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​WATCH NOW: The Bass Way – Paul Basagoitia’s Story

We all have those chapters in our lives that we want to close. There comes a time when we want to move on, leave the past where it is, and continue into a new part our lives. For Paul Basagoitia, that time is now. Six years ago, Paul Basagoitia was a household name in freeride mountain biking, pushing the limits in events such as Red Bull Rampage and Crankworx slopestyle, when a life-changing spinal cord injury at Rampage stopped his career dead in its tracks. Raised in a motel room with little chance of escaping the small-town Nevada lifestyle, mountain biking became Paul’s key to checking out – competing on a global scale with the best athletes in the world, even building his own 30-acre training compound. Ultimately, though, mountain biking became a source of conflict in his life, leading to burn out from the pressures and strains of pro-level competition. Today, massive improvements in his post-injury physical abilities combined with the rise of the e-bike has led Paul to discover a new course to compete on in life, going beyond the realm of core mountain biking to motivate others who are struggling and introduce them to his most crucial piece of mental and physical therapy. Paul return to riding was chronicled in TGR’s latest mountain bike film Accomplice, but there’s a whole lot more to the story. The first installment of Ride Concepts’ Ride Every Day video series The Bass Way chronicles the next segment in Paul’s journey, capturing the new-found joy that e-bikes and a second chance have provided, while sharing this experience with others and focusing on helping adaptive athletes get out and ride, and fight their battles. We caught up with Paul with the release of the new short film, here’s what he had to say:

What’s the message you wanted to bring across with your new film?

I wanted to open up and talk about some different chapters of my life. Close some chapters and open new ones. For years, I held it all inside, the misery and the stress of my slopestyle career. I couldn’t talk about it, with endorsements and contracts that would have surely ended if I had spoken up. I’m older now, and I learned that I needed to do this internally. I’m nervous, it’s a lot for me to share, but I think it’ll open up the stories of some other folks out there too. I think people want to hear real stuff nowadays. I don’t want to hold anything back. Is it easy to talk about? Absolutely not.

Clocking some airtime. | Ryan Cleek photo.

When I couldn’t keep up with the progression of slopestyle, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I tried different things, and it ultimately led to the injury that defined my life for a few years. Now I want to close the chapter on slopestyle life. Close the injury chapter, close the Emmy box. I mean, I literally do that in this film. Now my chapter is working internally in the mountain bike scene. Things like my role at Ride Concepts, organizing group rides, working with High Fives. I want to give back and ride with everybody.

What’s your role at Ride Concepts these days?

I’m in charge of all global athletes and moving images. I develop the mountain bike team and am in charge of all video content that comes out. It’s amazing, I get to create the dream team in mountain biking, and support what these riders want to do. These guys are all my friends, and many are the ones I love to ride with most like Andreu Lacondeguy, Kyle Strait, and everyone else. Really, I love creating stuff, and this has given me a huge opportunity to go deeper into that world.

Paul Bas leads a group ride with the High Fives crew . | Jordan Drew photo.

Why do you see your voice as important in motivating others?

Looking at High Fives, they originally weren’t focused on mountain biking, they were mostly just in the snowsports world. I met the founder Roy Tuscany, and he realized that the foundation should start a mountain bike division for injured athletes. I got Roy into bikes, and now I’m there riding, coaching, helping to provide gear. I think it taught me that I have a voice people will listen to, especially when it gets people motivated to go out and do things they will love, like biking.

Let’s talk e-MTBs real quick. What are your thoughts on the power of that technology?

E-bike technology is the best thing that’s ever happened to mountain biking. It allowed me to return to and really rediscover a love for riding bikes, and it’s amazing how far that technology has progressed in recent years for all kinds of riders. It’s a shame that right now there are still so many rules about where you can and can’t ride them, but I think that will change as more people realize their power for good things.

We might close chapters, we open new ones, but style is forever. | Ryan Cleek photo.

Anything else you want to add?

Life is all about chapters. We open them, we close them, then we start some new ones. If there’s something that’s weighing on you and you really need to talk about, maybe it’s time to do that. It might just let you close that chapter and move on to better things.

what a great talent!

About The Author

stash member Max Ritter

I manage digital content here at TGR, run our gear testing program, and am stoked to be living the dream in the Tetons.