Life in The Loops With Soren Farenholtz

Words and photos by Dylan Sherrard

It was only a few short years ago when Soren Farenholtz found himself falling in love with biking. In the spring of 2014, he and his childhood friends would spend their days digging small jumps behind his house, converting the family treehouse into their bike store, ‘RAD REPAIR,’ and generally “grommin’ out,” as Soren says it.

And as the story so often goes, imagination and a thirst for adventure lead Soren and his friends to longer days of exploring the edges of their neighbourhood in search of bigger jumps and longer trails. It was during one of these outings that Soren stumbled across the Kamloops Bike Ranch, completely by chance.

“I was blown away,” Soren recalls, “I saw kids riding all these huge jumps, and I thought it was just nuts. I remember thinking I was going to fall off a cliff or something. I was scared at first.”

Soren returned home that night, unable to shake the sights of the Bike Ranch from his imagination. He went back to the Ranch soon after and began picking his way through the smaller jump lines. Within a few visits, he was riding through a whole six-set, making new friends, and finding a place in the scene of older, more experienced riders.

And although it’s been just a few short years, Soren already appears mature on a bike with smooth and effortless style in every regard. He rolls around the Ranch with a heavy flow and ease, a deeper bag of tricks than we’ve ever seen for a Kamloops kid, and a level-headed attitude that makes you want to be around him.

The summer of 2017 was a season of huge progression for Soren, which saw that bag of tricks padded to the brim. He learned every 360 variation you can imagine, backflips, 720s, and anything else you can add a barspin to.

Soren’s rapid progression matches the rapid pace with which his generation digests media content. They are growing up in a social media world where they have, in their pockets, the tools to manufacture their own content, dictate their own image, and see things the way they want to see them.

“Insta is more, like, I look at it more than actual edits,” Soren confesses. “It’s easier, watching friends who live in different towns. It’s easier to scroll through. And making my own edits is fun. Not as many people see a big edit on a website. But all the followers see it on IG, and comment, and it gets me stoked to know my friends are watching.”

That style of constant, yet casual, production, makes weekly progression feel normal. Soren can watch what his favourite riders are doing, practice it on the airbag, move from the airbag to a trick jump with a soft landing, and dial it in. He can watch himself in slow motion, adjust his approach, and then take it to any other jump in the park, all in the span of a few days.

Despite such a rapid and progressive learning curve, Soren maintains that style is paramount.

“I don’t really see the point in having a trick unless you really have the trick, you know?” Soren mentions in regard to the routine he tries to keep in tune with.

He doesn’t want to be one of those riders that can whip out anything in their imagination, but only on a soft trick jump. So most days at the Ranch, Soren rattles off a trick list in a certain sequence and reaps the rewards of repetition, always pushing to make it feel easier. Soren wants his tricks to feel dialled, and to feel attainable on any jump, at any time.

“I’m so much less likely to get injured that way,” adds Soren, “having that air awareness of every little detail of a trick, and knowing how to bail from it feels really important for learning.”

 A wise note for a young lad on a tear.

But trick lists and the topic of self-preservation are not the only areas in which Soren displays fleeting moments of wisdom beyond his years. He’s also quick to note his appreciation for the Kamloops community and the Bike Ranch he rides every day.

“I wouldn’t be into riding the same way without the Ranch,” says Soren. “It’s so crazy that we can just go there and ride for free. I mean, if it cost, say twenty bucks to go and check it out, I probably wouldn’t have ended up riding there by accident. Brad makes the place truly dialed, but me and my friends all feel responsible to look after the jumps, too.”

“Kamloops is such a good town,” Soren continues. “Some of my older friends are moving away for school and work and stuff, but it’s still such a good riding scene. Kamloops is a legendary biking town. My friends and I, we’re all into more tricks. I think Kamloops is used to seeing all the big hits. We don’t go as big, but we’re riding with tricks that are a little more technical. I think it’s cool to be part of a younger generation sort of making our own chapter. Doing it our way.”

Soren finds confidence and inspiration in abundance, living in a town where many happy careers and healthy lifestyles have been found in mountain biking. 
At just fifteen years young, with such a deep bag of tricks and such a level head on his shoulders, Soren Farenholtz is a Kamloops grom truly poised to blow it up big time. And the most exciting aspect is that he doesn’t really care to be caught up in the hype around any of that.

Catch Soren on Instagram.

Kona Super Grassroots rider James Rennie heads to Kamloops for round three of the BC Enduro Series

Kamloops hosted the 4th round of the BC Enduro series, another new location for the series this year. The race was held at Harper Mountain, offering around 800m of vertical drop with all trails offering up some great speed and flow along with some technical steep sections.

The race consisted of four stages, stages one and two would be around the 10 minute mark, stage three, a short flow trail and stage four, a short grass slalom to finish. After a hot day of practice it was evident that the race would be mostly decided on the first two stages, both of which consisted of some super fun trail, but they would also be taxing on the body with considerable flat sections in both stages.

Race day dawned and it was a scorcher with the temperature around 34 degrees, hydration would be key throughout the day especially with two long climbs back up the mountain. The total climbing for the day would be around 1600m.

1Q8A7944After a short climb up to stage one, we realized we had left too early and ended up waiting for around an hour while the rest of the field started the course. While waiting someone heard a hissing noise coming from my bike, it turned out that while my bike was hanging out in the sun a hole in the rear tyre (which must have sealed the day before) had opened up. I quickly had to chuck in a tube in and pump it up as hard as possible as my track record while running tubes is dismal.

Stage one started off well as I just tried to stay smooth and conserve as much energy as I could as the stage would be the longest of the weekend. Things went well but I felt very tired and felt like I didn’t have much to give on the pedals, most noticeably in the flatter section near the bottom of the track. I was almost at the finish line when I clipped a small rock with the front wheel and saw the distinctive spew of sealant come out of the front tyre, I quickly pulled over and forced the sealant to the hole as I had no spare tubes after using it before the stage. I finished the stage in 15th a long way back from the leaders.

After a long hot climb back to the top of the mountain it was time for stage two, luckily my front tyre had sealed up and seemed to be holding air. Stage two started off rocky and tight before flattening out and finishing with some flowy corners that would rival Whistler Bike Park for deepest braking bumps. I just put together a clean run, once again feeling very fatigued finishing the stage in 11th.

Another long climb back to the top of the mountain led us to stage three, a short new flow trail with lots of jumps and turns. As the stage was short I laid down as much heat as I could, finishing the stage in 8th only a few seconds back from the leaders.

The last stage was a short grass slalom, not a stage that the race would be won on but a fun way to finish the race. I finished the stage in third.

Overall I finished up the day in a disappointing 12th after my troubles on the first stage. The race may have been my favourite of the year, the trails were awesome and the day was a great test for all riders. Thanks to the BC Enduro team for putting on yet another stellar event!

I now have a well earned break from racing after 6 weekends in a row. My next race will likely be in August for the NAET round in Squamish.

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Kona is proud to present, in association with Monster Energy, SRAM, Giro, and Pinkbike… Ashes To Agassiz:  The Fall and Rise of a Mountain Bike Superstar

It’s been a journey, you could say. A real barnburner. A man at the top of his professional prowess, his mountain bike a natural extension of him, one of the best riders the sport has ever seen. But like all great heroes, adversity comes a knocking. For Graham Agassiz, a relatively benign descent—one he’s done a hundred times before—reached out with its wicked limb and smacked him down. Shoved a fat slice of humble pie in his kisser. With his neck broken and a career in jeopardy, the road back to the top is now lined with dangers and demons. (more…)