As I am sure you are all aware by now, Steed Cycles is officially a Specialized dealer. The Big Red S now calls the shop home. Head on over to the shop and swing your leg over one of the many models that have been squeezed into the already small space.
In other “specialized” news, good friends Dylan Dunkerton, Kyle Norbraten and Curtis Robinson, collectively known as the Coastal Crew have been invited into the Specialized family, for 2012.
I have had the privilege of knowing these guys for years. Seeing them grow up, pouring countless hours and all on their free time into building/filming/editing and spreading the two wheeled love. A lot of hard work has gotten them where they are and with the signing of Specialized Bikes it has added the icing on the cake.
I sat down with them and asked them a few questions regarding work ethic and how it got them where there are today.
With Hollywood stars such as the Kardasian’s or the hotel heiress that tried her luck at reality TV and a music career, the optics of fame are that the rise is swift and relatively easy. The reality is much different. How many years have you guys been riding and at what point did you know that it was something that you wanted to pursue professionally?
Kyle: I have been riding bikes my whole life and loving it every day. My passion for riding grew stronger than ever when I was in high school finding myself at a crossroad when I graduated and had to get a full time real job. I dreamt about riding bikes for a living because riding was all I wanted to do and all I thought about. I felt like I could ride at the level of most up and coming freeriders in the sport at the time, but I just needed the opportunity to get out there and get that big break so I could make a move to pursue riding as a career.
Curtis: I’ve been rockin 26″ wheels for 13 years, and from then on, all team sports went out the window! When I was 14 or 15, I had the dream of riding my bike professionally, riding was the only thing on my mind, and it was all I wanted to do. Even to this day I still get the same feeling that I had from my first ride on a mountain bike; this is something I can’t live without.
Dylan: The 3 of us have been riding together for quite a few years, working together to try to build, film and ride what we think is fun. There was never really a clear decision to take any of this to a professional level it kind of just happened. We just wanted to make an awesome segment, and Bjorn gave us the opportunity. It was our Kranked 8 segment that put us in the spotlight, and at that point we had just bought our own camera, from there we kept our momentum going with the webisodes. Although it seems like an obvious evolution now, when we started our webisodes we had no idea where things would lead.
Having been present on building/photoshoots/filming days (some of the best rungs split for their first movie appearance were split by yours truly) it is hard work, most of which isn’t exactly easy. Describe a day in the life of you gents so the people know the hours that you put in.
Kyle: A typical day in the life depends a lot on what is going on at the time. Here’s what’s going on any given day:
Typical day at home(chill): Wake up, check weather, if its good plan a ride and shred, hang out at the beach and have some good laughs, finish day with emails once its dark.
Typical day while filming(fun work): Wake up, check weather, if its good head out with all the gear, pack gear into the forest, set up shots, session sections of trail we are shooting, get stoked on the shots, watch Dyl start editing.
Typical day trail building(hard work): Wake up, pack lunch, doesn’t matter what weather is doing cuz a bad weather day means dig not ride, head out to the forest with tools, dig all day until it’s too dark to see clearly, head out of the forest and get stoked on the dirt we just moved.
Typical day shooting for a film(high stress): Get up early, check weather, if good then head to location with bikes, gear, food, tools and shoot all day and crush it as hard as we possibly can. Next day repeat cuz every day counts when making a film. Trail building days apply to film making days cuz fresh lines need to be created in different locations.
Curtis: I must admit, we couldn’t have made most of our deadlines without your help Dan, thank you!! Every day is different, but each day has the same goal (productivity). It could be a solid 8+ hour day in the forest digging, raking, splitting cedar, scratching your head, and hiking out at the end of the day feeling like you just left rugby practice. If it’s a day of shooting there are many variables that you encounter, waiting for proper light, hauling gear to a location, setting up shots, tweaking trail, relying on the athlete to have a successful and productive day. Finally riding, this is why we do what we do. All the work we put in building, filming and creating videos is what it takes for us to ride our bike for a living. Always remembering to keep the fun into it and never forget why we ride our bikes, the love.
