Trail Travels - The Chris Harti Interview
"I still have poison oak on my legs but it's fuckin' worth it!"
8 Jan 2019
Intro, interview and photos by Brian Barnhart
Chris Harti recently visited the USA from Australia and spent most of his time in Redding, California riding the Jefferson State Trails and hanging with the locals. I think it’s safe to say, he had one hell of a visit! I got some laps with him and the crew in November, shot these photos, then caught up about the trip upon his return home.
How did your trip to the US come about and where did you visit?
So Andrew Bentley, Jeremy Kaiser and Marcus Obrien all came to visit me in Canberra in the beginning of the year, but unfortunately I had a trip planned to western Australia to hit the HVT trail jam. So I gave the boys the keys to my pad and Holden commodore wagon when they got here. Fast forward to October 23rd and the dudes hooked me up with a plane ticket to Redding to shred trails and enjoy some well needed hangs with the bros!
How long did you plan to visit, and how long did you actually end up staying?
It was only meant to be a two week trip; two weeks was up, I checked the weather, also checked myself, I decided it wasn't time to leave, many great sessions were had. Andrew pretty much filmed a section of me for a DVD he is working on, which is pretty much going to be Building the Underground 2. To put it simply Redding locals and trails are fire.
What happened with your bike when you arrived in the States?
So I arrived at SFO Intl 23rd Oct. Jeremy and Marcus rolled up in a white chevy rental, scooped me up, went to the bar, explored SF a little. Completely unaware of the sketchy-ness of the place, later that evening we scooped up Bob Manchester from the airport, parked the chevy around the corner from the dinner/bar spot we were catching up at. Next thing I know I learn that the rear window had been broken and my Ogio golf bag which I’d had for at-least 8 years, filled with my bike, tools, clothes and gifts for the boys had been snatched. Devo.
Did you have any expectations of the trails in Redding, and did they meet those expectations?
Never any expectations. Those trails straight blew my face off, I felt like I could really open it up into another dimension really; built so well, set on a hill, in the bush! A good mix of steep and chill lips, endless hips, fast berms. Nobody could just show up and start rippin' ya know... disco shit. One interesting aspect of this place that is worth sharing is that a colony of beavers made a dam at the bottom of the trails and this dam feeds the whole trails. So interesting and awesome for the boys! Such a great time and place, thanks boys.
I STILL HAVE POISON OAK ON MY LEGS BUT IT'S FUCKIN' WORTH IT, P.O.W!
What do you make of the Jefferson State scene?
Good people that not only share the same passion of riding/building trails but are down to hang and have your back no matter what. Straight up life long mates were made. The classic rock never stops in Redding, California.
Explain your love for American classic rock.
IT'S A FUCKIN DRUG, IF I COULD SHOOT IT I WOULD.
How did the fresh FIT Hartbreaker build feel on the Redding clay?
So the first two days of riding the trails I actually rode Marcus' 21.5 Solid. It felt pretty good but kind of like an old man, haha. Then, the mates from The Building made it happen (thanks Chris, Doug, Dylan, Melissa & everyone at The Building). They sent me a full setup in the mail - I took it to the trails and it felt amazing. Kind of felt like a tiger locked in a cage... definitely broke the fuck out.
What percentage of your trip was spent in shorts and no shirt?
So my outfits got cut down to like only two (because of the luggage theft); a trail outfit and a getting weird outfit. So I had to watch it, haha. Shorts and no shirt is my deal, it makes me feel alive and I don't have to worry about my bars getting caught while enjoying top speed and 30 plus foot sets. So while it was warm out, I'd say all day, every one of those days, haha? Hundy cent.
Did that delivery from Vans dial you in on gear?
Gotta thank Mapstone from Vans Oz and Jerry B from Vans USA for hooking this up - super grateful. Pretty much sent me a new closet in a box haha. Had enough to hook the boys up too… hell yeah.
How do you feel the trail scene in the US compares to the Australian trail scene? Any major similarities or differences in the spots you have visited?
No matter what trail spot you go to there is only ever going to be a handful (if that) of dedicated dudes keeping the place running and taken care of. The “trail builder/rider” is a dying breed no matter what country or trails you are lucky enough to visit. I don't even know if I answered the question but that’s how I feel and it's actually how it is between every dedicated trail spot.
You spent some time in SoCal as well, how was that?
So Mike Saavedra saved me from LAX after I left my AUS passport on a plane from SFO. Haha. I was unable to get on the plane back to Sydney. Super psyched this happened because the last time I saw Mike was in 2014, holding his leg in place while he was getting pushed in a wheelbarrow across a cemetery at Hazelwood PA! Heavy scene to say the least. So it was uplifting to get to spend a week and a half with a long lost brother, picked up right where we left off and we got into some shit, that’s for damn sure, haha.
What did you get to ride down there?
Well I rode one bowl, Fontana. An interesting round bowl, wild tranny, pretty sick. Mike, Justin and I also got the mainline at Blue Bench running which were great times! I only got to ride the top section but the place literally is in a patch of paradise. I'm definitely stingin' for a proper sesh with the boys when I get back out Mike, ya mad dog.
Are you stoked to be back home after an extended trip, is trail season back home getting going?
This trip has taught me that time ain't a thing; if it's meant to be just run it and enjoy yourself, the universe will sort it out for you. Good to be back home, although it’s HOT AS F*&K outside. We have had rain so at least two of three trail spots here in good old Canberra will be getting thrashed on the reg. I can’t wait. Great to see my homies too, I think they missed me? I definitely missed them. Haha.
Any plans to get back to the USA, or any other travel plans in the works?
Definitely head back to Redding for round two. Hopefully Manndrew’s fuckin knee and Marcus' heel is healed up so we can shred. I might bring someone with me from OZ, I dunno. But for now i'll be posted here savin' bucks for burrito $ - until next time.
I also want to thank Jeremy Bear, Andrew, Marcus, Freddy, GJ, Jay Scott, Jay Wizdom, Saavedra's for having my back and giving me a place to rest my head/head bang along this amazing journey, love all you guys. I'll be seeing you soon. Also, to Barney for shooting these amazing photos, so good to see ya mate!
Chris Harti is supported by Official DIG Partners: FIT
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