GMBN Meets Greg Minnaar | What Does It Take To Be An All Time Great?


– [Martyn] This is Greg Minnaar, three times World Champion, three times World Cup Overall Champion, 21 World Cup wins, 78 World Cup podiums. He’s raced against the
best and beaten them all but what does it take
to be one of the greats? (suave hip-hop music) Across the 25 year history of the men’s World Cup Downhill racing, there are a handful of riders whose names stand out above all others. Riders who have dominated
their respective areas. Names such as Nicolas
Vouilloz, Steve Peat, Sam Hill and the latest in this illustrious line, Aaron Gwin. But Minnaar has raced and beaten them all and done so at the height
of their powers across an illustrious 18 year career that spans all of their range. No one has been this consistent
for as long as Greg Minnaar. So what does it take to be one of the greatest of all time? Focus, dedication, obsession. Oakley have invited GMBN out to Greg’s home in
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa to find out more. – I have no idea how I’ve done it or it was never something set out. I never planned to race this long. I’ve just gone with it, I’ve enjoyed it. I find it challenging to do it, trying to compete and trying
to race all these guys. Obviously I’m pretty competitive so when someone comes out with a style or something about them that just thrashing everyone, you kind of wanna try and compete with it and find a way to improve
yourself and Nico had his style. Peaty was a completely
different style to that and so was Sam Hill and now Aaron’s just changed
things up a lot so… Maybe I try and rise to the challenge. There’s not one thing that I can say that will make you be a top 10 rider. But half of it was drilled
into me from my dad. He always, through racing was like, smooth and fast and consistent’s better than breaking down the
wind here and there. From 2003 ’til now, I use
a very similar approach. Still use the same trainer, same warm-up. So, I definitely found
something that works and that hasn’t changed. I just like going back to where it’s quiet and getting out of all the
hustle and bustle of the race and just focusing on
the race and what needs to be done in the race run. You’re never gonna win a race not riding 100% all the way down but I find like for me,
when I’m not comfortable, I ride it, maybe, 95% and when I’m feeling
really comfortable, I ride it 105% and so I kind
of juggle it all the way down. So sometimes in a race run
where I fell like I’ve lost time or have ridden something
like I felt I should’ve, I’ll have to pick it up
then through a section where I’m uncomfortable or not so… You favor processing what’s ahead, time, you kinda take the risk further down or… Racing’s different like that. You focus on what’s ahead. I’m learning a lot about myself right now. Maybe I’m just really
competitive all around and racing’s that one
thing I’m real serious at. And I’m probably quite competitive in life but also quite relaxed in life. And just bumble along as well. How do I keep life fun? By having mountain bikes and
bicycles and brandy (laughs). You gotta switch off to switch on. So no, it is important
to get away from racing and probably, that’s why I
come back to Pietermaritzburg and racing’s nothing, it’s generally, no one gives a damn about
mountain biking here. And maybe that helps. And Karkloof’s one of my
favorite places to ride. Its 20 minutes up the road,
it’s got great trails. Probably some of the
best trails in the world. (slow guitar music) (wind rushing) (water falling) (smooth reggae beat) (bike cycling) (bike crashing) (bike crashing) (bike crashing) (bike cycling) (bike crashing) (bike cycling) When I ride down over here, the trees are are real close together because it’s mainly forestry
so, it’s not as fast or as steep or technical. So, testing for me is just
getting back on the bike, getting back into riding
more European-style tracks and trying new things, trying to get the bike
set up a certain way. Get the feel right. For me it’s all about the feeling. Handlebars, brakes. I don’t know there’s a relationship there between the handlebar and brake. And it takes me a while to get it right and when it’s right I kinda try
and leave it for the season. But it takes me a while to get that right. It is quite confusing ’cause
if your bar rolls forward then it pulls the brakes the other way and then lift your brakes
and you come back and then… Oh, I spend all year doing that (laughs). Ask Marshy. It probably makes a big
difference in your head and that’s probably the
most important thing. What I want is fast. I just want the bike to
be as fast as possible. To get the most traction possible and to feel as comfortable… I find if I’m feeling really comfortable, I can let the bike go a bit more. Yeah, if I’m just riding it, my bike probably set up really bad but as soon as we get a
race in, I try and set it up to be as fast as we can. For me it’s trying to get
that balance is quite tough and then being so tall, my
weight’s either too far back or too far forward so, I run
quite hard suspension as well. And just trying to get
it to hold me up as being what we’ve been aiming to
do the last couple of years. I enjoy the development of product. I think over the years working with the guys at Five Ten Co and Shoes. Done a bit of stuff with Santa Cruz and the V10 29. We also did the tire with Maxxis. That was also super
interesting and getting to draw and design a tire and get a
certain feel outta the tire and it ended up being pretty spot on. I think I’m quite particular about stuff and the feel so I think that’s kind of what they’re looking for
to build better product and they want someone
who’s quite fussy about it. So I think it works quite well. And so it was really cool
that Oakley came to me to do the helmet. I’m not very good at conceptual stuff so to create the first design but I can add to it and
I’ve always enjoyed it. You know they’re asking you for advice and particular direction on certain things so, that’s important to relay
that information across. And why you want it and how
it feels and how the fit is and how the landing zone
works and every, you know… That’s all stuff that we’ve
had loads of experience of using different products
for the last 20-25 years. There was definitely some
points where it was a struggle and it’s like, I really don’t like that, we need to change it. It’s hard for a designer to go well, I think it looks really
good and I’m like from being a mountain biker, I
think looks kind of quirky and I don’t think it’s gonna go well. I think that’s a part of the process. So ya, I think my life
is summed up like that. It’s riding with good product
is probably a priority and the rest of it’s, the rest of life just
bubbles along behind. (upbeat music) (wind whipping) (bike lands) (wind whipping) (bike cycling) (wind whipping) (bike cycling) (wind whipping) (bike cycling) Well, when I ride mountain bikes most of the time now it’s
training, it’s not riding, it’s not riding, it’s
not riding anything fun. And that can be a bit tough. You know and if you can prepare yourself to not have fun training and
to aim towards to race better, I think that will help your consistency, I think you gotta understand
that training’s that important. I just know that I’ve gotta push myself. I know how to prepare for a
race and go through the things that I do to get ready for a race. But I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what it is that makes a top
10 rider from a top 20 rider. – [Martyn] Fast, fun,
focused yet relaxed. And as far as we can tell,
Greg Minnaar has found a cocktail that allows
him to not only compete at the highest level but define it. Thanks for watching and if
you think Greg Minnaar is one of the greatest then let us know in the comments section down below. Hit the Globe to subscribe and if you like this sort of video then give us a thumbs-up like.