To many Yetifans, Paul Rowney needs no introduction, The main XC guy on the huge Pearl Izumi Yeti team back in the early 00’s, and massive character on the XC scene for many years, he is also the main man behind Yeti Australia. He’s raced the best, and at just over 40 he’s cleaning up in the Masters Downhill series in Australia.
(Pic thanks to Yeti Australia Facebook page) Click here for their page
1) Hi Paul, tell us where you live & what makes you tick?
I live in Sydney, Australia and what keeps me ticking is enjoying my family time, along with the odd bike race.
2) Your bike racing career started a long time ago now, what is your first memory of being pretty good on a bike?
Being the younger brother of one of the fastest Bmx’ers in my suburb growing up set the bench mark, so I was always out to out jump or outsprint him. Didn’t happen often but I was pretty fast as the wee one.
3) Somebody at Yeti once told me that you were probably one of the most technically skilled XC racers, what do you put this down too, and were they telling the truth?
I was a downhiller as well as an XC guy that was winning National races in the mid 90’s on a Slingshot bike, so I had a slight advantage being an XC bandit that could let it hang out on the decent.
(Both bike pics thanks to Paul Rowney) This ARC One of only 2 built.
4) Recently you've been setting the Australian Downhill scene alight, you won the last round in Masters (40+), is this coming naturally, or is it taking some serious effort?
This is taking a lot of work, I haven’t really spent a lot of time on a modern DH bike, and they are seriously amazing as to how hard you can hit stuff. I have only recently started to ding rims, so I’m getting faster although having to send gaps is not as easy as it used to be!
5) Do you see yourself heading to masters world championships now you are doing well at DH? is that an aim maybe?
No interest really in heading to worlds.. Doubt I would get a day pass from the other half either!
6) You've raced against the worlds best, who did you consider the ultimate racer during your XC racing years? and why?
Tough question that.. Hard to believe but that period of my racing career was full of liars and cheats so my view on athletes is somewhat tainted.
John Tomac, Ned Overend, Nick Craig, Travis Brown, Geoff Kabush, and Rob Woods would all be stand outs for me.
Each of these athletes bought something different to the table, and the biggest thing they put on that table was honesty, when they got a result I could always see that result being of what a clean athlete was capable of, in a pretty dirty era.
7) XC Eliminator or 4X ?
XC Eliminator is not quite there yet but could be good if they amp it up technically, 4X I do miss, but logistically it’s tough and never made the UCI enough money as they have some pretty large legal bill these days.. So let’s amp up XC Eliminator and get Grubby to the next Olympics..
8) You've some up and coming talent on the Yeti Australia team, can you tell us who & how they are doing?
We have young Jack Moir onboard, he’s just turned 19. He’s got long spider legs, He was once mauled by a shark whilst surfing and he’s pretty freaking fast. 5th at JR Worlds last year, he’s had a 2nd to Sam at round 2 nationals and just finished off the podium at Aussies, so he is one to look out for this year at select world cup events.
9) As Yeti Australia head honcho, do you get to ride as much as you like? or is it all emails and barbies on the beach?
Pretty shitty summer this year, and we live near the beach but barely went.. I ride my roadie a bit and try and get out every week for an MTB ride.
10) What was your first proper mountain bike? & do you still have it?
GT-RTS 2.. No it broke more than once!
11) Where was the last place you rode & what bike were you on?
National champs last week, 303-WC was my race bike and 66-C did some trails on.
12) What is your favourite Yeti of all time?
2001 – Factory AS-Rowney.
(AS-R - Short 95mm travel shock, It also has the hand machined symmetrical rear end, the first Ti-pivots as well, plus an 80mm factory skareb Manitout fork.
13) You must have some awesome road trip tales, anything funny you can share?
A lot of funny shit happened at Yeti.. But you know the rules.. What happens on tour, stays on tour.
14) Thanks! Anybody you'd like to thank or give props to?
-- To everybody that helped me along the way.. To all my teammates as well past and present. Cheers