It is not very often that you run into a pro rider that likes to write creatively like you do, can you give a little background on where that passion for writing comes from?
I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but I feel like it was sitting dormant inside of me for a long time being so shy as a kid. I kept a lot of things inside for a very long time. Once I started getting stoked on reading at around 19-20 years old, I thought it was cool how each writer told stories and ideas from their own personal experiences. At the time, it was the final years of racing for me and I wasn’t getting the best results. I started realizing that I was traveling to unreal places like France, Australia, and Denmark, but I was always bummed because of my “not riding good” self-pity. So I picked up writing about my travels because it forced me to focus on the world instead of focusing on my own useless self-pity. I wrote about the things I saw, people I met, how I felt in uncomfortable culture shock situations, things like that. I just write about the experiences exactly as I receive through my own eyes. And I still write about all the things I see in my travels today. I have stacks of notebooks in my closet of trips I’ve written about. It will be cool to look back on them later on in my life.
Do you like to write in the moment or do you prefer to say reflect after a trip once you’re on the way home or after you are already home?
It really depends on if I have some quiet time to myself or not. I was private about writing for a long time and never really told anyone I wrote. Usually BMX trips are wide open and there is very little privacy, sometimes never any privacy at all. So it’s hard to fully relax in those environments to actually let myself calm down and write. 85% of the time, I usually get all of my memories and ideas out during my morning coffee at the beach. That’s when the good stuff comes out.
Speaking of home, if anyone knows you on a personal level they know that you are forever down with HB. What is it about Huntington Beach, California that has you stuck?
Oh man, like I touched on at the beginning of the interview, I was born in Fountain Valley (basically one town up from Huntington). My parents and myself moved inland, but the rest of our family stayed here in Orange County. So once I started racing as a kid, I would come down here pretty frequently to ride tracks and see family. Plus all of our family holidays were here in Orange County. Over time coming back and forth, and for some intrinsic reason, I developed a deep attachment to Huntington Beach and made it a goal as a young adult to come back and live here one day for good. Plus, I always had this weird feeling that without a shadow of doubt, I would. Now here I am, living in Huntington Beach and living out each day as I had always dreamed of as a kid. I am very content and love my simple life routine. I am definitely stuck for a very long time here.
Huntington has some serious BMX roots dating to way back when. Sheep Hills has kept the city on the map for decades now and you happen to live close to a BMX legend in his own right who has shredded that place since the beginning. What’s it like not only living in the same city but also riding for the Wildman?
Todd Lyons, man! I’ve looked up to The Wildman since the first time I saw him ride in person at sheep hills. I was a quiet little kid on my race bike with skinny little tires jumping kiddie pack and doing my best to stay out of the way. Now I ride for the guy and could honestly call him a good friend of mine. When it comes to a team manger, he takes incredible care of me. If I’m riding good, riding bad, taking months off for an ACL recovery, getting contest results, not getting contest results, he still always has my back and I have his. Aside from team manager, he’s a great friend of mine. Just the other day he called me over to help him hang some metal sheeting in his garage. We simply hung out, talked BMX, talked life, bolted in the metal sheets, and baby-sat his beautiful new baby daughter. He’s a great guy and I am very thankful for everything he does for me.
Todd has definitely done a good job at steering the ship over there at SE as far as the BMX program goes, but you have also helped out with that over the years right? How has that been going?
The Wildman definitely kills it with everything he does for the company, and it’s a real honor to help give him some free time so he can handle what he needs to handle. If I am in town (or if it’s something I can handle with what I have to work with on the road), whatever Todd needs, I’m there to help him. That goes back to him having my back and me having his. The guy is so incredibly busy all of the time, especially with his new baby daughter and all, the least I can do is help him. It’s a lot of fun hanging out with him in his office as well.
You have had a signature complete with those guys for a few years now, what is it like to have your name behind a bike that kids all over the world get their BMX fix on?
It’s honestly a dream come true to have my name on something that any kid can pick up and have a good time on with a company like SE. I named it the Gaudium because for one, picking a name was incredibly hard and two, its meaning is: joy and happiness. I instantly thought the name looked unique and its meaning is a perfect fit when you relate it back to a bike. I just hope that whatever kid picks it up enjoys it and it gives them what they are looking for in life.
How awesome is it to be teammates on multiple teams with Matt Cordova who is also one of your good friends?
I seriously couldn’t ask for a better situation with things. Matt is one of my best friends in life and has been for a long time. He’s one of my friends that goes beyond BMX, someone I will call if I have a serious life issue, and someone I’ll be hanging with still when our riding lives are long behind us. To be teammates with that kind of friend on multiple companies and traveling the world riding together is something that is a “best-case scenario”. Let the good times roll.