/// Name: Antti Rissanen // Age: 19 // Weight: 89kg // Location: Kuopio, Finland // Sponsors: Dartmoor bikes/BestBrakes team, OBG clothing, Kali protection and Continental tyres ///
1) Hi Antti – Let’s start with some basics – Can you tell our readership a little bit about you? Like who you are and what you are about…
Well, I’d describe ‘me’ as being dedicated to the things I love to do. I just finished my high-schooling this May! I’m now waiting for my final results and news on whether or not I’ve been accepted into University. I have never studied that much, although I have participated in many different activities – For example, I like doing pilates, drawing, singing in a youth choir and of course riding my bikes (both BMX and MTB). I’m trying to help boost our local bike scene here in ‘Kuopio’ and improve our facilities to practice, as well as riding with all my friends on the scene. Besides that, I’m always trying to progress on my bike; by continually learning new tricks, or by doing bigger and better moves than before.
2) At what stage did you get into riding bikes? Or more specifically, at what stage did you start hitting it up…
I was 11 years old, when I got my first taste of riding dirt jumps – My neighbours showed me the local trails and we rode them with our 16″ kids bikes. When I turned 12 I got my first BMX from my parents – At that point I really started hitting up the jumps on a regular basis. After a few months I was hitting the biggest jumps we had at our trails! Back in the day this was big! I actually made the mistake of trying to learn too many tricks too fast, rather than focusing on my basic riding techniques – But later on I started getting the basics wired. Looking back, as I diversified into street and skatepark riding my skills became far more dialled.
3) Can you describe your evolution as a bike rider? Like how you have evolved and progressed…
As I said, in my opinion I started learning trick to early – I just wanted to imitate the tricks that I’d seen on youtube and in video games. When I started riding I lacked company of my own age, so I didn’t really progress that much – I was just riding around and having fun! Then dirt jumping became more popular and more riders started to show up, this helped stimulate my learning – There were just so many different riders, this helped motivate me to keep learning different tricks. During this phase, I started to learn more technical riding as well, mainly thanks to the streets! The original group of riders is still there and they can be credited for pushing me to learn so many new things! There came a time a few years ago, where I noticed that my goals were a little different to the other riders – I had a real competitive streak and wanted to ride the contest circuit! So at this point, once again my riding style took a change in direction – I started focusing on crowd pleasing moves, the type of moves that fit in with the contest scene. Nowadays I do lot of imaginary training before learning anything new, for example, with rotation tricks like ‘flairs’ or ‘cash rolls’ I rehearse the trick in my mind, over and over! I’ve also got a little ‘lego bike’ which I rehearse moves with – It helps me get a sense of rotational parameters – It may sound juvenile, but I really believe it’s helped me to make progress and it will continue to do so!
4) Care to tell us a little about your current bike set-up?
My MTB is built on a Dartmoor ‘two6player’ (2012) aluminium frame, with RockShox ‘Argyle RCT’ forks – I’m actually planning to swap over to a ‘Quinnie’ frame soon, because I’m used to riding a cromoly frame and alu just doesn’t feel the same on street or ramp. As for the rest of my bike, I’m completely kitted out with Dartmoor components, like ‘thorn’ cranks, new ‘revolt pro’ rear hub, ‘raider rims’, etc. I also use Continental ‘race king supersonics’ as tires! I’m currently brakeless, but I’ll change this soon. Overall, I love how my bike feels so light, it helps me do technical stuff, but at the same time my bike feels strong and reliable – I’m ready to go big and I don’t have to worry about my equipment. My BMX is built on Dartmoor ‘Nami II’ (size L) frame with ‘Saito II’ fork. I’m also using Dartmoor components, like ‘Thorn’ cranks, ‘Razor’ hubs and ‘Flow’ bars. I like this bike to be very strong, so it can take bigger hits!
5) How exactly did you get involved with Dartmoor Bikes?
A Finnish bikeshop called ‘Best Brakes Team’ was looking for a talented Finnish BMX/MTB riders to join their team during 2010. During 2010 they also started selling Dartmoor bikes and components, naturally they wanted a team to promote it in Finland. They wanted riders to send them their riding videos, along with short written briefings – At that stage I only rode BMX and joined the team as a BMX rider. The following year, I was the only rider there! At this point I had the opportunity to ride a friends MTB, I was into it – So during the 2011 season, I asked dartmoor if they would support me with MTB components! They agreed and history was to be made!
6) Tell our readers about some of the tricks you’ve invented?
