Whether it be whipping it out on A Line, flying through the terrain of the Enduro World Series or making a run for it as King of #manualmonday, it's hard to argue with the fact that Cody Kelley has iconic style on a mountain bike. When we first met Cody he couldn't legally drink a beer, and he was busy dominating the North American Enduro Tour with Kyle Warner. Since then he's travelled the world competing in the EWS and we've had our heads down building PNW. It's always fun to work with familiar faces, and we couldn't be more happy to announce Cody will be rocking our PNW product this year. We caught up with him for a good ol' fashioned Q and A, to see how the man behind the Paul Mitchell locks is fairing these days.
Photo by Avery Stumm
Alright lets go for the basics, when did you start mountain biking? Do you remember your first ride?
Well I actually grew up racing BMX and at the same point in time my old man was always riding mountain bikes when we weren't at the BMX Track. That eventually translated to me riding MTB a few times a year when I was around 10/11, but I honestly wasn't a fan of mountain bikes. I think that was mostly because at the time there wasn't such a thing as a kids mtn bike. The love for mountain bikes didn't happen for me until I was around 16 and it's been nothing but rad times since!
Right now you’re riding for Alchemy Bicycles, for people that might not know of this boutique brand, what do you love about this company and the bikes they make?
Well firstly it's rad to ride for Small American Brands in general because of how personable things can be. Alchemy has less then 15 employees so being able to know everyone on a first name basis is pretty rad! Also opens doors to be a bigger part of bike development and such... Plus the bike rides so good! Climbs great and descends awesome, can't really ask for more really!
What’s your favorite thing to do on your bike? Is there anything you’re working on right now?
Favorite thing to do.... I guess I'm torn between cornering and throwing whips. It's hard to beat the feeling of blasting out of a corner, at the same time it's hard to beat hitting big jumps and getting sideways.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not on your bike?
It's always good to spend time with family and friends. I've also been getting into Bouldering in the gym quite a bit lately.
We met you when you were 19/20… what has changed since you’ve passed around the sun a few times?
Ahhhh man haha those were good times! Not a ton has changed in some ways it seems... Still passionate about riding and racing bikes. I've seen a lot more of the world since then which I think can change anyone in a positive direction if they embrace the different cultures out there and try to grow from the experiences that come with the different perspectives. But at the end of the day I still think I'm just a kid that loves to ride his bike and have a few laughs.
What’s your absolute favorite thing about biking?
Absolute favorite thing would have to be the adventures bikes have brought into my life and the people I've met along the way. The biking community as a whole is so rad and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.
And what’s your least favorite thing about it?
Is there a negative thing?? Haha, nah I would have to say the injuries are one of the worst things that come with the territory of action sports, but most people come back swinging from injuries in our sport so that's always good to see.
You mentioned that connections and friendships in the bike world are one of the best things about this industry, we couldn't agree more. We know you’re close with our other PNW rider Kyle Warner, so we have to ask, what’s the craziest thing you two have got up to?
Ahhhh Kyle and I had some good times! 2015 was honestly one of the best years of my career. I could go on all day about the shenanigans we got up to that year, but long story short we basically did 30,000 miles in a car together that year racing as teammates. At one point in the season we did 11 or 12 weekends of racing in a row. It was basically race our butt's off on the weekend followed up by hitting the after party and then hitting the road to do it again at the next race. So many laughs and good times were had!
Ok let’s get to some questions about EWS racing… we’re curious what you do to stay calm and focused on race day?
For myself staying calm is just about trying to stick to my routine and knowing that the curve balls will come (Flat tires, broken chains, crashing, etc..) and I've just got to take them with like a grain of salt and keep my eyes on the prize.
How does the level of competition between national races vary vs. the EWS?
The competition level is so much higher on both the national and EWS level nowadays then it was 3-4 years ago it's crazy... I think the difference between the two though is the depth of the field at an EWS. There is 60-70+ guys that know how to properly ride bikes, where at a National the entire field isn't even that big let a lone that stacked.
If you had to put percentages towards what part of racing is mental and what part is training how would you split the two up?
I would say it's pretty much 50/50, but they kind of go hand in hand. Like if you train your ass off I think it builds your mental strength and that's half the game so they can build off one another as well.
Ok quick fire round:
If you had to pick one, Tech or Flow? Flow
Favorite Trail to Ride? A-Line
Clips or Flats? Clips
Coffee or Water? Coffee
Burritos or Burgers? Burrito
If you were on a deserted island what three things would you bring? A bike some coffee and a buddy to shred with.