Everybody remembers their first experience of meeting a pro, it is one of those, what do I do? situations, at least when your young. Tom was that guy, that was the big pro that happend to be at the park I was at. He is a rider that is well known and has been around the industry for many years and has always been a really great guy. Over the years we have talked and rode and I consider him one of my friends and always look up to him.
Free Agent, UGP, Go211.com, EVS pads, Bell helmets. other support- To Die For, Hammer, Osiris, Thomson seatposts, ODI grips, Kenda tires
About this time of year I can’t imagine you miss Minnesota much?
I always miss Minnesota- it’s still home to me, will always be. But yeah, 5 degrees is a little ridiculous.
Memory test, Do you remember where we first met and the situation?
(if you don’t I will fill it in after your answer)
I want to say the 2002 Street Jam contest in St. Paul at the Excel Center? Didn’t you fix my flat tire for me?(kidding)ha, Actually it was when I was like 13 maybe 12, at G shock (R.I.P), I was falling down the roller roll in and you grabbed me and dragged me up the ramp haha. Don’t ask how I remember that. Was the Excel even around in 02′? where does time go
You recently had some back issues, is that all cleared up now or are you just riding with pain like before?
My L2 and L5 are rotated. It was odd; for 2-3 weeks I was in crippling pain. then over a weekend it dissipated. i’ve been riding daily for a month with no problems. I believe what happened was the chiropractor i saw the day after it went out was too rough with me, inflamed it more. once a year my back will go out, but it’s usually just for a few days.
What did you do with all that down time?
i went back to MN; whenever i’m hurt i just go back to MN and see friends and family. it coincided with Thanksgiving, so that worked out well.
What is the worst injury you have ever had?
broke my tibia, fibula, ankle (4 breaks total) in Sept. 2006. two surgeries, two screws, and 4 months off a bike. Head injuries are always more severe, but usually don’t last long. My leg was the worst in terms of duration; when i lost my taste and smell (serious concussion), that was potentially more permanently harmful, but i could ride in 2 weeks.
You have been pro for a long time, do you think it is harder to be at the pro level now than it was when you originally started?
so much harder. when i turned pro, i was 1 of 3 guys in the pro class who could do 3 whips. now it’s a fairly basic trick.
How are things going with Free Agent and your other sponsors? Any new signature projects coming anytime soon?
things with Free Agent are great- best sponsor i’ve ever had. Snafu and i just parted ways after a 4 year stint.
Free Agent isn’t much interested in doing signature parts after Rick Thorne’s departure, but i do have some say in most things they are designing.
You are a very dialed rider, I noticed when you do tricks on a spine or other ramp, you do the trick two times, there and then on the way back, do you do the trick twice for a reason or just something you like to do?
i used to only do tricks on one spot of a ramp or on one side. then when i would go to do them somewhere else it was like i was doing it for the first time. so to be comfortable with doing it anywhere, i just do it on each side. now it’s just habit.
What are some of your favorite tricks to do?
lately, it’s been 540 nosepicks cause i’ve actually been able to spin back into a nosepick and not just get 360 and huck the rest of it around. 180 whips are always fun, too.
What is one trick you have always had trouble with or cannot do for the life of you?
540’s. 20 years of riding and still haven’t done a single one.
Your bike always has a few parts that you have been riding for years, what is the story behind that?
i really hate working on my bike. once i get it set up the way i like it, i just want to keep it that way.
Who are some of the people you ride with more on a daily basis, any up and comers you think people should keep their eye out for?
there really isn’t anyone i ride with on a daily basis- just whoever is at the skatepark when i happen to be there. when i’m in MN i’ll ride with Jay Schlie, in Florida with Rob Nolli and Dave Brumlow if they’re in town.
up and comers? there’s this guy named Emmitt in Florida. rides only by himself in his backyard. does 900’s both ways.
You have traveled all over the world, Where are some of your favorite places you have been?
china is always great. Brazil is up there, too. Russia was very interesting, but not necessarily in the best way. I’ve been all over Europe and it has its charm, but Asia is still my favorite continent to visit, just because it’s so unlike the states in every way.
Where are some places you have yet to go to that you would really like to go?
Iceland, Greenland and Alaska are on the top of my list. If anyone reading this is from any of those places, i want to do a demo where you live
How did 07′ go for you contest wise?
not so well; was hurt during a lot of events. the only podium spot i made was in Shanghai, China. 7th at the Soul Bowl, 6th at the Mexico X-Games.
