At times, I think the general consensus is that “things come easy” for us riders. The amazing content produced by amazing riders gets devalued, to some extent, to a percentage of the average online viewer. Of course, I can only speak off of personal experience and by no means is this a negative comment towards anyone or any industry. In fact, this comment is not aimed directly at the BMX world alone. I feel that general modern society is very much 'online' and 'technology' based. Everywhere we go, we are plugged into this cyber world instantaneously with the phones connected at our hips, the family computers in the room over, the iPads and laptops that sleep on the night stand next to one’s bed all night, and so on.
A good majority for an average person’s life in this generation is spent on the Internet. Thus, the abundant and infinite power of instantaneous pleasure to anything that strikes a chord of interest with someone will only intrigue them for so long before they want more… and more and more. If you so happen to be an artist for a living (which I personally value every passionate bike rider being) this can put some strain and stress on, said artist, to keep pumping out worthy online content to match the rapid 'instantaneous' pace. When things are clicking, this pace does not seem like a big deal and rarely gets any attention. But when certain elements disrupt this flow, the pace can seem overwhelming. All that being said, I was currently stuck in the 'disrupted flow and overwhelmed' phase. Don’t get me wrong; the Internet is something that I normally brush to the side for the most part. But when you are submerged in surroundings that support an issue long enough, I think unknowingly you will start to give it attention.
With no excuses intended, a busy (yet wanted) travel and riding schedule had left me fatigued physically and mentally. I feel putting ourselves in dangerous situations from day to day goes unnoticed, even by us riders. At any point at any session, a trip to the emergency room is not out of the equation. Subconsciously over time, that principal starts to eat at me. High speeds and 10ft. bowls still make me a little nervous, so I do my best to stay mentally and consciously switched on when I am on my bike to respect this fact. On the other hand, this can also tire my mind out enough to end up doing the opposite and become unfocused. Usually for myself, unfocused fatigue comes with crashes and injuries, and that pair was right on time to nag for the 'Demolition Goes Camping' trip to Colorado and the U.S. Open.
After those events were in the rear view mirror, it was time to move on to a new film project that I have been very motivated to start. And when one of my favorite riders, who happens to be one of my best friends, hit me up for a journey back to Colorado, I reluctantly said yes. Reluctantly for the fact of how beat up physically I felt, and how unfocused I was mentally. But the thought of finally starting this film project in beautiful Colorado, on amazing Colorado cement, and with Matt Cordova as my right hand man helped me push my whining aside.
Matt himself had obligations to take care of in Colorado, so the decision of renting a full size truck to haul his motorcycle was made. Having an iPod hook up and air conditioning passing through the Vegas heat were luxuries in themselves. We left Southern California on a Friday morning shaded by welcomed cloud cover. Unlike the cloud cover, the cold I was feeling coming on was not welcomed. With the voices of Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin reverberating from the speakers, we started our trek to beautiful Colorado.
Passing through the dusty desert of Southern California with nothing to look at aside from the assortment of different sized Joshua trees, we ended up stopping off in the pelting Mesquite, NV heat for a shopping spree of cold medicine and cough drops. Upon getting out of the truck, it literally feels as if you are greeted to someone holding a blow dryer against your face full blast. From there we made the forty-five minute commute through the towering canyons of Arizona and made our way past the mesas, plateaus, and columns organically carved and naturally painted with reds, browns, greens, and golds matching the setting sun. We stopped off to get a luxury suite at the Super 8 in Fruita, CO for the night before finishing out the best portion of the drive in the morning. Waking up with my cold in full effect and hoping the mixture of coffee and ibuprofen would be a worthy remedy, we were off again. Traveling on the I-70 through the Colorado Rockies is in my personal “Top 10 Views List” I have made from all of my travels to date. The way the mountain sides compliment each other, the way the plethora of trees roll with the hills, and the way the interstate bends and weaves right up the middle of the valley meshing itself to the Colorado River is something I can’t get enough of. Little moments of laying my eyes on something truly exotic and epic in a world far from home transported there from the simple reason of riding a bike is something I will never take for granted.
Descending from the Rockies on the I-70 and passing through Denver, we make our way into Longmont, CO. We meet up with Matt’s parents at their local go-to Mexican restaurant for dinner. The Cordovas are beautiful, welcoming people. I can’t thank them enough for taking me into their home and giving me a comfortable place to lay my head for the week. When traveling, it is always comforting to know you have somewhere relaxing to retreat and unwind, to lend that familiar feeling of normality in a place unfamiliar. The Cordova family blessed me with that feeling, and it helped me more than they even know. I am forever grateful for their hospitality.
