The mountain bike scene is a fairly dynamic one. You have athletes killing it on the event stage, whether it be World Cup DH or slopestyle, these guys/girls are the best of the best. Their competitive nature pushes them to train all year round to fine tune their bodies as best as physically possible. These people are living in a world where 1/10th of a second or one pedal slip, can be the difference between standing on the top of the podium or standing off in the sidelines watching champagne spray. It is high octane/high-intensity sh*t.
On the flip side, you have the riders pursuing a route that is seemingly less competitive, yet takes as much of a mental toll as anything else. Athletes looking to deviate from the contest limelight must make their mark in another way. Typically for these riders, the focus is on content creation. You gotta get the people hyped.
Brendan Howey is a rider that gets people hyped. We all know this dude has style like no other, whether he is smashing a berm or getting steezed out on a jump, the kid turns heads. At face value, when watching his videos everything seems so seamless. It’s like he just woke up, decided to film, got it done, and moved onto another day. It isn’t until you see the back side of the entire process that you can begin to understand how much work goes into a single 2-minute video.
It all starts with the trail, if you don’t have a trail that is up to standards or if you want to film something fresh, you have to get out a build it. Howey had an idea to revamp an old trail, he wanted to add in some big berms, a couple shark fins, and a few new cuts. The build started about a month before the video was shot. Most evenings during the week and each weekend, Howey would embark on solo missions to the trail to get shit done. Anyone who has spent time building trails knows that moving and slapping dirt for hours on end can take its toll on the body. On New Years Day, Howey spent 8 hours shaping a berm which led to tendonitis in his elbow… Not ideal.
Once the build is complete, it's time to get filming, but it is never as easy as one and done. For each clip that makes it into a video, there is likely 4 - 5 throwaway clips of the exact same section. The rider has to drop in, go as hard as possible, make things look as nice as possible, then hike back up and do it all again, and again, and again. Finally, once one small 3-second section is dialed in and everyone is happy, they move onto the next.
The entire process, start to finish is exhausting. It pushes the rider to their limits, both mentally and physically and can seem like it is all for nothing. A lot of the time it is not until the filming is done and the edits are made, that one can really understand the worth of their efforts.
The below photos were taken during the filming of the recent CLASH x RAW video which was produced by Calvin Huth. All photography by Max Barron.
With a huck-to-flat to call it a day.