Pro-rider Alex Stock rolls BMX and rides on and off-road (bikes as well as motorbikes), but has fast become known for his top Enduro placings for Team Kona.
Here he speaks to Sam Bowell, resident mountain biking holidays blogger, and reveals how he prepares, his thoughts on UK bike parks and DH tracks, and what he looks for in a perfect bike set-up.
He's also booked in a return ride-off between the pair on Alpe d'Huez - because the last time Sam and Alex met...
With a new World Series, an ever growing fan base and a glittering competitor list inc. Dan Atherton, Nico Vouilloz, Remy Absalon, Fabien Barel and Justin Leov; 2013 is looking to be a massive year for the enduro scene.
What are your goals for the season?
Last year was hard racing a lot of back to back races with an injury. This year I want to do a little less but faster and stronger for every race. It's a big year so things should get documented more.
How do you prepare to go head-to-head with MTB royalty?
Similar to the training scenes in the Rocky films really, with the same attitude!
As a UK based downhiller I am used to the short course DH tracks which trail centres such as UK Bikepark and the Forest of Dean have in abundance.
Do you think that the number, and variety, of different tracks that these locations offer; which can be ridden in one day and at the same location; has contributed to the surge in interest in the enduro format?
Yeah, it's good, it's on the bikes most people seem to ride these days and at the end of the day on good tracks you've experienced a wide variety of 2 wheeled antics and had a good laugh with your mates.
Many of these centres are beginning to hold their own mini-enduro events alongside the already popular DH races.
Are they going to prove to be valuable tools for young British racers on the world circuit?
They should be a good training ground for most other stage races and the technicality of some of the terrain in Britain is World renowned so that should set people up for overseas.
The World Series is being taken to both legs of Crankworx, and throwing out more new and exciting locations across Europe and North America.
Is there anywhere in particular that you are most anticipating?
I've never been to Canada and everyone raves about it so that should be buzzing. Finale ligure in Italy is always a good showdown so I think everyone would look forward to that.
Are there any other hotspots that you would recommend for 2013?
Morzine, France. And you have to stay at Riders Refuge, otherwise it's not quite Morzine.
After my recent Kona Process test ride, I was extremely impressed with how it performed, whilst remaining a bloody good fun bike to ride.
How confident are you in the latest additions to the Kona AM range, what is it that you look for in your perfect setup, and most importantly: how much fun did you have developing these new sleds?
Long up front and short down the back like an opposite mullet is my ideal setup, for 2013 Kona have gone with this throughout the range, it's satisfying to see small changes having a big effect.
The Process is the culmination of a lot of R & D coupled with modern thinking and the geometry reflects this so as well as being a lot of fun it should be up there at the sharp end of the time sheets.
Kona are renowned for their good humoured and often daft model names i.e. Stinky, Shonky, Dawg and Paddy Wagon to name a few. Given the opportunity what would you name your signature rig?
Motorbike. People would ask where the motor was and you could say it was out of fuel.
I see that you're a big fan of fishing when you aren't out shredding.
Just what is it that lures (ahem) so many adrenaline seekers into wearing galoshes and standing in freezing cold water for hours on end?
I like flyfishing because your always working on improving your presentation to the fish, I'm not a big fan of sitting and waiting but it's the thrill of the chase, the anticipation of catching the impossible and it's pretty satisfying when you knock one on the head and have it for dinner.
Having had a chance to perv over your beautifully sleek Abra Cadabra, I was more than surprised when my burly Operator and I rolled in (fractionally) quicker than yourself.
I think I was 280th in that race but I definitely wasn't last. I was up there but slashed the tyre on a rock at the start of the singletrack then I helped Alex Lupato fix his own puncture and carried on. It was funny racing people with a flat tyre, rear wheel steerings good fun for that length of time and I got quite tuned into it.
It was just a bit noisy in the rocks and slower on the uphills and the off cambers. I wouldn't take a spare tube and pump because if you have to stop to fix a puncture you've lost the race anyway.
Will you be returning to Alpe d'Huez this year to claim revenge?
Yes. I've never had a clean race there so the odds on having a good one have been increasing since 07, I'm sure I can beat 13th with a broken thumb anyway. See you there!