The Man Behind the Wheel

Meet Ken Block: Dad, Mountain Biker, Dirt Road Slayer


Sponsored By Photo by Paris Gore

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Y
ou know Ken Block. Whether it’s from his impressive skills as a professional rally driver, from his wildly popular Gymkhana videos, or even from the company he founded, DC Shoes, you know who he is and what he’s most famous for. But the thing is, you don’t know Ken Block. Not really. You don’t know him as a dad, an avid mountain biker, camper, side-by-side master and Hartwall Original Long Drink gin-in-a-can drinker.

Block’s outward facing personality is much different from the one behind the scenes. You’d imagine that a man who drifts around corners at 75+ mph for a living would have the full-on temperament to match. And sometimes he does. But beneath that cool, flat-brim-Monster-hat persona is a loving husband, a father of three, a savvy businessman and a genuinely rad guy. Few people get to see beyond Block’s mirrored shades, to the guy who likes to ride bikes with his kids and hang out with dogs Yuki and Bentley.

To pull back the layers and get that view, you’d have to camp with Block and his family. In between trans-Atlantic flights, World RX races, interviews and photo shoots, Block vacations like he drives his rally cars: at the limit, and fueled with high-test petrol. When he’s not off-grid unwinding beachside with his family in Ibiza, he’s in Moab with a full crew: mechanics, friends, kids, wife, three side-by-sides, a Raptor, a lifted dualie, mini-bikes, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, massive canvas tents, two huskies, an EarthRoamer and every other camp toy and necessity you could imagine. “I’m very lucky that I have a wife and kids that love to get in the outdoors and play,” he says. It’s a spectacle, like something out of Nitro Circus but significantly more reserved and family-friendly. “All my kids snowboard and ski and ride bikes, so we mountain bike in the summer and do a lot of winter activities in the winter. I’m stoked to have a family that likes to be outdoors as much as I do.”

You’d think, with access to every conceivable motorized toy on the planet and given his profession, that Block’s favorite summer pastime would involve gasoline and the throaty growl of an engine. But it’s actually just the opposite. When Block isn’t on the competition circuit, he’s riding one of his three custom-painted Specialized mountain bikes — either in his home of Park City, Utah, or out on the trails of places like Moab with his wife and kids.

But mountain biking isn’t just a pastime for Block. He also uses it as a cross-training tool for when he’s in the car. “I truly think that it’s one of the best things that I can do to prepare me mentally and physically to be in the car and do the best that I can,” he says. It helps with his reflexes and focus, which for Block means the difference between treading the line just perfectly and sliding off the edge of a loading dock into water. Even when asked to keep up with professional mountain biker and Red Bull Rampage vet Kyle Norbraten, Block’s reflexes and athleticism shine through.

With Block, the days in Moab are packed: riding Portal Trail, drifting Can-Ams, shuttling The Whole Enchilada — squeezing every last second out of the day. But when the sun dips below the canyon walls, it’s back to camp to unwind over a Hartwall Original Long Drink in front of the fire, with kids, wife and dogs in tow.

Ken Block’s Unseen Companion

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