What contests do you plan to be at so far for 08′?
Dew Tour, LG events, pretty much anything i get invited to i’ll show up at.
You have been in the x games pretty much the majority of its time it has been around, how do you feel about it now days compared to when it first started?
the x-games are one of the biggest reasons why most pro bike riders make any money; the interest the x-games had in Bmx in the mid to late 90’s brought Bmx into the spotlight, brought outside money into the sport. with that said, it’s hard to speak harshly about the X-games, because it has done a lot for Bmx. but in 2008 it’s really not a fair representation of what Bmx really is. when it comes down to it, it’s a TV show first and foremost.
Who were your biggest riding influences when you first became pro?
in 1998 when i turned pro, Mirra, Nolli, Miron, Osato, Nyquist, DMC and Taj were the top pros i admired- and still are.
Who do you look at now for inspiration?
Jay Schlie- that guy has more fun on a Bmx bike than anyone i have ever known!
Outside of riding who or what are your biggest influences?
Family and friends, first and foremost.
What are some of the things you like to do outside of riding bike?
jogging, fitness, nutrition, record shopping, ping pong.
Music seems to be a pretty big deal to you, What are some of your all time favorite artists?
The Smiths will probably always be the most important band ever, in my eyes. The Hated, Moss Icon, Born Against, Unbroken, Rites Of Spring and Jawbreaker are up there, too.
What are some bands you suggest people check out that nobody has ever heard of?
Broadway Calls (if you like pop), The Weakerthans (if you like folk), 500 Miles To Memphis (if you like country), Dear Tonight (if you like rock), Olympia (if you like hardcore), Joe Henry (if you like blues).
Do you still do the music articles for Ride BMX?
i’m always willing to, but they haven’t asked for anything in a long, long time now.
You ride listening to music, I know a lot of kids said they thought you were mean because you didn’t respond, care to clarify incase some people don’t get how you might not hear them? haha
if you want to talk to me when i’m riding, you’ll have to speak up- Morrissey has a commanding voice that takes most of my attention!
Speaking of that, your about the only person I know that rocks the cd player still, Are you still using that or have you upgraded or plan on upgrading to MP3 anytime soon?
my athelete giftbag at the X-games last year contained an Ipod shuffle- perfect. i’ve actually never used a CD player when riding. before my Ipod shuffle i was using a CASSETTE player. yeah, you read that right. I could have swore you were at least up to the cd player last time I saw you haha.
What do you think you would be doing now days if you never started riding BMX?
wow, it’s hard to imagine. Bmx has been the biggest part of my life for 21 years now. i don’t know what i would be doing, but i know it wouldn’t be conventional.
How does a typical day go for you?
up at 8-ish. breakfast with CNN, 3 mile jog, 2 hour workout. answer emails, run errands in early afternoon. at Mesh or Merritt Island by 3 and ride till 6 or so. Go to Vans right after and ride vert for an hour or two. home around 9, answer more emails, dinner with Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin, bed by midnight.
What are some of your favorite riding/non riding movies?
Riding movies- RAD, Headfirst, and Aggroman. Non riding- American History X, Cast Away, The Life Of David Gale.
What are some of your favorite websites?
Freeagentbmx.com, Larrylivermore.com, Go211.com is of course the best site for all Bmx, Skate, action sport oriented individuals!
Do you have any new video parts or anything in the works?
someone needs to tell UGP to do a team video this year…
What kind of advice do you have for kids just getting into BMX?
wearing pads may not be ‘cool’ but 10 years from now you’ll be glad you wore them.
What are some things you would like to accomplish in the next 5 years?
learn 540’s, write that book, take that trip, play that instrument, live that life.
If I remember right you have a degree in education, do you ever see yourself doing that?
i actually left college in my senior year when i signed with GT and went on tour forever. Teaching seemed like the least objectionable job back then. it still does, though it’s hard to imagine going back to college at this point.
Do you think anything should change in BMX?
all the fads and trends seem odd to me, but it keeps things interesting. so really, no, Bmx is fine the way it is- even if comical sometimes.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
all my friends, family and sponsors for their support. and you, Kurt, for the space.
Anything else you would like to add I forgot?
Please don’t make that trip to Starbucks today and instead donate to Stephen Murray’s fund.