Downhill24: How old are you and where do you live?
Stacy Kohut: My name is Stacy Kohut, and I’m lucky enough to have two birthdays. The original, Oct 15, 1970 and the second, March 21, 1992, the day I snapped my back and mangled my spinal cord. It was rad I looked at it like a second chance, so yeah, a second birthday with a new body was definitely in order. I am 46 years old, and also just turning 25 with my second birthday. Proudly born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and for the last 23 years I have lived in Banff and Canmore in Alberta and now here in the land of the bike park, Whistler, B.C.
What do you do for living?
Since my ‘second birthday’, I have been basically been doing the ‘part time athlete/ part time basic job’ guy. My passion is racing and the process and practice involved in staying quick and remaining fast year after year. The ‘basic jobs’ have include everything from Public Speaker to Ski Coach to Commercial Work to Paralympic Champion to working retail 3 or 4 days a week……….I always make sure I have a source of income other than my sport. Sometimes I get lucky and make a few bucks from a media gig, or sponsorship, etc….but its always just cash that goes back into my bike.
As it is with alot of hard charging 25 year old athletes, it is my goal to obtain a sponsorship that will allow me to focus 100% on doing what I do,…. reppin’ myself, my sponsors and spreading the good word about bicycles and living healthy. I’ve done quite a bit in the last 17 years in bikes with no real budget or outside cash sponsorship, imagine what I may be able to get done if I had a budget and a full program? I’m so stoked to have sponsors that supply me with hard goods and soft goods so I can get the job done. Without their support, I could not exist.
How did you came up with the idea to make such a great bike?
Right away I wanna clear something up that has been kinda ‘off course’ for the last 9 months…. I was not the only one involved in refining this design to take the abuse and to have the performance needed to bang out 100 days a year at a lift accessed resort. I was involved with a rad lil company called R-ONE. It was my biz partner who was in charge of one side of the company, and I was in charge of the other. He was awesome to work with until it just stopped clicking.We stopped clicking. His name is Johnny Therien and we had some good years working together, we produced about 25 of the Fourcross Bikes for the company R-ONE….. Anyway, we scored the main design, jigs, building rights and such from another company who did do some great work, but could never even have IMAGINED what some dudes who had MX and skateboarding backgrounds could do on the Fourwheel Bikes…..Johnny and I went to town getting everything dialed to the point where the performance and durability had reached its max potential with our design, and we were more than happy with that. The only thing to do at the end was ride, race, repeat, test, race, break and replace. Exact same as any of our friends who ride at a high level on two wheels all over the world ripping DH! These parts and such don’t last forever for a reason…..
Did you make it on your own?
Obviously its more than a one person job. I jocked the phone, contacted suppliers, imported , exported, pushed things along, pulled things back and tried to help everything move forward. I had vendors I needed to get stuff from, I had customers with all sorts of questions in all forms,…. physical, phone, fax, email, video posts,… it never stopped….family members.
R-ONE…… .It’s been dead and done since way back in 2012. A part of me thinks its pretty sad its over.
What trails can you ride with this bike?
I grew up on motocross bikes and tracks, harescrambles and bicycle mayhem,… not to mention racing bmx. So, with that in mind, I can ride alot of different tracks all over the world. My bars aren’t much smaller than my front axel width, so two wheel riders have the same bars right? ….You’d be surprised at what they are capable of. Its a whole other rush to creep and crawl though a nasty rock or log section and pull it off with no help from others. You never wanna be riding trails where someone has to help you all the time. Independence is key to success in this sport.
How do you enter the chairlift?
SK: Great question!. Its really pretty easy, I roll up on the fourwheeler, scan my pass, get into the perfect position for the lift op person, stop lift, quickly jump on, load bike with assistance of the lif op person,…. reverse the whole process at the top. Too easy. Takes about 30 second to load. No hassles. The main thing is to NOT involve riding friends or family members to have to help out with the loading procedure. It must be left for the lift operators, its the only way to insure success for everybody, all the way around…including the people waiting in line behind you!
Can you make some uphills with it?
Another great question. Yeah, no problems. The fourwheeler is designed to be light enough to maneuver the bike up and over obstacles and also doing some up hills of varying degree of steepness. Alot of the limits are up to the rider, every rider has the ability to set his or her limits, just like 2 wheel bikes. One of the main reasons I can rip the downhills is because I’m not scared of pushing my body on the uphills. Core strength baby!
Can you tell us something about your injury? How did it happen? What went wrong back in 1992?
SK: The best way to describe it is a wake up call. Harsh I know, but the truth. I was wasting so much natural talent messin’ around doing stupid shit with booze and high risk activities. Jumpin’ off cliffs, bridges, all with a good booze buzz, real stupid stuff…fun at the time though. I was a decent vert skateboarder, not pro material, but I could lay down a run, but my real talents, those natural talents, were bikes and racing. When I broke my back I knew I had to get back to doing what I was really good at….racing. I gave everything I had to sit ski racing,… now for the past 16 years, I’m giving the same effort and determination with my fourwheel biking.
How often do you go biking?
I get going full on mid May and go until the end of October. I ride 4 to 6 days a week, and I rip between 4 and 12 runs per session. My whole life revolves around being able to rip 4 days a week, 6 or 7 months a years. It ain’t easy man, sooooo many personal sacrifices and such. I do love every minute of it though, no complaints.
Do you feel like a superhero? You are a such great motivation for so many riders.
Funny thought, but in all reality, no I don’t. I do feel like a pioneer though. I know people see what I do and are amazed. I hope they are very entertained.
Are you a sponsored rider?
I am a sponsored rider for soft and hard goods. No salary, no bonuses, no pay program. I really appreciate all the support I get from the crew that keeps me goin’…..
I really should take the time to give some shout outs to those peeps that keep me rolllin’…..Stik/ Troy at TLD, The Oakley Canada crew, Maxxis and the NRG peeps, Scott at Sun and Hayes, Leroy and the Phil Wood posse, Stefan and the Vans Canada group, Richard at Ergogenics, everybody from Fox Shox, James and the shop crew from Suspension Werx, Andrew from Maxima, Rob and Crystal from Intuition Liners, James at The Fix Inc, Chris and Pete from North Shore Billet, and Robby from FSW. Thanks crew!!!!
Most of people would just give up and sat down in front of the TV for the rest of their lives, how do you find motivation to keep going?
My background, my interests, my upbringing. Realizing that this is what and who I am. It just wasn’t in me to quit.
How many brakes/dampers do you have?
Four shocks, four brakes. The brakes are front and rear, not side to side.
Do you adjust your bike to different trails?
Nope. I adjust my riding technique and my riding style for the different trails and tracks.
Do you often crash with this bike?
I’m good for one or two good bails each year. Thats gonna happen when you are pushing your limits. These days its usually out the front door, over the bars. Not pretty. I am belted in, so when the bike goes over, so do I !!!! It takes a certain type of person to do this sport, and taking some beat downs are definitely part of it.
Just a huge thank you to you for being interested in what I do and getting me this interview. I really appreciate everyone around the world who truly understands what I’m about and why I do what I do!!!