Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Lost phones, funny tattoos, and the time of my life in FRANCE

photo: Chase Davidson / bmxunion.com
As I sit here at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris France after missing my flight home (Im an idiot aha) my mind is shuffling through countless memories from the past week of non-stop high tempo adventure. Starting with me losing my phone on the Paris metro, visiting the Gaston office with my teammates, riding sooo much BMX, eating the best food on Earth and finally boarding the train to the most insane action sports event in the world: the FISE!

Being my third FISE I was somewhat prepared mentally to what I was to experience but even year to year this event smashes any and all expectations. Coming off a poor performance at the Bike Days contest the weekend prior I was determined to step onto the very challenging contest spot and make my mother proud. Hi Mom :) I really don't know how to explain to you what its like on the contest floor at the FISE for an athlete. Even for pro qualifying, the thousands of screaming fans set an electrifying stage that the often crazy wind, whirling dust, and rain cannot stop. These people really love BMX!

I held it together enough to sneak into the final qualifying 12th behind eleven very talented riders, with my Gaston teammates Matthias Dandois and Alex Jumelin qualifying first and second. They are absolute killers on the BMX and the party to celebrate was set in motion. Friday night in Montpellier during the FISE is no joke. With the next day off we celebrated through the night at various clubs and bars around the small but charming town all together in the south of France. Another reason the FISE is my absolute favourite event of the year is that its a true BMX event hosting not just Flatland but other BMX disciplines as well. One of my favourite faces to see is Maxime Charveron both on and off the BMX. For me its not a party without this guy and he's one of the most talented riders on the planet! In general Im very lucky to have so many amazing friends from all over France and the FISE is the perfect setting for us to enjoy our lives together, along with several hundreds of thousands of friendly fans haha! Nursing a massive hangover the next day I joined my very good friend of 3 years Jessica Scauri and we were able to find a crazy tattoo guy for a permeant souvenir :D Finally catching up with the homies Mark Webb and Catfish really complete the FISE experience for me and being in the final on Sunday is a dream I was finally able to achieve.

Even without it being a world circuit event the FISE draws some of the best in the world. With a flawless run in qualifying Matthias was in the number spot and being that we do a one on one battle style elimination final I was set to battle the three time world champion. For me this was an experience I could only have dreamed of and with almost no pressure I performed the best I could making my most difficult trick at the very end of my run first try! Of course I lost the battle against one of the worlds best but am very proud of my riding and haven't stopped smiling since :D It came down to one or two mistakes in the final battle and one of my best friends in the world Alex Jumelin edged out Matthias for the win taking his second FISE victory! Shout out to Alberto Moya for his very impressive third place finish and more importantly we had one last party to celebrate.

The parties at the FISE are almost as intense as the actual event and with clubs/bars staying open all night we set in motion a twelve hour celebration all together moving from party place to party place. Drink after drink after drink we laughed, danced and embraced being alive as if there would be no tomorrow. Im so blessed to have had experiences such as these with some of the best people on the planet, its impossible not to smile and be a genuinely happy soul. I carry these memories with me always. DKSRLIFE !!

photo: Jessica Scauri
photo: Chase Davidson
photo: Eddy Raffin
photo: Maxime Cassagne
Monsieur Gaston
Pizza with Egg!
FISE Souvenir hahaha!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bike Days Switzerland

photo: Michael Steingraber
After several chill days in the city of Love with the homies we loaded up and made the six hour drive to Solothurn Switzerland. Bike Days is a massive bicycle festival and host to round one of the BMX flatland world circuit. With riders coming from all around the globe this would be the first heavy hitting contest of 2015. Its always such a treat to reconnect with friends throughout the year at such events and with the riding level so high its impossible not to take away motivation to push our own riding level higher. With several mistakes during my qualifying run I would not be participating in the final but both Alex and Matthias smashed it setting the stage for one of the highest level contests ever. One of the best aspects of BMX is the support we give to one another and the desire to see everyone ride their very best. Of course its a very competitive sport but there is something to be said for emerging victorious when everyone is on it. Viki Gomez won the final with Moto second and Matthias third but honestly any one of those guys could have walked away the winner and no one would have been bothered. The highlight of the final was Matthias last 'video trick' and for those of you seasoned BMX fans was a first ever cab-5 to manual to 360 perfectly clean! The entire building erupted but this was just outside of his allotted time so he was awarded no additional points giving Viki the win. At some point as a rider you don't care about the contest and want the trick for yourself and to push the progression of BMX flatland higher. Props to Matthias and Alex for always doing this  and motivating all of us to do the same. Another highlight of the contest for me was hanging out and sharing the contest floor with Hiro Morizaki. Hiro is an absolute beast on the bicycle and one of the coolest guys ever. Hiro struggled in qualifying but with tricks no one in the world can touch its just a matter of time before he smashes his way to the top of the podium.

Check the photos and be sure to follow Instagram.com/bowadebmx for additional photos!

Bike Days 2015 is a wrap and back to Paris we go in preparation for the FISE in Montpellier. The FISE is a whole other animal and something I look forward to each and every year. See you in the south of France this weekend!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Arriving in Paris

Its that time of the year again and I couldn't be more psyched! Traveling to Europe is like going home and each time I arrive in France its harder to leave. I flew to Paris to meet up with two of the best humans both on and off the BMX, Alex Jumelin and Matthias Dandois, and to travel for a few weeks around Europe competing in two of the biggest BMX flatland competitions in the world. Also was a very cool surprise to meet and hang out with Corey Martinez, a very talented BMX street rider from the US, who is living for the summer in Paris. This is my third time to France and each time Ive received nothing but kindness and compassion from almost everyone I meet. Without the help from Alex and Matthias these trips for me would not be possible. Merci guys!!

More news from the Switzerland Bike Days trip coming soon ...

-BW :)