A month after winning Dual Speed & Style at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes in France, Martin Söderström went into the event at Crankworx Whistler as a favorite. He did not disappoint, besting Cam Zink to take his second win in two months.
A rider known for fluidity, we sat down with Martin and quizzed him on his interest in the unique event format, and how he sees it growing in the sport of Mountain Biking.
You're really fast out there on the course, do you have any background in racing?
I've always loved racing, I'm a competitive guy and I kind of miss that because in Slopestyle there isn't that head-to-head racing format. I don't have that much background in it though apart from some 4X World Cups, it's more just from racing my friends at the BMX track.
Would you compete in racing more seriously?
Maybe! I really feel this enduro scene is pretty awesome so we'll see. It's always a good ground to stand on starting from Slopestyle.
How do you adapt to each competitor, for example knowing when to pull out bigger tricks or to go for speed.
It's basically who you're up against. If you're up against someone that's going to throw bigger tricks than you, then it makes sense to go fast and try and win on speed. If you know you can out-trick them, then you can go as big as you can while going as fast as possible. I guess Cam out-tricked me on the course today but I was faster in the end and it worked out.
What do you love so much about Dual Speed and Style?
Right now it's not what anyone's main focus is on, so everyone is having a good time on the course and playing around and trying to help each other out. But as I said I love racing and I obviously love slopestyle, and this is the mix of both. I would be super down if Dual Speed and Style became a world event.
Is the bike you run for Dual Speed and Style the same as for slopestyle?
It is exactly the same. On some courses you need a front brake, but I don't ever ride with a front brake so I was pretty lucky you didn't need it for this course. You need the bike that you practice slopestyle tricks on to do tricks in this competition anyway, so it's fine to not change. Gears would be good on some courses but singlespeed is OK.
The event format is popular with crowds. Why is that?
I think this is the future for the crowds, they always love dual slalom because it's head-to-head and they love slopestyle because it's showtime.
You're known as a fluid rider, how important is it to be stylish not just on the features, but between them?
If you go in a little bit sideways into a kicker you're not going to have speed for the jump, and if you land bad for the upcoming hits then you're not going to have speed to do your tricks. You definitely have to be an all-rounded rider to do good in Speed and Style, you really need bike control. Style is different in everyone's mind, I feel comfortable on my bike and I guess that's what people like about my style.
Interested in seeing the event in action? Click here to watch an On Demand replay of Dual Speed & Style at Crankworx Whistler 2013.