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8 Apr 2015

Doing It for The Mid-School

Hard Times and mayhem during the making of the Daily Grind DVD

Intro by Zack Gerber Words by Ryan Howard and the DG Crew Photos by Devon Denham Additional Photos by Troy Merkle & Dennis Bunn

I see a number of BMX videos drop that never seem to really have an overall theme other than the traditional, 'we went on this trip here and filmed this stuff' promotional type video. Marketing wise it's a logical move, but a video like that just seems to be left aside after a one-time watch, and then it collects dust alongside the already conquered Xbox games.

Knowing that everyone from The Daily Grind is in their mid twenties or later (with the exception of Jake Coulson) comes as no surprise what the underlying theme and vibe of this video encompasses. We are from a generation of mid-school BMX riders that grew up being mesmerized by such great videos as Little Devil's 'Criminal Mischief' or FBM's 'All Time Low.' These videos would play on repeat at home, and undoubtedly played a huge role in all of our views on what we see and believe BMX to be.

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Even the filmer Ryan Howard felt the wrath of Eric Mesta’s tattoo machine.

Seven Things: By Ryan Howard

7: Scott Steele's ender was one of his first clips he filmed for the video. First two tries at the trick resulted in a taco' d back wheel and a bunch of liquor consumed that evening. A week later Scott returned a lot more scared and with a new frame he had just built that afternoon which was way different than what he previously rode. After 3 tries, about 10 cigarettes half a bottle of vodka and a road-rashed asshole, Scott rode away from one of the craziest things I've witnessed.

6: A lot of people ride with a little bit of liquid courage in them but Greg Goldberg takes it to a whole new level. One night about two months fresh out of knee surgery he set out to do a pedal rollercoaster. A few forties and a fifth of vodka later left Greg barely able to stand but fully committed to the trick. After one good smash into the ground he rolled away from the trick cool, calm and collected.

5: Devon ate poop.

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4: Zack Gerber is one of the most motivated and determined individuals I've ever meet. Case in point, the weekend we drove a 900 mile round trip for one clip. We all joke around a lot about the possibility of dying doing stuff but on that day Zack legitimately could have died. Factoring in the low hanging power line, narrow take off and landing, the wind, and a motorcycle parked in the run up, it was a tense situation. Stress was so high that Zack had to call his dad and tell him either the next phone call would be a celebration or to meet us at the hospital. We did not go to state college medical on that day.

3: In the beginning Jake Coulson was a 17-year-old polite quiet kid. After our California team trip he cemented his place as a scumbag shithead like the rest of us. After sexually harassing any passing female, being blazed out of his mind at 9am, shitting and pissing anywhere he wants and being wasted on screwdriver in the middle of the day, it's safe to say we corrupted Jake.

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You better believe that these guys are all wrestling fans and you better believe that Jake rode in this DX jersey while we were in California.

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In the beginning Jake Coulson was a 17-year-old polite quiet kid. After our California team trip he cemented his place as a scumbag shithead like the rest of us
- Ryan Howard

2: Upon landing in San Francisco we all learned that Eric Mesta was a semi-amateur tattoo artist. It was decided that we all needed hardtimes tattoos to celebrate this time in our lives. Greg was first up. After a few too many alcoholic beverages and marijuanas Eric left Greg with an unintentional "Had Tims" tattoo. It couldn't have been any more perfect.

1: Acting as team manger and handling all the filming I wasn't immune to hard times myself. One evening late into the project while working on footage the external hard drive in which the footage was stored decided it's time had come to an end and it crashed. Around one hundred tapes worth of footage lost. I contemplated burning the box of mini dv tapes and saying fuck it for about a minute before I embarked on the headache of recapturing the lost clips. Working a full time job in addition to filming the boys multiple days a week it took two miserable months in front of the computer before everything was back on track.

