The electric color of changing leaves and the crisp morning air settling into the hills of North Carolina reminds us of bon fires, dark beers, and the celebration of comfortable outdoor life before the on-coming winter. Fall queues the time to unpack those beaten cardboard boxes in the corner containing random assortments of flannel and winter riding gear, and take to the trails with a quiver of mountain bikes, warm spirits and good friends.
The seed for church was planted while cozily sitting around a blazing campfire with good friends at Snow Shoe Bike Park. Viewpoints were shared about showcasing the prime riding conditions of North Carolina in October. During the talk, beers were slurped, fire works were exploded, and blurry thoughts filled a 50-gallon drum to the brim with ideas of how to make this video a reality. The date was set and the countdown began.
Brandon Blakely, Zach Heaton, and Evan Voss were the motivators behind Church. Our friendship was forged in college through riding bikes, with a mutual interest for multiple sports and the refined skillset that goes hand in hand with mastery of those disciplines. We have traveled distances together for riding but for this trip Brandon and Evan were the bike men and Zach manned the no-fun-gun (camera). With three days of perfect October weather we attempted to capture our mutual appreciation for Fall in North Carolina.
Why Church? It started as a joke, pulled from some kayaking edit. Over a couple months it turned into something more. I would find myself completely winded at the end of a long climb saying “What a fine Church service this mornin” and it would put a gigantic smile on my face. We are certainly not the pioneers of the term but have managed to redefine it and call “Church” our own. Going to Church is leagues beyond riding your bike. It is an appreciation of life expressed through what you are passionate about. For us, it is goofing off while keeping our minds youthful and fresh while at the same time shredding our local trails to the best of our ability. These elements encompass Church for us.
"Church is different for everyone and for me it involves my best friends, the woods, and being closer to the ones who aren't around anymore. This video is simply about doing what makes you happy for you and not for anyone else....and maybe about shredding some sick trail in WNC too." - Brandon Blakely
"The weather, riding, and company of good friends made this video really fun to be a part of and I can't wait for round two." - Evan Voss
"I'm pretty lucky because my job as a filmmaker has allowed me to shoot in some incredible locations and with some pretty cool subjects, but nothing gets me more stoked than shooting mountain biking with some of my best friends, Evan and Brandon. In addition to both being great riders and good sports about doing a line a couple more times (I'm pretty sure they heard "One last time" on more than one occasion) they are great collaborators which makes creating these videos such a great experience. They were long days that we all squeezed into busy schedules but at the end of them we were all so stoked to be doing what we love and in company of good friends. I am sure this won't be the last time we all go to church together." - Zach Heaton
We would all like to thank Derek DiLuzio for joining the crew during some of the shooting and for taking some awesome photos of the process. Check out his work! http://www.derekdiluzio.comChurch doesn't have to be on Sunday. Your life is at your fingertips. Go play and cherish the f**k out of it!
Words by Evan Voss