I don’t really consider myself to be an inventor as such – I’ve merely adapted tricks from the BMX scene and unleashed them to the MTB population! For example, the ‘Cash Roll’ was a BMX trick; I then became the first MTB rider to drop the bomb! At present, I have a lot of ideas running through my mind about rotational tricks which could work – Again, some of these have been pulled in the BMX scene, but some have yet to be pulled anywhere, by anywhere! But I am going to keep these moves on the “Hush” – I don’t want to raise public expectation in advance – You know what I mean!
7) What are your thoughts on ‘Foam-Pits’? And have you ever relied on them?
I think Foam-Pits are basically a safe and easy way to figure out the big moves! I’ve heard there are attitudes circulating, that training on foam-pits decreases the rider’s credibility – I really don’t get that point of view! I guess it’s all the same when you come to compete; as long as your tricks are dialled in, it does not really matter how you went about learning them! On a personal level, I rarely rely on foam-pits. Here in Finland we have quite a small foam pit, which I tend to visit once a year. I did however learn both backflips and frontflips using the foam-pits. Otherwise I just learn everything on dirt jumps. I think foam-pits will prove vital for my future progress; with some of the tricks I intend to learn, I really don’t know what will happen – It’s good to know that if I slam hard, it will be into foam.
8} Can you tell us a little about your contest history?
This may not sound impressive, but I’ve only participated in one major international competition to date! The event was ‘Simple Session’ (2011) over in Estonia; I entered the BMX contest. I’ve also been a participant in the ‘Summer Sessions’, during 2010 and 2011, which were held in ‘Helsinki’ – The 2010 Summer Sessions went quite well for me,
I finished up being 13th in the finals! I was especially proud of this result as there were a lot of big names in the house! This summer I was planning to do some ‘FMB World Tour’ events, but unfortunately I totally tore my ACL in my right knee! It’s taken me out of competition for the rest of the year, but I have surgery in a few weeks.
9) Do you have any video project in progress?
Yes, when I visited Barcelona (Spain) during March (2012) we started to film a video with ‘Fabian Kluhs’ and ‘Lars Scharl’. The guys visited Finland a few weeks ago and we finished filming it, now it’s just a matter of time before it’s finished and published.
I’m actually quite happy with the footage we have collected – At the time of filming I had already torn my ACL, but I didn’t even know about the injury because no MRI had been taken! Nonetheless, there will be some serious hammers on that edit, regardless of my injury!
10) Are you currently planning any summer trips?
I had made many plans to do many wild summer trips; but no-thanks to my knee injury and the recovery time everything is on hold. However, the future’s bright, I am planning to attend some good training facilities – I may be out, but I’ll be back!
11) Going back to the knee thing – How exactly did that happen?
I was riding with my friends at ‘Savela Skatepark’, based in Helsinki — There is a nice dirt jump line, right next to the skatepark. I was practising some runs; dropping moves like ‘double tail-whips’ – On one attempt I just slipped the pedal, which resulted in my foot getting bashed into the floor. As my foot hit the ground I heard a snapping sound; It felt like all hell had been unleashed! The following day I went to see the doctor, to see if everything was okay. I just wanted to know what was going on, because I had a film session planned with Fabian and Lars a few days later. I needed to know I was cool! My Doctor told me it should be okay, so I started riding again. When we got back to Kuopio I started getting back into the swing of things. I over-rotated a ‘flip-whip’ and my knee just snapped again – This time I was taking no chances! ‘MRI scan’ all the way! Now I’m here… Counting down the minutes until I can go riding again!
12) Since you’re injured, what will you be doing instead?
I’m going to dedicate a lot of time to rehabilitating my knee, through both exercising and physiotherapy. I’m going to buy a road bike to help the healing process… Doc’s recommendation! I’ll also be doing a lot of digging at my local trails, we’re planning some big changes, big lines for next season!
13) Let’s lighten things up a little – Tell us about a really good day?
Sleeping till noon and then grab some coffee and chill out without a rush! Further components of a good day are laid back attitudes and not set plans – I just do whatever I’m feelin! And the best days always involve seeing friends and riding bikes! I just love going full throttle on my bike! Friends make up the opposite side of the spectrum to riding – If you like friend and riding are the ‘Yin and Yang’! And if it’s a ‘really really good day’ there must be good food as well! One last thing: If I get to sleep next to my girlfriend in the evening it’s a bonus!
14) If you had one wish…
I’d have my own ranch and excavator – Here it would be possible to build up my own trails! Using my excavator I would have the creative freedom to change the set-up whenever I like – The world is my oyster! I have a blank canvas to unleash my dreams upon!
15) Any final words, shout-outs, shout-downs, or maybe even boom shakalaka’s?
Big thanks to my sponsors Dartmoor bikes, BestBrakesTeam bikeshop, OBG clothing, Continental tires, Kali protectives and to my supporters RedBull and Magura brakes!!