Perspective: Inspiration I am certain things vary from person to person, but to me, true inspiration looks something like this.
Inspiration is without a question, the most important feeling in my life. Obviously passion for my sport and desire to continue growing play important roles in my life, but if it weren't for the little things that make me feel inspired, the passion and desire would fade. I feel like inspiring moments create the ambition behind making my every action possible. For me, feeling truly inspired is the moment when I realize that regardless of how much hard work and sacrifice something may take, it will be worth it and I can attain it. Through years of digging deep and finding the things in my life that allow me to feel true inspiration I have managed to accomplish goals I had never imagined I would aspire to and allowed myself to live a lifestyle I used to only dream about.
If you told me when I was younger that someday I would be riding like this, I never would have believed it. But all the time I've spent searching for inspiration has landed me upside down and sideways in Kamloops, B.C.
I honestly feel that when the inspiration hits there are no limits to the feats that I, or anyone else can accomplish. I have grown so fond of the feeling of inspiration and drawn myself so tightly with its importance that I have built a totally inspired life around myself. I figured out at a fairly young age that variety very well may be the spice of life and I have certainly adopted that idea when searching for inspiration. From the trails I ride to the places I play, the music I listen to and the people I ride with, everything is extremely varied. Regardless of which way I turn I can always find something to inspire me. Do you know where to look for the things that inspire you? I don't even have to search anymore, inspiration is all around me and effects me every day.
It's sometimes hard not to feel inspired, when my morning view has a landscape of infinite potential like this.
Nature is of the simplest inspiring features in my life. From each changing season and all the peaceful patches in between, there are so many natural occurrences that inspire me to ride my bike. I love the first day of spring when it's warm enough to drive around with your windows rolled down. A reminder that the best is yet to come and it's never too late to start living. Or the way the wind feels hot on warm summer nights and the golden echo across the horizon that roars just hours before. Positive reinforcements that things are in their prime and so they should be appreciated in the fullest ways we know possible. The first colored leaf that leans against the trail and the impending yellow glow. Coupled with my initial frozen breath of fall, the colors and temperatures create an inspiring push to accomplish all that I can before the season passes by. Through the seasons start to finish inspiring natural events are taking place all around me. I feel it's important to soak them up and let them force me to ride as often and as hard as I can.
Insane moments in nature like this cold, fiery October morning inspire me to get back out there again as soon as I can.
Perhaps the deepest source of inspiration in my life is music. I could be rallying in my truck or just tidying up the bike shop, working on my computer or simply kicking back, there is always amazing music to inspire me. Sometimes I get lost in the riddles and rhymes of Bob Dylan's music. The way his raw, raspy voice generously shares inspirational stories of real life in between the gentle howls of his harmonica. Stories that make me feel content and remind me to relax once in a while, to enjoy a mellow ride and look forward to the leaf littered trails of autumn. In a less nostalgic fashion, 3 Inches of Blood inspires me to go out and kill it. With their colossal riffs and intense shrieking vocals I am whisked away to daydreams of approaching the gnarliest situations with absolute confidence. I can almost imagine myself dropping into Rampage. And then there are simpler, less consequential days when old Blink 182 songs give me that little inspired hit. They were so aggressive about doing things their own way and it really made them stand out from the pack. In my eyes, that is freeriding. Staying true to yourself and doing things your way with heavy disregard for those who criticize. If I could find anything in common with all my favorite music it would simply be that it all inspires me to give a direction to my dreams.
Bob Dylan is my favorite artist in the world. He tells life stories that really hit home and make me want to be out there, creating my own.
