After the recent Oakley Crossrange meet we figured we should pick the brain of the man behind the glasses and put together a few quick ones for Chas. He was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to shoot us some pretty solid answers for our first interview in some time…click through for the whole deal!
1. For those who don’t know you, when and what got you started down the road on two wheels?
Chas: Hey what’s up my name is Chas, I live in San Francisco CA and try to generally shred life as hard as possible. I have been riding bikes since I was a kid, to and from school, ripping trails on the weekends. I got seriously into cycling in Portland, Oregon around 2004 when I got my first CX bike and started racing locally. It was there that came across bike messengers, racing cyclocross races on their track bikes… literally a slippery slope, and after that I was hooked.
2. You’ve have the chance to be a major part of MASH over the years. What’s it been like working with such a creative group in cycling?
Chas: I feel honored have been a part of MASH for so long, we are collectively a highly motivated group of weird people sharing our STOKE with the world. MASH has not only been a great support network for bike racing, providing access to sponsors and opportunities, it has also become a fantastic support network off the bike as well. When I started TCB Courier Mike (founder of MASH) was always there to offer advice and provide introduction to potential clients, as well as some PMA when times were tough. Now more than ever MASH has become an amazing place to realize ideas into reality, when someone has a good idea we go out and make it happen!
3. Projects like “Reflection” seem to be pushing the envelope and getting people excited these days. Anything in the works you can tease us with?
Chas: So much good stuff is coming down the pipe!!! I won’t share too much because I hate to spoil surprises. But I will say that if it seems like we are quieter in 2017…it’s because we are grinding hard for 2018!
4. Not many get the chance to be supported by a rad company like Oakley. How did something so major come about?
Chas: Working with Oakley has been an amazing opportunity to see the world and share my passion with shredders everywhere. I have always worn Rx glasses, and for the longest time I would use the same pair till they literally fell off my face, duck-tape, paperclips, super glue, and whatever else worked to keep them going for a few more days.
So originally Oakley offered to create some Rx race frames for riders on the MASH team who needed them, this was back in 2010 I think. From there I started to try out prototype Rx frames in real world condition, racing as well as working a messenger, the original relationship was born from trying to create the best products for racers and rippers as possible. Oakley was and is still the best sponsor I have ever had, the ability to see clearly is unappreciated by so many. From there I would say that hard work and being down for whatever rad project Oakley was able to cook up brought me to where I am today.
5: The Crossrange is a pretty exciting release, what role did you play in bringing these bad boys to life? Favorite features?
Chas: I think Oakley made these glasses specifically for me LOL. I had been giving feedback and asking for eyewear that worked well for sports related activities but also didn’t look like sport glasses. I like to remain incognito when working, try not to scream “hey I ride a bike fast!!” with my style. So the crossrange is the answer to my questions, it stays on your face when you are ripping and looks casual when you are chilling. As someone who relies on Rx glasses everyday it is also nice to have large lens, that way i have expanded peripheral vision, a must while, racing through traffic, and chilling at the bar.
6: With help from brands like Oakley, cycling subcultures have become much more mainstream in the past decade. Do you think this shift will continue?
Chas: I think it is inevitable that something as cool as cycling pops into the mainstream, I also think it is super positive as cycling gets people outside doing something! The main reason that i work with Oakley is that they push sports like cycling into the mainstream while keeping things as authentic and true to original form as possible.
7: From touring Africa to King of Track in Korea you certainly put in some travel time. What’s your most memorable trip to a different corner of the Earth?
Chas: My most memorable trip would have to crossing the Darien Gap from Panama to Columbia with Lucas Brunelle and crew in 2016. I spent 3 weeks off the grid traveling by river boat and hiking through some of the craziest rain forests and swamps in Central America. When we made it Bogota we raced in an epic city wide alleycat with hundreds of racers. To go from sleeping in a hammock and riding smuggler trails to dodging buses and splitting lanes was unforgettable.
9: Be it TCB courier, crit races or cyclocross you always have quite a bit on the table. Do you have a favorite part of your bike life or is it about that perfect balance for you?
Chas: I definitely strive to balance everything in life as best as possible, though it is constantly a challenge. Running a business is more work that I ever imagined, however it lets me own my days and dictate my schedule which ATMO is priceless. As I get older maintaining fitness takes more and more time, which is not a bad thing as the payoff is worth the sweat. I think my favorite part is when I waiting to board a flight, bike is already checked in (hopefully free of charge), legs are sore from training but ready to rip, work at TCB has been taken care of, and all I have to look forward to is the next adventure.
10. You’ve been a busy dude that past few years, what’s else is new in the world of Chas?
Chas: Lots of new things in the works! I am really trying to get back to my roots and as artist and print maker. Before I became and bike messenger I operated a screen printing studio in Portland Oregon and I would like to revive that passion. I am part of a group show in Tokyo in the end of March and hopefully that will lead to more shows and opportunities to share my art with more people. So beyond racing more gravel races this year I hopefully foresee a lot of time in my studio doodling and creating more STOKE to share!
A huge thanks to Chas for taking a sec to get down on these!