Rider Profile – Debora De Napoli
Debora De Napoli is an adventure documentary filmmaker, public speaker, yoga teacher and advocate.
In 2013, Debora embarked on a mountain bike journey across the summits of the Canadian Rockies, with the intent to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer. She documented her journey producing a film entitled Life Cycle Project, which premiered at the Banff International Mountain and Book Festival. It was screened around the world and in 2015 she was named Miss January in the German publication World of MTB.
Debora has inspired large audiences at adventure festivals, including FEATCanada (Fascinating Expedition and Adventure Talks). She is a champion for the inclusion of womxn in sport, and is known for her work in promoting and helping to advance womxn in mountain biking communities.
This past October, as part of the She Summits festival, Debora spearheaded the creation of the Womxn’s Community Ride in North Vancouver, which had over 150 registrants. She has contributed to a wide selection of exciting projects throughout her 20 year career in Canadian Film and Television, including her most recent credit on the widely anticipated documentary film, The Moment, The Birth of Freeride Mountain Biking, directed by Darcy Hennessey Turenne.
Recently, Debora became a Grassroots Ambassador for Juliana Bicycles.
Q – How long have you been a mountain biker?
A – upright? Since 2012. I was late taking to the sport – 40 is the new 20, right?
Q – what do you love about mountain biking?
A– The freedom and flow would be top of my list. It’s a full mind, body, spiritual sport – in my experience.
Mountain biking forces you to be mindful and intentional, you can’t really ‘zone out’ and that’s a good thing. It takes me to places of oneness, and It feels so much like a spiritual practice: in nature, moving my body, connected to breath, my mind is clear. Great things happen.
The community is a very close second. Biking brings people together and we are an insanely rad group of people, world wide, connected to the love of the sport.
I swear one day I’m going to make a mountain bike musical inspired by all the hooting, hollering, and singing (yes, singing! Mostly me) often heard on trails. No joke.
Q – what’s your most memorable biking experience?
A – Every. Single. Time. I can get on my bike is my most memorable biking experience. A few years ago I was in a serious car accident . I sustained a head injury, and also found myself in a very different body; slowed by chronic pain, and new-found mobility issues. When I could, I got on my bike, it was a way of accessing nature and re-learning how to move my body (and experiencing more positive feelings). My recovery has been long with many ups and downs. I’m still in it. I’m still challenged to get out most days, and I also know that when I do go I always find my joy. (Sounds cliche, but it is what it is)
Q – What inspires you in general and/or on the bike?
A– when people are called to do something bigger than themselves – pushing their edges, usually overcoming adversity – This is how the world changes for the better. I get really moved and totally inspired to support and often as a result I myself rising up to personal challenges too.
Q – Tell us about your role at Santa Cruz/Juliana
A – For my role I am involved in various events as ride lead and/or I organize in some capacity, I also attend Juliana’s “Ride Out” when I can, and I participate in community events such as the NSMBA Womxn’s Fiver.
This past October, as part of She Summits, I created and spearheaded the Womxn’s Community Ride in North Vancouver, which we had over 150 registrants for. The Juliana Ambassadors are a group of women who love to share our mountain bike passion with other women in our local community and throughout the world… It’s an incredible program and I’m so honoured to be part of it, and to represent both the Juliana brand, my host shop, Steed Cycles in North Vancouver, and my community.
Juliana is a dedicated brand to supporting women, being inclusive, building community, and being tops in pushing the sport for women. Not to mention – they make really solid, capable and fun bikes. So it’s a win-win [smiley face]
Q – Tell us about your role with She Summits – what is important to you about it?
A – She Summits is a community festival aimed to empower through female-focused adventure films, movement and empowering conversations.
The creator of the festival, Dr. Carla Cupido, reached out to me in July to ask if I had any ideas to contribute to the October festival as it will be predominantly focused on mountain biking. I of course said “hell yeah!”. I thought a large scale multi-generational community ride on Fromme would be fun. Ha!
Events of this scale takes a lot of planning, sponsors and volunteers, so I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to get the community involved and also create something meaningful for those who identify as female (typically the numbers at Fivers or co-ed events have a lower number of female registrants), and it was!
When I saw that we had 150 registered I knew this was what our community really needed. Jaclyn Delacroix, owner of Essential Cycles and a Bell Joyride ambassador came on board to help lead the event from inception, and the event also attracted the likes of pro rider Andreane Lanthier Nadeau, or ALN as we know her, who is ranked 3rd in the world Enduro World Series circuit, to come on board as a ride lead. Women helping women.
Q – What is on the horizon for 2020?
A – There are so many incredible opportunities coming up this year including a few new projects; both creative and in the wellness industry. I teach kundalini yoga and offer workshops on healing trauma, mindfulness and emotion regulation.
Later this spring the release of the documentary film called “Those Among” by a fellow adventurer, and bad ass mountain biker, Casey Sheppard, should drop. It’s a film about women who have faced trauma and how nature and sport has helped them to heal and rise. Inspired by the quote “There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors.” – Adrienne Rich. I am really proud to be among the women that the filmmaker has chosen to be part of her documentary. So look out for that and bring your tissues!
Biking is going to be a big part of the new year with some mountain adventures and my continued partnership with Juliana, Steed and She Summits. And i’m super excited to return to work, post-concussion and injury. Fingers crossed, no more set-backs. (It’s been a really long haul).