2009 was the most triumphant year in Peat’s career - a year that included welcoming his second child, surpassing Nicolas Vouilloz for the all-time World Cup win record, and winning the world championship title all at an unprecedented 35 years of age.
Vallnord, Andorra, 2009.
“Mountain biking, more specifically downhill racing, molded me into who I am today,” he says. “I didn’t have much before I started racing, and I didn’t have any goals in racing. I just took every day as it was, race after race, enjoying myself. That’s why I think bikes have molded me. I was totally happy to sit back and let bikes do this to me.”
Sheffield, England. Circa 1977.
Steve the youngest of three brothers got his first bike at age two. His dad was a service engineer and a motorcycle trials rider, and that first bike was a hand-me-down from his older bothers. “We used to build jumps and they would send me off first to check them out.” Peat recalls. “Got myself nicknamed ‘the Kamikaze Kid’ because of that.”
Sheffield, England, Circa 1977.
At age 16, he got into cross-country racing with a local club, which led to a sponsorship with Langsett cycles in his hometown of Sheffiled. His gravity skills brought him to the attention of Kona U.K. which led to him winning the 1993 U.K. DH series. From there, faced with the choice of taking to the trades and becoming a plumber or rolling the dice and making a living as a downhill racer, he gambled on the latter...
KAPRUN, AUSTRIA, 1995.
His 16 years of World Cup racing have seen nearly all of his early peers go into retirement while he has retained an almost ageless grace and competitiveness throughout his career. Even in his younger days, which fell smack-dab in throes of mountain biking’s brief flirtation with massive salaries, big-rig race support and purported media glamour — he has always maintained a gentlemanly equanimity.
Big Bear, CA, 1999.
In spite of his win record, regardless of his other accomplishments, in terms of the World Championships, fate has never been kind to Peat. Bouncing back from a disastrous 1999 season that included a broken ankle and a broken arm, he suffered a heartbreaking 0.57-second loss to Myles Rockwell in 2000 that began a back-to-back-to-back string of second place finishes.
Val Di Sole, Italy, 2008.
Peat’s down-home accessibility, combined with his prodigious talent, has elevated him into the rarified atmosphere of mountain bike superstardom, with all the spoils that entails. He is one of the most highly compensated mountain bikers in the world. He has a very nice house, a loving wife and two healthy sons. And he is the winning-est World Cup downhill racer, ever.
Val Di Sole, Italy, 2010.
“A special thanks to my beautiful wife Adele and my sons Jake and George, Mum, Dad and my brothers, Rob and Lepa Roskopp and everyone at Santa Cruz Bicycles and anyone who has ever supported me in anyway whatsoever, way too many to mention, but I raise a glass to each and every one of you!” - Steve Peat