Riding and filming went together like a boat on land for me. After getting a clip that I was excited about during one of the first sessions, the next few days were simply one big tailspin on my part. Between X-Games, my first trip to Colorado with Demolition, U.S. Open, and now this trip back to Colorado, I have only ridden a handful of times thanks to a heavy slam and nagging injuries doing my best to take short times off in between each to give my body some sort of rest. Again, no excuses intended, but now in this moment, I am feeling that sporadic time off coupled with injuries, fatigue, and a cold while fighting myself to ride at my highest level when my mind and body is at a point of strike against that idea. A few hours into a long high-speed bowl line that I wasn’t coming close to pulling, I have a private meltdown. A night later in Denver, I do the same exact thing. I was at a point where I was so detached from riding that I was in danger of really taking a slam at any point. With graphic thoughts of a good crash, I was completely over it.
Matt and I had been starting our days at the La Vita Bella Coffeehouse on 5th and Main in Longmont. Over black coffee, and him being a good friend, I run over the idea to him about quitting filming all together for the trip and to just finally relax, simply enjoying Colorado. I am not a competitive human being by nature and have always struggled with willing myself to a point of intensity to get a job done under pressure when things are not going right. I am more of a simple man and found that calmly letting things go so they can work out when they are meant to work out instead of forcing them works best for me. And another source of the problem for me was going back to the Internet. Subconsciously, I was trying to run that instantaneous pace when I personally needed a break. The thought of “Well, I’m healthy enough to ride, I might as well be doing something” crept into my head without me even knowing it. I went from constantly having fun on a bike to constantly thinking about what I needed to work on to please my obligations for the eyeballs on the Internet. I caught myself starting to ride more for that reason than riding for myself, and riding for myself has always been my number one rule. I believe when you do something you love for reasons outside of yourself (money, praise, notoriety, ect.), it will be short lived. Basing happiness and self worth off of anything that does not come from within will eventually end up backfiring due to the fact that you will either constantly always desire more externally, or it will disappear all together. Always be happy for no reason from within no matter what is going on outside of you. After this deep code cracking, locating the source of the problem conversation with Matt, our coffee goes cold and we decide to simply chill, have fun, and enjoy what Colorado has to offer.
Matt and I enjoy the nature that this amazing state has to offer and we make the rounds of the towns native to the area of Colorado that we are staying in. These towns also happen to be some of my personal favorites. We spent some time in the amazing town of Boulder, CO. This college town tucked neatly on the base of the foothills is exactly my speed. With old brick buildings, Victorian style homes, and an intelligent younger crowd with a refreshing appreciation for art sprinkles the main walkway. With an outside hobby from BMX being literature for me, I take retreat into a three-story bookstore filled to the gills with history and a weathered interior. We also check out Estes Park, CO with a few friends. Roaming the main street buried in the mountains with the famous Stanley Hotel offering its unique style to the horizon. We cruise into multiple stores checking out the culture and I end up dropping a few bucks on new records and posters of my favorite music artists from the 60’s, adding to the ongoing 60’s rock theme of our trip in progress.
Descending down the mountains after our exploration of Estes Park on one of our last days, it all hits me. I needed to come on this trip and I needed for my objectives not to work out on my bike. Lately, and without even knowing it, the busy schedule and constant motivation to stay producing content has altered my thought process into making fun BMX trips convert into the forms of business trips. I got consumed with the constant flow of external elements that did not match up with why I ride a bike to begin with. I caught myself using my bike as an object to gain something rather than using it as a creative outlet to pour my emotion into. I needed to feel terrible on my bike and I needed to not “get the job done” so this path that I didn’t agree with did not escalate any further. With this trip being to one of my favorite states and making the journey there with such a close friend, these were the perfect pieces to the puzzle for a reality check as well as resetting myself. I feel that the things you love the most you are also going to hate the most at times, because you care and you are connected. I am a bike rider, not a professional athlete, not a professional cyclist, just simply a bike rider because that is what I love to do from the inside. Gaining knowledge about life and always trying to learn about myself is always important to me so I can do my best to be a good human in this world. I feel that traveling is the best tool to accomplish that task. The fact that I am lucky enough that a bike takes me to different parts of this world is something I will forever be grateful for. This is not a job, this is not to have social media followers, this is not to make money, this is for living an organic and happy life for all of the right reasons and whatever happens after that is just a blessing. I am truly thankful for BMX and I’m truly thankful for everyone in it.