A local Oly rider who has been tearing it up in Capitol Forest since 1999.  Not only is Damon a great rider but also a great resource to his friends when it comes to
turning wrenches on the bikes.  Damon is a skilled mountain bike rider who combines a broad spectrum of riding styles when on the trail.   He has tested the waters in trail
riding, down hill racing, weekend whistler junkie and urban assault. Nowadays a little preoccupied with two new additions to the family, Damon still finds time to tear it
up via the Meat Wagon in North Shore, BC or in his backyard stomping ground of Capitol Forest.  -dfrnt   

Damon Flemming

Year Born?

City of residence?

How long have you been mountain biking?
Seriously riding mountain bikes since 1998, so about 8 years.

What got you started mountain biking?
When I was a kid my mom was a biker. She had a Fat Chance with Full XT
and a U brake..(circa 1986!). She got me my first MTB in 1988 just before I
started High school. I spent that summer riding central Oregon with her. That
was my first real intro, but after that summer I didn’t do much real MTB,
instead we just skidded our tires down on the mean streets of
Seaside Oregon.  

Where did you start mountain biking?
I've always had a “mountain bike”, but I haven’t always been a mountain biker.
I would say my first real start to mountain biking was when I moved to the
Olympia area for work in 1999. I met my good friend and fellow rider Daniel at
Starbucks one day and started talking bikes. He said I should join him out in
Capitol Forest for a ride. We met and rode Middle Waddell loop one muddy
November morning and I've been hooked ever since.

What, if any other sports do you or have you participated in that have complimented mountain biking for you?  
I also Snowboard when it’s good. Other than that I’m not much of a “sports” guy.

What type or facet of mountain biker would you consider yourself?
I ride XC, but not in spandex. I freeride, but not in Hawaiian button up shirts and jeans (whistler standard issue attire), I ride DH, but I’m slow. I consider myself an all
around rider, with a bit more of a lean to the gravity side of the sport. I can climb, but not very well, so riding up in shuttles and bombing down is what I seem to do the
most of, but I wont pass up on a good trail ride where I might just have to work a little for the decent.

What has attracted you to this facet of mountain biking?
Thrill? Laziness? Short on time?

Do you race, what is that background?
I used to do the Peak to Creek races put on by the old Peak bike shop. Those were so fun and right in our back yard.  I have also raced DH over the past 3 years. This
season I'm taking a break from it. Racing is a lot of fun, but it also requires a lot of time and money. The racing options in our state has declined greatly the past 2 years.  
We used to have 6+ races across the state, now there are only a handful. More racing is happening in Oregon and in Canada so we at least have that.

How long have you been riding in Capitol Forest?
I have been riding in Cap since 99.

Any favorite trails/routes?
That’s like asking what my favorite beer is…..  Cant beat the good old Wedekind or Green Line 6 routes.

As mountain biking gains popularity again and Capitol Forest draws more riders what ways do think mountain bikers can continue to maintain a positive
repoir with other user groups here and DNR land managers in order to preserve and grow mountain biker access here?
I think helping out with trail work is the quickest way to be recognized by the DNR. A few year back we started a bike club for this but it didn’t stay together long. I think
the “Friends of Capitol Forest” are filling in where we left off. Of course having a group dedicated to deal with the red tape of working with a government agency helps

How would you describe the Capitol Forest mountain biking trails and scene?
Capitol Forest is best described as Vast and Varied. You can ride pure single track on the horse side, or rough double track on the moto side. The conditions can be the
best you’ve ever ridden or the worst.

Describe your bike(s) of choice for riding in Capitol Forest.
My Turner 5-spot is my choice for 90% of the riding in cap. It’s a burly aggressive trail bike thats perfect for most of what Cap offers. I do though ride my DH bike on
#30 all the time. Its one of the best DH capable trails in the south end. From well maintained and open fire roads you can make multiple runs on very tough and rough trails.

Any predictions about the future of mountain biking in Capitol Forest?
I see more and more of the wooded trails going away. I can remember so many areas that used to be fully covered that are now clear cuts.  This might also mean some
good old sections of trail get turned into logging road as they did on the Wedekind side. This is the drawback to riding in one of the states largest tree farms.

Advice for Capitol Forest newcomers?      
Carry a current map if you are unfamiliar with the area, or ride with people who know the trails well. Its easy to get lost with many different roads and crossings. Also ride
prepared for climate changes.

What are you some of your favorite other places to ride/race and why?
For the gravity riding my favorite place is Canada, be it the shore in N Van, or the mighty Whistler. Port Angeles has some great DH riding but nothing beats Canada.

For trail riding that’s a harder thing to say. Washington has so many great places to ride. Where else can you ride on an active volcano, to riding in the San Juan Islands, to
high desert riding east of the mountains. I like cap because of the proximity to home, but if I have the time I like to travel.

As the free-riding scene grows what kind of advice would you offer newer “free-ride” riders?
Take it easy and progress naturally. I see lots of people getting hurt in some of the local areas from going beyond their limits too fast. It only takes a second to have long
lasting injuries.

Part of the draw to freeriding are the technical challenges that involve elevated obstacles and jumps. Since most of the land ridden by mountain bikers is
public land, and such trails are unfortunately a liability to public land managers what would do think is a good solution for riders looking for this type of
In Oregon there are multiple examples of riders working with land managers to develop riding spots that embrace the “freeride” movement. Unfortunately for some reason
the Washington scene has not developed this partnership. (maybe because you can be in Canada in 3 hours from here….). There will always be outlaw builders making
their own trails and in turn making land managers angry, but in time I’m sure more and more riders will get together to start working through the proper channels.   

There is no doubt that freeriding has influenced almost all aspects of mountain biking in positive way (better equipment, injection of youth and enthusiasm
etc.) where do you see the future of our sport going and how do you think we can help it continue to grow in positive way?
People like sports with lots of crashing and carnage. I think this is what will keep the “freeride” element of mountain biking in the public eye. No one wants to see video of
someone climbing to the top of a 3000 ft mountain, but they want to see someone pile their face into the dirt off a 50 foot cliff. Freeride events are more and more popular
and this will help influence the new generation of riders who grow up not knowing that there was a time that doing a nose manual backwards down a street (hans ray) was
hardcore. If more US ski resorts open to biking I think we will see the gravity side of MTB keep growing.

Are you a member of IMBA?
Honestly, I have not become a member. I probably should…  Especially now that people can read this…. Haha.

Pre-ride meal?
Usually coffee and some light food. I'm more of an after ride eater. If in Cap you gotta stop at the little rock chevron for a slice of pizza, BBQ burrito and a EXTREME
caffeine latte.  

Pre-ride music?
Whatever is on my mp3 player. Usually something fast and aggressive (heavy metal!)

Shuttle or climb?
Depends on how much time my other half has given me to ride…  Both have their places.

Any family, friends or bike shops you would like to recognize, say hello to or thank?
Big props to Daniel M for being the original riding fool.  
mtb home
Finding a groove on Trail #30                  Photo Steve Schmitt