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Iago Garay is coming to evo and Seattle! An accomplished racer who just plain loves to ride, Iago’s known for his playful style both on and off the bike, taking fresh and unique lines that we see as a perfect match: as one of our new ambassadors, Iago shares our love of getting outdoors and sharing our experiences with friends.

Welcome to evo, Iago, we look forward to collaborating on ideas, projects, and trails together!

Welcome to Seattle

Iago Garay hails from Madrid, Spain, and has been riding bikes (rapidly) down hills ever since he saw his first DH bike. He entered the first race he ever attended, and is a veteran of the Megavalanche scene – the mass start downhill race that’s both awe- and nightmare-inspiring. As one half of the Santa Cruz SRAM Enduro team, he currently travels the world racing in Enduro World Series events, somehow looking extremely stylish even at warp speed. A grueling format that stacks a handful of blind downhill race stages over multiple days, Iago’s EWS experience has taken him from Whistler to New Zealand and beyond, giving him insane trail chops that we can only dream of. That he’s chosen Seattle as his next HQ is flattering, both to evo and to our local trailbuilders.

The Santa Cruz Hightower

Iago is currently working on a lockdown-inspired video series, “Not Far From Home,” readying his new van for a stint in the Alps, and enjoying cheeses. We are eagerly anticipating his arrival in Seattle. Iago will take his Hightower on any ride. Playful enough for the fun stuff yet able to handle serious business, it's popular for a reason.

Iago was nice enough to sit down and chat for a bit.
We got his thoughts on evo, racing bikes, and Seattle: 

How are you doing? How's Madrid?
I'm good. I just returned from a big trip in the north of Spain, filming for a couple videos, got some good stuff for the little project I put together, "Not Far From Home." It's just a couple of buddies and me, a photographer and filmer, with support so far from Smith. Hopefully when we get these two episodes out we can get some more brands on board. It's a cool project inspired by the lockdown, check it out!

With all the travel restrictions, when will you make it to Seattle? 
I want to be there right now, but at the same time it's just so difficult with all the stuff going on. In the meantime, I just got a small van that I bought from a friend that I'm going to put all my stuff in and go to the Alps until I know what to do. If I can't make it to Seattle then being in the Alps, going to spots in your van, then that's not so bad either! 

That'll do! There are definitely worse options! 

Okay, bikes: were you always into bikes?
Yeah, for sure. My dad was definitely always into bikes. I didn't begin super stoked on bikes, because it meant XC rides on the weekend. I would enjoy it, but it wasn't something that made me say, "oh I want to ride, I need to ride," until I found out about downhill mountain biking. I was 11 years old. I tried it once and was like, "hell yeah!" It was my favorite parts about mountain biking, all in one: go fast and get as many laps as you can do in one day. Perfect.

Was that local, or were you on a trip? Where did you see these downhill bikes? 
I actually went to an international downhill race. A European cup, so like the highest competition just underneath the World Cups. I entered the first race I saw.

No way! How did you do?
Ahhh, I got second. But I think there were only like three of us, so, maybe it didn't count... 

Haha yeah it got me excited for sure! It was good motivation. I had done maybe two or three ski races but I never had trained or pursued a goal before, but after that I was hooked. After that we were going to races every weekend with my dad, because he was stoked on how I was really into bikes. He fully supported me with everything, it was cool. 

Did you train back then? 
I started training when I was 14. For the first three years I was too young to enter a race, because insurance wouldn't cover me. When I was actually allowed to race, I started training with XC and enduro racing. I was pretty competitive and was fighting for podiums most of the time, so it was very fun. 

Ebike pop quiz: do you have a Heckler? 
Let's just say that I got my dad one, and I will be stealing it. I've never ridden an ebike outside of a parking lot and I'm pretty stoked to try. Can't wait, actually!

Are you meticulous with your setup or do you just grab a bike and ride it?
There are certain things I like to make sure are set each ride. My tire pressures, for example, are 21psi in the front and 24psi in the back. Always.

