Enduro Racer and Adventurer. From the lung-searing high mountains of Colorado to the high glacier covered mountains of Bolivia, Nate Hills pushes the human limit of what is possible with the bike.
1. How did you get your start? What were the motivating factors that lead you to a passionate life fueled by bike?
I guess that I have been riding bikes, in one form or another, for most of my ife. The older I get and the more time has passed, I have realized that this passion has kept me young and healthy. If I stopped riding, I don’t know what would happen…. I was a fat kid when I was younger so I should probably keep riding as long as possible!
2. What one bike related trip or event stands out to you and why?
I have been fortunate to spend a fair amount of time traveling with my bicycle over the last few years. I would say that our Bolivia traverse stands out the most, as a memorable experience. We were the first to ride bicycles on our route and there is just something about undertaking an adventure that has never been done before. The risk, the not -knowing and uncertainty, the terrain and elevation, all made quite a memory and impression on me. Pulling that off is very rewarding and gives me good perspective on what “hard” really is. In biking and in life.
3. You can only pick one bike, what would be your perfect bike set-up? 27.5? 29? 140mm? 150mm? Why?
I have been enjoying the 140mm Yeti SB5.5c 29” with a 160mm fork lately. Mostly because it is so capable and can be ridden all day in really rough terrain. I guess that is my favorite type of riding, so it suits me. I would rather ride a heavier and more capable bike in most situations. It just makes you stronger in the end. I’ve stopped being such a weight weenie. My bike weight to start the Bolivia trip was close to 60lbs with bags and food. Nothing else seems heavy now …
4. Your #FollowCamFriday videos are liked by thousands of riders around the World weekly. What location or trail is your favorite to shoot on? Any dream locations you hope to film in the future?
I have been amazed at the response of my videos. My fun side-project has inspired a ton of people to get out and ride. That is the goal, and that feels great. My favorite location….. That is a hard one. For me, it seems to be more about the people I am riding with and the vibe. If everyone is having fun and laughing and the vibe is good, it usually comes across in the videos, and people seem to enjoy that. As far as “dream” locations, pretty much anywhere that I have never ridden peeks my interest. I want to experience as much trail as possible, and if I can document the ride, all the better. I am headed to New Zealand in February, so things are going in the right direction. Stay tuned.
5. We all wish we could ride 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What activities to participate in when not riding?
I do enjoy some winter sports on occasion. I have always skied a bunch in the winter to take a little break from the bike and reset the body and mind. I ski tour, alpine, and nordic as much as possible. I also enjoy driving my Subaru spiritedly … Is that an activity? The whole process of making a weekly Vlog is taking a bunch of my time lately. I basically started it from nothing and I have learned a ton in the process. I am officially a camera nerd. It is a nice balance to racing and training, complete shift of focus.
6. In your career, what is one of your top stand-out moments?
I am assuming this is a racing question. I guess I managed to win the first three years’ overall Big Mountain Enduro titles…. I love the BME for the vibe and the people and the venues. It is always nice to do well in my home series that I have a lot of love for. As far as non-racing stand-out goes, I am pretty excited about Follow Cam Friday. Race results come and go, but my videos are a lasting legacy to document my travels. I can reach a huge audience through this platform and get people stoked on the healthy lifestyle that is mountain biking.
7. What tips do you have for aspiring Enduro racers or adventure riders?
I would recommend that everyone tries to travel and ride as many different trails and styles as possible. This covers everything from road riding to dirt jumping and everything in between. Every experience or trail is a chance to learn something new. Accomplished enduro racers are rich in experience and can find flow with any type of terrain. Fitness is important at the sharp end, but heart trumps all. The only good race results I have ever gotten were because I was genuinely having fun on the bike. Fun is most important.
8. How important are ergonomics, especially for the demands your riding and racing?
Honestly, the contact point to your bicycle is very important. In order to ride to my full potential, I need a good connection to the bike. There is too much happening, too fast, to be worried about my hands. When my cockpit is dialed, it is second nature and never a concern. Having a comfy saddle is the same, especially on those 12hr days in the Andes. I didn’t even wear a chamois for my 10 day Bolivia trip. That speaks volumes!