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​GREG GOLDBERG - "...they're like fucking jet fuel"

"When we started filming for this DVD I had only been riding for about two months after coming out of a five year hiatus due to a previous ACL tear ,women and booze. I picked everything back up really fast and started doing crazier shit than I've ever been into and before we were halfway done I blew my knee out again and chipped my femur resulting in surgery. I started drinking real heavy during the following six months from boredom and had several run ins with the law because of fireworks in public and other wild shit. We got harassed at a spot one time and I threw a beer can at this church woman and we got swarmed with cars, Gremlin was put in cuffs and I ended up with a littering ticket in Indiana that is never getting paid. Another pretty memorable moment would be me being lit on fire chugging a 40 on my friend Jed's tombstone (RIP). He would be hyped that I did that - he was wild. I've definitely put my all into this video; there were times I didn't know if I was gonna walk away from things and times I couldn't go to work because I was too beat to shit or hungover. Through all the hard times I met a ton of people that I couldn't be more psyched to share them with."

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Greg Goldberg with his 'homeless veteran' outfit in San Francisco.

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Greg clocks in early with this 9am pole jam over the fence into the bank.

"Through the winter and well pretty much whenever we were in Dayton we would end up at this Mexican place called 'Elsas'. They serve these margaritas called "Bad Juans" and limit you to three because they're like fucking jet fuel. Anyway, several times throughout my recovery I would just get wrecked and piss in random places and it ended up in my roommates vent once and another time on my dog. Hell one night Devon and I were getting wrecked with my Canadian girlfriend Melissa and my sister and we went to this abandoned building with fireworks in Melissa's car. After shooting them off for a bit a cop showed up and we had to run and ditch her car there. After we got away we reported her car stolen like only an hour later and got interrogated in my living room. No one's stories matched up but it was amazing and we still somehow got away with it... leaving a burning mattress in the building." - GG

SCOTT STEELE - " a real life game of frogger"

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Scott lives in a town that is riddled with industrial waste so it’s only far to include a photo of him riding it right? Pipe ride to 180 in Dayton, OH

"Filming for Hard Times has been a time I'll never forget: lots of ups and downs from one extreme to another. Between witnessing, and participating in countless punishable crimes, everybody managed to somehow ride their bikes better than they ever have before. We experienced BMX life in the purest, but most fucked up way, I've ever been a part of. Around the beginning, when I first got to know Greg, a few of us took some 'shrooms and went cosmic bowling, with black lights and space alien murals above the pins. I was tripping the hardest I ever probably will, and laughed so hard my stomach hurt for hours. When it came time to leave, the normal lights were on and the dudes working there were rolling all of the bowling balls across the floor to the racks where they keep them. I felt like I was in a real life game of frogger, and I was terrified to walk through to the exit. That night was fun as hell, but definitely weird!

Aside from that, I broke my foot, went through multiple girlfriends, revisited and pulled a wallride that almost killed me years ago, got my first DUI, and had the time of my life with my best friends! Cheers to Hardtimes with the boys." - SS

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Scott and this wallride have some history. In the last DG video Scott attempted it but slid out at the bottom knocking himself out. It was a scary sight but he made sure to go back and settle business. Photo by Troy Merkle.

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Celebratory Forty smash.

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Scott Steele had some of the worst luck out of everyone but sometimes he rolled away victorious. This was on one of his better days when he laced a perfect gap to grind. Photo by Troy Merkle

We experienced BMX life in the purest, but most fucked up way, I've ever been a part of.

- Scott Steele

DAN CONWAY - "I'm the new dude"

"I'm the new dude to the crew, so I haven't put in nearly the time as the rest of the crew for this DVD due to my shoulder surgery in November. Honestly, I didn't even think I was gonna have clips in it but I pushed myself so fucking hard at therapy and it paid off. The doctor cleared me to ride a month earlier than excepted, but said just cruise and get my rhythm back... so I've been filming what I can. I'm actually pretty stoked on the clips I have for this. I'm the type of rider that will usually eat shit on the move I'm trying before I land it, so in a sense I have double the amount of clips I thought I was going to get for this! I plan to keep filming up to the day of the deadline and what I get is what I get. Fuck it." -DC

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Daily Grind new recruit Dan Conway with a gap to ice. Photo by Dennis Bunn.

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"Zack had to call his dad and tell him either the next phone call would be a celebration or to meet us at the hospital."
- Ryan Howard
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This gap to rail didn’t come easy for Gremlin. At the bottom there was a gigantic boulder in the way that took four people to move. It also didn’t help that it was the middle of January and freezing outside. The funny part was after he landed it and rolled away he ran into one of the other boulders...

