One of our PNW riders, Kyle Warner, spent a turn on Vital MTB's podcast Speaking of Mountain Biking. Kyle's story is inspiring and he articulates the importance of having bikes in your life, especially when you are going through hard times as a kid. His thoughts on the industry and his impact as a pro rider makes for a great listen.
Kyle's path to where he is today looks a lot different than some of his pro rider peers. At a point in his teenage years he was living in an abandoned house, and had petitioned for independent study instead of traditional high school so he could work while supporting his mom. He scraped together money and helped at his local bike shop to get his first BMX bike and found a lot of relief at his neighborhood dirt jumps.
It was there that some older kids from Chico State spotted his talent and advocated for him to get on a mountain bike, "they kind of took me under their wing and I started riding with them, just crashing into every tree on the trail but having a good time and every time there was a jump I'd just boost it". While the transition from dirt jumping to trail riding felt natural he does remember a little trepidation on his shuttle up for his first ride on a true mountain bike, "it was raining, kind of muddy, I was so nervous. My buddy let me borrow his old 2002 Norco Rampage, with 24 inch back tires, 26 inch front... I was just s***ing myself trying to figure out what am I going to do here you know?" But that nervousness quickly dissipated into a feeling that this was the right thing for him.
When asked about this first ride, Kyle recalls something we think a lot of people can relate to, "It was literally that [first] day, that I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life... being focused so hard on the trail and the task at hand, you don't have time to think about your problems going on at home. I think that's what drew me to biking the most, is you could focus on something and everything else, all the stress just kind of melts away from home life. I was still at that point dealing with my mom being sick, she was getting better slowly and it was really a transitional period for me."
Get the whole episode here.