Now before I give off the impression that I draw no inspiration from riding itself I should mention some of my favorite riders. There are certain riders who have a little twang in their style that really inspires me to better myself and keep pushing. Like the way Matt Miles uses his left arm to gently pull a massive whip into a table or the delicate cloud of dust exploding from Cam Mccaul's shoes when he nails a super flip. They make me wonder if I could ever develop someday, a natural quirk to my style like that. Something that could make my most prominent moments so aesthetically pleasing. I am also constantly amazed by the confidence of Brandon Semenuk dropping into contest courses relaxed and ready to rock. With the world always watching and expecting another win he delivers nothing but consistency. My recently found friends from the Full Monte Dirt Farm really get me going too. Tedman Parkinson and Ron Penny are pushing the envelope for nobody's benefit but their own. They have the gnarliest lines I've ever seen and they build them for their own vision of shifting people's perspective. The pure dedication to their vision leaves me driving home after every session inspired to drop everything and work harder at riding. And finally, as far riders go, Graham Agassiz is sending a lot of inspiration my way these days. I've been riding with him a lot lately and he has really changed the way I look at things. Graham's unique and nasty style inspires me to hold onto dreams and never let them get away. The inspiration I can breath in from other rider's talents is undeniably the strongest dose I've found.
Watching ridiculously stylish riders like my friend Matt Miles is the most sincere way to put stars in my eyes.
Finally, something that inspires me to keep myself going in the direction I have always traveled is simply the fact that I can inspire others to do the same. Although it may sound conceited, I really feel content in the idea that I may have the ability to force a positive influence on people. It seems as though I have found myself in a position to leave quite an impression. Between riding in videos, appearing in photos and spilling my words out in columns like these, I really have an opportunity to not only be seen and heard, but also be watched and listened to. Knowing all that makes me try even harder to accomplish my goals and turn daydreams into realities. The satisfaction I feel in knowing I did a good job at the things I enjoy most makes me realize that dreams really are attainable and with a lot of hard work and sacrifice, everything can slowly unfold in front of you. When someone says I got them stoked to ride through whatever means of communication reached them, I know that means I gave them some inspiration. And I know that means I am doing the greatest job I can.
When I can make a little ripper like Griffin Carruthers feel this excited, it doesn't matter how sore my back is from the gnarly high speed crash I had the day before, I've got to keep him that excited!
So at the end of crazy days when emotions run wild from the experience of epic adventures and the shifting perspectives of wild sessions, inspiration still weighs in as the heaviest emotion for me. Through understanding the importance of inspiration in my own life, I have managed to position myself with inspiring features and faces all around me. Not only this, I have learned how to take a deep breath and hurtle myself over whatever daunting obstacles come my way. Six broken collar bones, a broken hand that never stops aching, and never being able to find enough time or money. These are all things that stop people dead in their tracks, interrupting their dreams and their desired lifestyles. But when I have so many sources of inspiration so close to me, all those hurtles feel like little brake bumps in the trail. Sure they are annoying, but they sure as hell aren't slowing me down. Maybe that's why I feel so inspired to keep working hard and doing what I do, because I don't ever want to lose this inspirational feeling I have become so comfortable with.
If there ever comes a day when I lose my freedom to fly sideways through the trees, I really don't know what I will do with myself.
If I didn't have all this inspiration around me, I really don't know where I would end up. I would be a head full of creative ideas with little to no aim and I would have given up on myself a long time ago. I hope that everyone who reads this has something to inspire themselves before every ride or before every big obstacle in their lives. And if you don't, I hope that some of the sounds, the people and the places I have talked about will give you a new areas to look for inspiration. But don't limit yourself to topics I have touched. Look all around you and find the things that make you feel inspired, whatever they may be. If you are anything like me, when you find those little nuggets in your life and you feel truly inspired, you will really surprise yourself with what you can do.
Sometimes when I look back I think it's crazy to have ended up where I am right now, coming all the way from this photo. I hope that if you dig a little deeper and find some inspiration maybe you can impress yourself too.
Thanks for reading my column. I'd also like to thank my sponsors and the people who so generously give me support because without all of them, I would never have made it this far.
Cheryl and Taylor at the Bicycle Cafe - Kamloops
And my mom, Deb