In the midst of winter with snow sports content dominating the internet, it's always refreshing to take a glimpse back at the warm summer months. Sam Theurer (Synaptic
) and I teamed up with riders Ronnie Vance and Elliott Banks to shoot for a total of 10 days at Bryce Bike Park throughout the 2020 season. Sam and I became familiar with the bike park in 2013 when Bryce first broke ground on its now extensive downhill trail network. We produced multiple edits, including Fall Finale
in 2014, and have long dreamed of doing a follow-up video. The addition of two new trails at Bryce last March made for a perfect opportunity to take a new approach with different riders and up the creative value.
The two of us have slightly different perspectives when it comes to shooting so we came up with a loose plan and started loading up on footage. After numerous weeks of coordinating shoots we had accumulated a healthy stock of footage. Sam's editing prowess came in handy when we went to review everything we had captured. He was able to reel it all in to produce something that captures the quirky personalities and incredible riding styles of Ronnie and Elliott. That's not to say we didn't encounter any snares in production. From broken bike parts to a malfunctioning cable cam rig the mishaps seemed to be mounting against us at times. Regardless of the setbacks, we all managed to persevere through the heat of the summer, unpredictable storms, and the overarching confusion of 2020. Working with these guys proved to be an ideal escape into the mountains away from the negativity that seemed to be boiling up all around. A breath of "Fresh Air" you could say...Who are the riders?Ronnie Vance
Ronnie is a boisterous character who has been a frequent at Bryce over the years. Most people who ride the bike park know Ronnie on some level whether it's from gawking at him from the lift or attempting to follow his impossibly fast lines. The raw power he brings to mountain biking can easily be explained by his extensive motocross background. From the age of three, Ronnie excelled with a throttle in his grip until a nasty injury sidelined him at 21. He was forced to step away from his motocross racing dreams and used the opportunity to pursue a graphic design degree. Desperate to get back in shape, he resorted to mountain biking. Ironically, it enabled him to rediscover racing as he now does so professionally in the Southeast downhill and enduro circuits. He currently balances racing with a full time job as a Graphic Designer and fatherhood, which forces a hectic lifestyle. Impressively, he continues to progress on his bike and serve as a mentor for up and coming athletes. Elliott Banks
Elliott, a slightly more reserved individual, brings a much different approach to riding. He balances Ronnie's wide open style with impeccable vision and creativity. Elliott's roots are embedded BMX racing from his youth. Through BMX, he developed a level of comfort on the bike that is very evident in his riding today. His thrills aren't derived from racing as much anymore but he is progressing more than ever. Veering away from the pavement has allowed him to discover an endless playground in the forest, an escape from the stressors of life and a mental reset button. He has found the mountain bike to be a more freeing method of enjoying two wheels. The skills he developed as an adolescent have served as an ideal foundation for his transition to mountain biking. When we first started shooting with Elliott, there were many times I lost him out of frame, taken aback by how high he was able to loft himself in the air. And though quiet on the surface, there is a burning fire of determination beneath and it's evident when he attempts something for the first time. It won't be the last until he gets it. Many other riders at the park have picked up on his ability and Elliott has become a source of knowledge and inspiration for the groms at Bryce.
Be on the lookout for more from these two in 2021!