Trevor McCutcheon is no stranger to doing cool things on and off the bike. When an athlete comes to us with an idea for a project that's more than a shredit or race coverage, it's tough to not get on board. Trevor's Places We Play initiative combines his love of riding with his appreciation for the areas we're fortunate enough to recreate in. Trevor hopes his efforts motivate others to get out and take care of their local trails.
Stan's NoTubes: Where did the idea for your Places We Play initiative come from?
Trevor McCutcheon: The idea behind Places We Play started a couple of years ago when, after constructing a new trail, I began to find other riders and hikers leaving trash behind. It was frustrating to commit so much time and energy into building a trail - something that deeply connects you with the earth - just to find others vandalizing my work. I knew it wasn’t my trash, but I still felt a responsibility to keep the land litter free. Fast forward a couple of years and the idea has blossomed into a way for everyone to nurture that same responsibility.
For the last few months, I’ve attempted to pick up one piece of litter on every ride. It doesn’t sound monumental, and I certainly forgot a handful of times, but nevertheless I managed to make the slightest difference by removing countless pieces of litter from the valley. Then I thought, What if everyone applied this same philosophy? And thus, the motive for Places We Play was born. This initiative is more than just a group ride. My hope is that Places We Play will serve as a gentle reminder to clean up the places that we play every time we swing a leg over a bike.
SNT: What does your background in cycling look like?
TM: Cycling has always been my subtle escape from reality and my tool of self expression. It started with freestyle BMX when I was in my pre-teens. I would spend hours building dirt jumps at my Southern California home and ride beyond sunset until the lip and landing of each jump blurred together as one. By middle school I had a new fling, mountain biking. What felt like the perfect blend of dirt biking and BMX quickly grew from a casual hobby to something I wanted to pursue professionally. By high school, I was racing a healthy mix of cross country and gravity events throughout the United States competing for spots on nationally recognized teams. After turning pro at 18 and spending two years battling my way through the pack at national XC races, I made the transition to racing enduro full time. This path has led me to a life of unforgettable moments that my younger self could only dream up.
SNT: Why do you feel it's important for the cycling community to be good stewards of the areas we choose to recreate?
TM: I think cyclists have just as much responsibility to pick up litter as anyone else who adventures outside. I created this group ride as a means for bicyclists to pick up trash, but ultimately the theme of Places We Play should stretch beyond riding a bike. I think everyone has an inherent responsibility to clean up the planet, but I am calling on cyclists specifically because we often cover the most ground when we are adventuring. Additionally, we tend to occupy areas with a larger concentration of trash.
SNT: How has the idea been received by friends, fellow racers, and industry contacts?
TM: Everyone I’ve shared the idea with has been stoked to be on board. I wanted to include other professional racers on the ride to help promote it on social media. For the first event, we are lucky enough to have two Trek Factory racers attending and hopefully others. At first, I wasn’t sure it’d be something that would create so much buzz since it’s not directly affiliated with racing, training, media, etc. However, I’ve had people jump at the opportunity to participate which is amazing and hopefully inspiring to others.
As for event sponsors, we’ve got two: Stan’sNoTubes and Commencal. I have a personal affiliation with both of these companies and when they heard about what I was trying to promote, they enthusiastically hopped on board. We are going to conclude the ride with a raffle full of small gifts from the supporting sponsors and local businesses. It is really special to see larger companies support such grassroots initiatives and especially fulfilling to know our relationship can grow as a result.
SNT: What plans do you have to host future events in the future?
TM: At this time, my goal is to bring Places We Play to several venues around the southwest. The first few will likely be in Colorado (maybe Carbondale and Durango), but I am also exploring the idea of hosting in Sedona and Tucson. Ideally, in between traveling for races and media projects, I’d like to host one event a month through October. The southwest is considerably pleasant well into autumn and it’d be awesome to bring Places We Play to several states and venues while the riding season is at large.
SNT: Where should we look for you to be competing this summer?
TM: Admittingly, my schedule for this summer is a bit all over the place at the moment. Just a few weeks ago, I ended up fracturing my tibia which has delayed racing and media projects until July. For that reason, I am shifting focus from Big Mountain Enduro (BME) races to competing for an overall in the Revolution Enduro Series (REV). I will still be at a couple of stops for the BME, but by focusing on the REV series I can travel less and spend more time on media stuff and projects like Places We Play. In September, I am traveling to France to race the final two Enduro World Cups. Even with the pre-season injury, I’ve got a full plate of adventures this year, so I’m absolutely pumped!