Like so many of us, Kyle Warner found that bikes were so much more than just bikes, they are an escape in the bad times and a whole lot more in the good times. Growing up in California with a number of trails on his doorstep, Kyle was lucky enough to turn his passion into a career. A skilled rider who started off riding downhill, once a friend introduced him to enduro he was soon hooked. Following his signing with Marin in 2014, Kyle has posted some great results locally and has made a strong impression on the EWS circuit. We caught up with him to find out more about his riding and racing... Who is Kyle Warner?
I am just a simple guy who loves bikes and was lucky to find racing at a crucial time as a teenager. After some really tough years at home and with the help of some great friends, I just decided to chase that passion as hard as I could until it became my livelihood. I have been through a lot of transitions in the past 8 years of my life, but that damn bike has been with me every step of the way. Where are you from and where do you live?
I was born and raised in a little northern California town called Chico. I love it there and I am having a really hard time finding a reason to leave. There are so many cool people in town and the amount of different terrain within two hours of home is hard to beat. Plus the weather is awesome! Who do you ride for?
I currently ride for, Marin bikes, SR Suntour, Fly Racing, Shimano, WTB, Deity components, Garmin, MRP, KS, Smith, Slime, and ONNIT.com. I'm also getting some local support from Synergy Chiropractic, Renew Float Spa, TNT athletic performance and Greenline Cycles to keep me going during the off season! Where are you happiest?
I am happiest when I am with good people that enjoy life. I love being at the races and taking friends out on their first rides. Some of the best memories from the past few years are just talking trash with the boys at Dinner. What’s been your favourite race/contest venue?
My favorite race I have ever done is Megavalanche in 2013. That was by far the gnarliest event I have ever competed in. 400 dudes on a glacier 60mph it was scary haha. How do you feel your season went last year?
To be honest, my season was better than I could have hope for. I competed in 13 races and was able to podium (top 5) at 12 of them. I was also able to defend the NAET title and win my second overall championship in two years. I felt like I was riding really well and being able to have my former teammate, Cody Kelley
to help both of us step up our game. I was really happy to be able to beat Richie Rude in two stages at the Winterpark NAET towards the end of the season and winning two stages at Mammoth National Champs was awesome! I just tried to focus on keeping it fun and take my time with every track. It's really easy to rush through a race weekend and I felt like I was able to deal with that a lot better than in 2014. What are your strengths?
I guess my biggest strengths are race preparation and keeping calm when the clock is on. There are so many amazing riders out there and only a few guys are able to manage a weekend and post a successful result. I think race prep and practice management is the most important part of the weekend and it is really easily overlooked by most racers. What are your weaknesses?
I'm sure I could get a little bit better at everything. I think one thing I really need to work on, is being comfortable on steep wet roots. I'm getting better but we don't have many trails like that around California. What’s been your luckiest escape?
We actually race a lot on trails with massive exposure / drops off the side of the singletrack and I've definitely almost sent it off some cliffs. I've learned to chill until you know where you're going haha. If you can't see the landing just roll by and hit it the next run or stop and session. What bikes are you riding right now?
Right now I split my time pretty evenly between a Marin Mount Vision, Deity Cryptkeeper, and a Marin Cortina cross bike. I love all of them but the Mount Vision is so much fun to play on! Who’s your favourite rider?
Greg Minnaar, smooth and calculated and one of the most consistent guys in the history of the sport. Who or what inspires you?
I'm inspired by the fact that it's possible to impact the lives of younger generations in really positive ways by just being a good dude when you meet them. I remember how much it meant to me when someone I looked up to was cool and I try to keep the kids fired up! What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?
I love riding dirtbikes, other than that I don't know if anything I do isn't bike related. I probably need to work on that haha. What are you listening to right now?
Lots of podcasts recently, Joe Rogan experience or Hardcore history. It's nice to get a long road ride in and learn some cool things on a rainy day. What’s your favourite movie/ TV show?
As far as movies go I am a huge fan of space movies like the Martian, Interstellar, etc. What’s your favourite non-bike website?
Vurbmoto.com or Racerx.com What’s your favourite motto or saying?
Whether you think you can, or cannot, you are right. What grinds your gears?
When I see ungrateful kids getting tons of support and not even caring. There are a lot of great riders out there that just need a break. If you have support from your parents or sponsors please at least appreciate it and tell them thank you. What makes you happy?
Seeing people that might be dealing with a lot of stress at home just get out on a bike and grin ear to ear. There is nothing better than taking a buddy out on a ride when you know they need to shred and forget whats going on. It's crazy how something so simple can transform someone's outlook on life. If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?
If I hadn't gotten the opportunity to become a racer I would probably be going to school working on a degree. I have always wanted to be a science teacher and would love the opportunity to inspire kids to think outside of the box . I think I will stick to this for a while though haha. If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make?
I would love to see mandatory POV footage from the top (5-10) ranked guys in the overall series. Start officials make sure the camera is recording at start of trail and finish line officials help the rider stop recording. After the race riders would turn in the SD card and officials would just watch the winning run of each stage. If they found someone doing something unsportsmanlike they would get a penalty and the next rider would then be reviewed until a clean run is found. This would help ensure people are racing fair and it would give the race promoters a ton of cool POV footage for social media. How many times have you seen a winning run from an enduro race online? When you hang up your racing/riding shoes, how do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as an honest, good dude who helped get some people motivated to find happiness on two wheels. What does the future hold for Kyle Warner?
Long term, I am trying really hard to figure that out right now. I wan't to do something to make a difference and I'm not quite sure how I want to go about that. Helping to get a pump track built in my hometown has been so much more gratifying than any race result I have ever gotten. I think about how cool it is every time I go out there and see people smiling.