Is that for every trail? 
Yeah, that's like my base tire setup, that I'll ride in pretty much any terrain. If it's super rocky I'll use a tire insert, mainly in the rear. In Chile I'll put one in the front too. Basically I'll run the same stuff all the time, same pressures. I actually was running a lot of pressure in my tires until two years ago, until I tried tire inserts. Those gave me the confidence to lower my pressures without getting flats, and I discovered it was a huge advantage. Way more grip! When I removed the tire inserts I kept those lower pressures, and I've been stoked ever since. The bike handles better, my hands don't get as tired…I tell everybody, "lower your pressures! It makes such a difference!" I keep the pressures the same, and change tire casings depending on terrain.

How long do you run a tire?
Oh I run them into the ground before I change them. Usually we put fresh tires on for a race, and ride them until the next race. Using the same tires front and rear makes it easier to prep for a race and also to keep stuff out of the trash can. That's important to me.

Are there any characteristics that make your bike stand out in the pits?
I do run a high setup. A long fork, a riser bar, and spacers under my stem. Someone did a show on EWS setups one race and I turned out to have one of the tallest front ends. Especially for steeper tracks, I like to feel like I'm not too far over the front end. I do change this the most, though. I play with the height of the stem, with an extra spacer underneath at a race. For everyday use, I'll stay with the low setting. But yeah, I have a high setup.

And of course my bike will always have DYEDBro frame protection, that's a given!

Of course! Can't wait to see that in the store. Speaking of that, could you say a few words about your affiliation with evo?
When I first walked into the store, I really liked all the aesthetics, the brands, the clothes that were in there. I was like, "damn, this is a really cool store!" That'd be the "evostyle" aspect at the beginning. But as I learned more about evo as a brand, I really came to love how involved evo is with the community. How they give back in so many ways. From trail advocacy to helping kids with fewer resources, it's that sense of community that really speaks to me now.

Love it. Is there anything you know you'll miss with a move to Seattle? 
Probably the food. How cheap it is here, compared to Seattle. 

Fair point. Do you have a jamon supplier lined up here?
No. No, not really.
I just love cheese. I love how many cheeses we have here and how cheap it is here.
So you're saying our cheese is inferior and expensive?
Um, no. I'm not saying that. But for the prices that I pay to buy good cheese here, it's no contest. Like not just soft cheeses… parmesan, manchego, aged cheeses. I like all cheeses, but this will be a thing with. 

What's the main thing you're looking forward to in the Northwest?
Riding those trails again! Just so many spots and trail networks to choose from in such a short driving distance. I'll drive at least 50 minutes to ride a very average place, where in Seattle I can be in Bellingham, or I could be in Darrington, 27, Duthie. I love that the trails there are built for bikes, too. In Spain you're just using existing trails. Motorbike trails, hiking trails, animal trails. It's different. They don't flow as much on their own. It's a different flow, you can find it, and it's fun, but it's a different fun. Seattle is all about going faster and hitting jumps, it's rad!

Where would you rank Seattle's trails in the grand scheme of things?
Top in the world for sure. There's nothing to envy even from Pemberton or Squamish, more established spots. I say give Seattle three more years and it'll be even more amazing. There are so many trails and trail centers being built all the time! 

That's awesome to hear. What other evo sports do you plan on getting into?
Well I ski and snowboard, and skateboard a bit - on the beach! My last time through I got some Blizzard Rustler 11's and I really love them. I've never skied on wide skis really, and I'm really really stoked to ride them again.

One last thing - Megavalanche: what goes through your head when you hear that starting song? Do you know that one? (sirens wail)
Oh yeah I know the one!

Does that song haunt your dreams? Does it make you sweat?
I get goosebumps every time I hear that song! It's scary man, you're on a glacier, knowing nothing's going to go to plan. It's nervewracking. Five seconds after you're off, it all goes away, you're into it and loving it…but the build-up to the race is just terrible. It's just so scary. And every year I'm like, "why am I here again?" Every year I'm so scared and I hate it! And then the moment I'm off the start line I'm like "THIS is why I'm here - I love this stuff!" 

Thanks for your time, Iago. Now get over here so we can all go ride!
Definitely, thanks. I've been considering making the move to the PNW for a while but after a couple of trips to visit my girlfriend I knew I had to make the move! Know that I'll be there as soon as possible! See you soon.