Dylan: Something that is crucial in any action sport is originality and creativity, and for mountain biking that means new jumps and trails for almost every video. The most exhausting part of our jobs is building. Countless hours are spent scoping, splitting cedar, hacking away at the ground or packing buckets of dirt. But at the same time it is the most rewarding part, you get to be creative and construct something just the way you imagined it, and then ride it.
With lives like rock stars, people come and go, while others crash really hard. Life in the bright lights can be pretty hard. What are some lessons that you guys have learned from your time in the spotlight and what do you do to keep yourselves so grounded?
Kyle: I am in a constant learning experience as I grow as a professional rider. I am in consistent communication with people who operate at a professional level so I am able to learn lots from everyone I work with. To stay successful is important for me to understand the role I play for my sponsors and why I am valuable to them. I know how much I value what my sponsors give to me, so that helps me to stay grounded and understand why I have such an incredible job. I mean, when I take a step back and look at the big picture of what I get to do, I am still blown away and grateful!
Curtis: Nothing is easy, hard work and determination can get you to where you want to be. Staying there is another story, keeping the fun, and having the support behind you makes it a little easier. If it wasn’t for Kyle and Dylan I would be working a dead end job doing something I hate, never take your friends for granted, they will help you when you need it most. My friends are the reason I am where I am today, they help keep the fun, and drive I need to continue the career path I chose. Love my buds!
Dylan: This is mountain biking we are talking about right? We don’t have too many bright lights yet, so don’t make us sound too famous ;). I think the biggest thing I learned was how much of an influence you can be to so many young kids. When I think back to being a kid and getting into riding the biggest thing that influenced me were the pros and the local kids going big. Those young kids thinking MTB is cool is the best thing that can happen. It’s when it all starts. I’m happy that so many age groups can enjoy what we do. We stay grounded by being at home, where we live is the best place on earth. We spend time with family and friends and most of all relax and ride our bikes!
What are your plans for the future and how does being part of the Specialized family help you get there.
Kyle: Our plans are to continue with what we are good at; riding bikes, building trails and filming videos. We know this is what we love so we are going to keep pushing ourselves in creative ways to document all of our actions through the videos we share with everyone. We will continue with fun web videos, collaborative editorial pieces and we will be dropping the gate on another feature film project. Specialized brings us all of the confidence and support we need to make our goals happen. Everyone there is so enthusiastic and eager to lend a hand and that kind of support goes a long way for us. We couldn’t be more stoked to be on Specialized.
Curtis: Now that the ball is rolling, we just want to be able to have the freedom to execute the goals and vision that we have, while capturing it all on film so we can re live all the amazing times we’ve had. Partnering with Specialized is definitely a dream come true, the company itself has all the tools we need to push ourselves and continue our creative endeavors. At the same time, The Specialized Family all share the same goal as the rest of us, they love riding their bike and continue to make the best products in the world so we can all enjoy riding our bikes to the max!
Dylan: We have another film on the horizon, maybe a few web edits in the near future and we will continue to work with Brandon Semenuk on his Red Bull web series. We just want to continue to do cool original stuff. We feel so fortunate to be able to have the backing from Specialized, the entire group of guys are just stoked on what we do. They believe in us and just want us to keep creating cool media.
Kyle: The amount of support from everyone is so huge that it is hard to comprehend. We are stoked to contribute to our sport by doing what we love. We wouldn’t be were we are today without all of the positive support from everyone. Thanks to our fans, our families, our fellow riders and our sponsors. Thanks to Specialized, SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Truvativ, BlackboxLabs, Chromag, Oakley, Easton, Evoc, and Cane Creek.
Curtis: Never enough thanks to all my friends, and family, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am without your support. Without all my sponsors that continue to support my dreams, and goals I would be nothing. It’s true, if you want something bad enough and are willing to put the work in, the sky’s the limit. A simple dream, and 9 years later it is now a reality that I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world. Bikes are my life.
Dylan: Just a big thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years. The MTB community has given us so much positive feedback, and it helps secure our direction in the sport. Of course a big thanks to all our sponsors and fans.
Photos courtesy of Nicolas Teichrob.