Gremlin - "being away from home is hard"

"The hardest part about filming for this DVD wasn't the torn MCL, PCL, or even the tickets and arguments with police. The hardest part for me was trying to budget time between riding and being at home with my family. Being out riding and traveling is awesome, but being away from home is hard. You have to sacrifice family time, which is important with a 3 year old, especially when you're already gone at work 50+ hours a week. Then when you skip trips and you see the guys riding dream spots you're kicking your own ass for not going. Then at the end of the project you wonder what else should I have done before this thing was done. I don't know if you can ever be 100% pleased with a project like this. So I just hope everyone enjoys the work we put in." - Gremlin

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The young buck Jake Coulson comes through with a crankarm on an old spot with a new twist. The twist being... the massively bent section of this legendary Ohio State University rail that was caused by a fallen tree.

Jake Coulson - "This is the sickest shit"

"Me and Zack both got covered in fleas one day at this abandon factory in Dayton. We both had to pick the fleas off each other and then we put a bunch of Sunoco stickers all over me so the fleas would stick to them when I would pull them off. It was sick. Every weekend was just like a cellar door tour and just doing shitty stuff with my friends. The San Fran trip was fucking amazing and all we did was ruin the rental van with every bodily function. Most of us all got sick ass garage tattoos from the man Mesta himself. Filming for Hard Times was the most fun experience with the boys. Watching everybody push themselves for this video and just hanging out with friends every weekend is the sickest shit." - JC

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Zack is on another level, Gap to wallride in Wheeling, WV. Photo by Troy Merkle

Knowing that almost everyone from The Daily Grind is in their mid-twenties or later it comes as no surprise what the underlying theme and vibe of this video encompasses.

- Zack Gerber

TROY MERKLE - "I rode as hard as I could"

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What do people in California do if you door their car? They shrug it off and have a smoke with you. Here’s a photo of Troy making new friends by door checking cars.

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While in San Francisco the crew managed to make their way out to Treasure Island a few times. Troy made use of this hip at an abandoned silo with a quick mid-day tailwhip.

"I knew from the first night we decided to film another DVD on the drunken car ride home from Cincinnati that this one was gonna be epic. For the past year and a half these guys have been putting everything they have into this project. I am real proud of everyone and their total commitment to the cause. We've put in a lot of hours and a lot of miles in a bunch of places across the U.S in close quarters and everyone always had each other's backs motivating each other to do they're best or worst. I'm honored to be a part of the video and rode as hard as I could to keep up with these guys. Filming for this has been an amazing time in my life that I will never forget. Mostly because of my garage tattoo and dislocating my finger a few weeks ago. I feel Hard Times will be an instant classic in the BMX world whether you love it or hate it." - TM

Eric Mesta - "I lost my job due to the injuries"

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Eric Mesta getting down in the party van.

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Tight tranny wall barspin in Oakland, CA

"Whilst having a full time job, finding time to ride is always a bit of a challenge. I've also had to deal with two concussions, two dislocated fingers, and split my head open all while having no insurance during this video. Unfortunately, I lost my job due to the injuries. I've also been riding with a fractured finger for the last 3 months, so time's are rough as of latel" - EM

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They had to alter this spot for Devon to ride it before he could grind it. The first section of the rail was broken before the upright of the rail meaning you would have to gap to the rest of the rail to grind it. Greg and Devon put the muscle into the top portion of the rail and it snapped off.

Devon Denham - "this is the hardest time of my life"

"I've been around my fair share of BMX teams over the past 16 years that I've been riding. However, I've never seen a group of riders that clicks as well as the DG team. We all have similar lifestyles and no egos are brought to the table. That's why I enjoy making the two hour drive every weekend to ride with these dudes. We all love to break shit, grind rails, and get drunk (aside from Gremlin being straight edge). It's no gimmick that the video is called "Hardtimes" we are have gone through them or we are currently going through them. Personally for me, this is the hardest time of my life. I'm struggling to pay my college loans, I lost my 9-5 job, and depression is setting in. One thing takes all of that away and that is working on this video." - DD

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Devon Denham - Garage tattoos with Eric Mesta.

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