the time we got to the trails, dusty corners were replaced with puddles in straight sections, but the change in weather didn't stop Pat from sending some of the biggest features Blackrock has to offer.
This feature, located near the bottom of Bonzai Downhill 1, was the second thing Pat rode on day two with only a creative jib on a railroad tie to get warmed up on the bike.
Huge thank you to Pat and Hannah Smage for taking a few days out of their road trip to work with us on this project! We greatly appreciate how hard you worked and we can't wait to see what you come up with in the future.