We hate goodbyes. But they’re part of life. Things change, people move on and we get to watch them ride off into the sunset and bid them adios. It sucks, but so do flat tires. And we deal with those, get back on our bikes, and finish our ride. So I guess we’ll have to do that now too.
It turns out our very own, Jeff Perry, the man known for his love of 80′s bands, rocking shoe lace belts and who shames anyone else on the group ride when he busts out his sweet bike handling skills, is leaving in search of greener pastures to Minnesota. I was trying to think of a good Minnesota joke here and all I could think of was the Vikings. Sorry, Jeff. Since you’re leaving, I guess this will be the last time I let you down. Unlike the Vikings who will continue to do so. Hope your not a fan.
Before he leaves, we thought we’d spend some time with the man behind the myth. Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting Mr. Jeff Perry:
Where are you from?
I’m from Waukon, Iowa. I got here back in ’95. I came out to snowboard. I’d been boarding since I was 15 so coming out here was a dream. I had been out twice before and loved it. I fell in love with the mountains and the snow was so great. So I had this opportunity to work as a maintenance guy in Park City which meant I got to board for free. That was the first season they allowed snowboarders at P.C.
So rumor has it that you were actually a pro snowboarder at one point. Is that true? What else are you hiding?!?!
Very true. I was a pro for a little over two years. When I came to Park City, I happened to ride with a bunch of guys that were really good and I had the opportunity to turn pro. But I was pretty low totem-pole. I didn’t really compete. I just traveled a lot for free and had a lot of fun. I competed in the half-pipe and slope style. That was the era before everyone had cameras attached to everything so I never was filmed; I never had that chance.
So there’s not pictures of a twenty-something Jeff wearing the latest ’90s snowboarding fashions?
You ARE hiding something! So what happened? When did you start riding bikes?
I kept getting a bunch of knee injuries which meant I had to stop riding. I didn’t get on a bike until I was 31. My first bike was a jumping bike with five inches of travel. It was awesome. But I liked to climb up -so I always made sure it was light enough to get up the mountain too. Then I got an inexpensive crossbike for commuting and really lked it. Then I got talked into racing cross. I did five races in the C flight and they made me move up.
So you’re saying you dominated?
I had a fifth place finish, two third place, and then I kept winning. So I got bumped up. I wouldn’t call it not dominating…
How long have you been at Contender?
I’ve been here for a year and a half. I wish it was longer. I love it. I love teaching our spin classes in the winter. My favorite is making awesome 80′s mixes to listen too during the class.
Let’s hear about some of your hobbies
My wife Briana and my daughter Charlie. I love playing with my daughter; even though she’s kind of a crazy animal right now. She’s one and a half and she’s everywhere and into everything. Her favorite thing to do right now is point to stuff and ask, “What’s that?”
I used to coach kid’s snowboarding too. A couple of my kids even went pro. I was actually the legal guardian for Bode Merrill from when he was twelve to eighteen. He needed someone to sign wavers for him to enter contests so he basically lived with me. It’s been cool to see some of my kids grow up and turn pro. I still judge snowboarding for USASA too.
Other than that, when I get a chance, I like to go on surf trips. The coolest place I’ve surfed is Lower Trestles.
Also, wine and beer, that’s a hobby, right?
It was for Betty Ford. What are your favorite things that we carry at the shop?
My favorite bike is the Cannondale Super X disc. I like it because of the low bottom bracket- it corners like it’s on rails. Plus it’s light. It feels little, like a BMX bike.
I’m down with ProBar! I love their Fuel bars. They actually taste good so they keep me fueled on my long rides.
I also love Stan’s No Tubes Cross wheels. You can actually ride them at a lower pressure during cross races so you get better traction and a better feel for the terrain.
What else are you into that isn’t cycling and snowboarding or the fam?
I love 80′s stuff -movies, music- love it.
What’s your favorite 80′s movie then?
I’d say North Shore or Rad. When I was young I wanted to be Rick Kane
Do you still say ‘rad’?
Oh hell yeah. And before cross races I listen to the Rad soundtrack.
So what’s your favorite 80′s band?
Were you a goth in highschool?
No. I listened to Public Enemy.
Anybody ever call you a loose cannon?
Yep. Nick [Contender employee who's profile is forthcoming] calls me a loose cannon all the time. You never know what I’m going to do next. I like anarchy. My wife agrees. But she’s a loose cannon too so we work well together.
Is that why you have shoelaces for belts?
Nope. that’s just ’cause it’s easy -especially when I was fat. I’ve done it for ten years now.
So your wife hasn’t decided you need real belts?
She has. I have two now. I only wear them to fancy events.
What kind of belt did you wear to Julian’s wedding?
Anything to say about your upcoming move?
I feel like a hobbit going on an unexpected journey
Really? And the biggest difference between you and a hobbit is…?
I have harrier feet
You are a loose cannon. But we will miss you.