The ROOST Questionnaire #1, Jared Graves 18

One of the world's most accomplished professional cyclists kicks off Vital's fun, new interview series.

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality, and was written at the turn of the last century by French philosopher, Marcel Proust. More recently it has been used in interviews by James Lipton, the host of the TV program 'Inside the Actor's Studio', and is regularly seen on the back page of Vanity Fair magazine, answered by various celebrities.

The ROOST Questionnaire, created and curated by Phil Le Maistre, is adapted for the world of mountain biking and mountain bikers. We’re pleased to launch this new Vital feature with Aussie racing legend, Jared Graves.

Title photo by Sven Martin

Jared Graves, age 35, is one of the world’s most accomplished professional cyclists. He has competed at the highest level in Downhill, 4X, BMX, and Enduro. In 2008, he finished 6th at the Olympic BMX final; in 2009, he won the UCI 4X World Championships on home soil in Canberra, Australia; in 2013 he won a bronze medal at the UCI Downhill World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; and in 2014 he won the Enduro World Series overall title. Here he speaks about his love for watermelon, correct cable length, and drilling holes in bikes.

What is your second favorite sport or athletic endeavor?

I’m pretty partial to a trip to the go-karts.

What is your favorite non-mtb bicycle or vehicle?

Despite what a lot of people will tell you, road bikes are pretty damn fun sometimes.

What is your preferred or ideal post-ride ritual?

On a hot day - ice-cold watermelon from the fridge, there is ALWAYS watermelon in my fridge.

Which mechanical glitch, imperfection, or problem will you tolerate on a ride? Which can you not tolerate?

Creaking cranks never seem to bug me; I can’t tolerate when my brakes are out of adjustment from how I like them.

What bicycle maintenance procedure do you most enjoy?

I enjoy the whole thing! Taking a full day to build a new bike, greasing every bolt just the perfect amount, getting cable lengths just right; all the small details that go into making a bike super clean and dialed! The end product is always satisfying.

Would you rather: turn your bike as much as you like, but never again have your tires leave the ground; or jump as much and as high as you like, but only ever ride in a straight line for the rest of time?

Corners, no question.

Would you rather go for a three hour ride on: a bike with 15-year-old geometry and brand new suspension; or a bike with 15-year-old suspension and up-to-date geometry?

Up to date geometry for sure! Decent suspension wasn’t bad at all 15 years ago; I still have a set of the first generation of Fox vanilla forks from 2002, they don’t feel too bad at all. (I think that would be a better question for 25 year old geo or suspension, but my answer would still be the same)

There is ALWAYS watermelon in my fridge.

What do you consider to be the greatest World Cup or World Championship race run of all time?

The 4X in Canberra 2009 World Champs, I felt so much pressure, from myself, from the crowd, from sponsors, but I didn’t make one mistake all night, it was perfect!

Relive the glory of 2009 4X World Champs.

What do you consider to be the greatest injustice in mountain bike history?

There’s one major one I can think of, but I really can’t mention it for certain reasons.

What do you consider to be the greatest bicycle paint job ever?

Whatever paint is on the bike I’m riding at the time of course, my bike is always the sickest! haha

If you could move one World Cup track to another World Cup venue, which would you move, and to where?

Move Durango, Colorado, to Cairns, Australia, have the best track in the best country, and be on the beach.

Which is your favorite World Cup race track?

As above, although I never raced the World Cup there, just raced the same track as a NORBA.

What is your favorite color for a bike frame?

If you have to choose, it has to be black, it’s the only color bike you never get sick of looking at.

What is your favorite vintage downhill bike? (pre-2002 only)

I was always pretty damn pumped on my old GT I-Drive I had in 2001. It was ahead of its time, and would still ride well today.

Grubby, always totally serious.

What is your favorite story or legend in downhill history?

Not just one in particular, but there have been so many hilarious stories from back in the 90's of super dodgy fixes when bikes and tracks were progressing at a rapid rate: like teams welding gussets onto cracked frames the night before World Cup finals, or drilling random holes in frames to change shock positions to lower BB's and slacken head angles; which I did on 2 different bikes myself back in the day!

What is your favorite story or legend in freeride history?

I’m very out of the loop with anything freeride-related...

What cycling industry job would you try that you haven't already?

I love product development, but we’re involved with that now I guess. There would be a lot of small things to learn, but I would love to run a team.

If you could upload the skills and style of another rider to your brain and body, Matrix-style, whose skills and style would you choose?

Richie Rude is the most talented guy on a bike I’ve ever seen.

What is the biggest or best gift mountain biking has given you?

Honestly, MTB has given me everything: I met my wife indirectly through mountain biking, everything I own right now is because of mountain biking, and the lifestyle I have lived for the past 15 years is because of mountain biking. Then the life skills I have learnt through travel and dealing with sponsors communicating with people, has all come from situations I’ve been thrown into as well. It’s had me out of my comfort zone so many times, and it’s all worked out for the better.

Where is the best dirt in the world?

Thredbo has the best dirt I’ve ridden.


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