It’s been a busy past couple of months for Williams Lake big mountain freeride specialist James Doerfling.
The 26-year-old rider recently returned from a successful outing at the 2012 Red Bull Rampage near Virgin, Utah, and was featured as part of Nelson-based Freeride Entertainment’s Where the Trail Ends — a film showcasing the top freeride mountain bikers as they travel the world seeking untouched terrain.
The film, also produced by Red Bull Media House, had its world premiere Sept. 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Palms Casino Resort. Doerfling, who attended the screening, is one of five main riders featured in the film.
“The whole movie is based on big mountain riding, not just your regular mountain bike riding,” Doerfling said. “That’s what I do and that’s what I try to focus on. They kind of hand-picked the riders that got to be in the film and luckily enough I was one of them.
“I didn’t get to go on every trip but I got to go to China twice and then film on the Fraser River trip here in town.”
Doerfling said his trips to ride China’s Flaming Mountains in the Gobi Desert for the film were unreal.
“I had never been that far away from home, ever,” he said. “The first trip was in 2010, then the second trip to China was last spring. It was definitely a culture shock seeing how they live over there. We spent two and a half weeks there just filming and riding.”
The other part of the film took place right in Doerfling’s back yard.
Douglas Green, who owns Cariboo Chilcotin Jetboat Adventures, was hired by the company last fall to shuttle the riders down the Fraser to their destination.
“It was cool to have him [Green] as part of the one trip because he’s a local guy,” Doerfling said. “It was awesome because it was the kind of terrain I grew up riding. We took Doug and we went to Sheep Creek there where he usually launches his boat then we went down river to the confluence where the Chilco River meets the Fraser River.”
The filming crew and riders camped on the Fraser River for 10 days using two helicopters and Green’s jetboat to shuttle them around.
“It was pretty efficient,” Doerfling said. “Kind of like heli-skiing with bikes.”
He added it’s probably the coolest mountain bike film he’s ever seen.
“It’s real mountain biking,” he said. “You’re actually out in the mountains finding new terrain and building your own stuff. You might be the first person riding that line and the last person.”
Even more recently, from Oct. 5-7, Doerfling was invited to the 2012 Red Bull Rampage in Utah — his third trip to the event.
“Every other year I’ve kind of had bad luck with my bike breaking or crashing,” he said. “This is the first year I’ve done well so I’m pretty happy with the outcome.”
Doerfling finished the event in sixth place out of 30 riders — his best result at the competition.
“It’s the only contest I do just because it’s big mountain riding,” he said. “I get pretty pumped up to ride it because that’s what I’m good at.”
In Friday’s qualifying round Doerfling finished second overall advancing him to finals on the weekend.
“Twelve got picked to go to the super finals on Sunday, and then the top 12 get pre-qualified for next year’s event so next year I don’t have to qualify,” he said.
The event was live-streamed online at www.redbullrampage.com. Videos of Doerfling’s rides are still viewable on the site.
Back home in Williams Lake, Doerfling said it’s awesome so much effort is being put into promoting the sport locally.
“I was riding this past weekend with a big crew that came up from Squamish and they were just blown away with the scenery up here,” he said. “It’s crazy how much is getting put into building new trails and how many people ride in general.”
He added a big thanks is in order to Mark Savard at Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed and to the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium for supporting him over the years.
“I started out in elementary school as kind of one of those little punks that hung around Red Shred’s,” he said. “Then Shreddie [Savard] gave me a job down there. I just grew up around there sweeping floors and then eventually wrenching on bikes. I kind of made my way into the industry through the shop.
“He [Savard] was a big help and gave me a lot of good advice.”