Video: Kirt Voreis & His Drone Buddy

Jun 12, 2018
by Kirt Voreis  
Views: 14,139    Faves: 47    Comments: 9


Be active, be creative and happiness can be found! @sports_doug, @pedalfitruss and I filmed this edit about a month ago. I thought up the idea after hearing the song, Feelin Whitney by Post Malone, because it reminded me of negative times dealing with depression in my life. It also reminded me of what helped me overcome those situations: exercise and creativity.

I’ve witnessed depression destroy many people’s lives and even entire communities. The town I grew up in, Fontana, Ca, was a thriving town in the 1970s because of a steel mill, Kaiser Steel. The mill closed and it drastically changed everyone’s life. There were many suicides during that time that sent the youth of these workers into a depression that was fuelled by meth and alcohol. They in turn grew up addicted and depressed, and the cycle continued into their children. I learned early to make positive out of all the negative surrounding me and to make my own happiness because it’s easy to fall into a destructive pattern. I’ve made mistakes dealing with depression but am very thankful for the outlets that gave me better choices! Be active, be creative and happiness can be found. It works for me!


61 Comments

  • + 72
 I want to put googley eyes on everything I own now.
  • + 1
 Someone went through the local Safeway near me and did just that. It is hilarious. Now when I shop for food it all looks at me.
  • + 48
 He’s such a dude! Love all of his work! And yeah, exercise makes EVERYTHING better. Except the day after the day after a hard session. Then you ache, like a bitch. But that pain, is GOOD pain!! :-)
  • + 34
 You have a great project there Kirt. Depression, anxiety, isolation, PTSD, etc are the epidemics of these times. Mountain biking has been a very important part of my life to keep my head above the waters in harsh times. I really got the soul of that video. Thanks!! Salute
  • + 9
 Life is great my friend.
  • + 8
 This does make me wonder though. Here physical activity and creativity are suggested as a way to deal with depression. For me, I'm usually relatively active. When I'm in a situation when I can't be active (injured, too busy or just at a "party" or somewhere trapped where I need to "behave") I do get kind of hyperactive inside and if I don't blow off steam, I do get kind of sad. Luckily my girlfriend realizes this before I do and she sends me off to go for a walk. And at work we're trying to find a way to avoid me burning out when I commit to a huge pile of work. But as I'm riding my bike to work, I do get to blow off steam even on busy days. Thinking of it now though, does that technically imply I'm depressed because "in a regular western society condition of inactivity" I do get sad? That would not be a pretty thought though luckily I rarely find me in that condition. A few weeks ago I did mess up my knee though (playing soccer). Indeed felt pretty useless then, could hardly function at anything. Luckily my physio is a good friend of mine. Equally restless and reckless, she knows me well. I was quickly cleared to get back on the mountainbike and her next goal is to get me back on the BMX too. Can't run, jump or ride the unicycle yet. But just to be able to go out for some kind of blast. I suppose most of us would go mad if we couldn't do that for a while, wouldn't we?

Other than that, it definitely helps to have someone who understands you need to do this. You can go riding knowing you need it and still feel bad because you've got so much unfinished business kicking around. Or you can actually be encouraged/kicked out because everyone knows this is the only way to keep you in check. I suppose this is what this drone-buddy is supposed to be. That friend why encourages you to go out and have a blast. Because that friend knows you and knows what's best.
  • + 35
 @vinay: I find having a great diet helps too. Our brain is fed by our stomach, so put things in there to help recover body and brain!
  • + 3
 @vinay: There is definitely a difference between depression and stress/anxiety. To say that someone who is a little bummed they can't be active or participate in their hobby is depressed is a bit of a stretch.
  • + 8
 @wpplayer18: Is there a difference? clinically, yeah. But really, who cares? Everyone is so caught up in the labels around mental health - probably because there remains such stigma. It's stupid. Countless times I've heard shit like "oh, he's not depressed, he can get out of bed in the morning and get shit done". Just 'cause a person isn't crying under their covers doesn't mean they aren't feeling somewhat unwell mentally. When I have the sniffles people around work generally express condolences. Nobody (except for ultra douches) holds back and says, "oh, it's just allergies, you're not actually sick". Mental health, like physical health (why we draw a distinction is beyond me) ranges widely along a spectrum, labelling, categorizing and the like only leads to stigmatizing and isn't good for anybody.

The point is, we all, or at least most of us, go through periods of poor mental wellness. Some push through it, by burying or managing, others don't. One of my best buds just about when over the edge this year. He desperately struggled to find professional help because he didn't fit into the "classic" definitions of mental sickness. He actually had an MD tell him that if he admits to being suicidal or makes a threat against a member of his family he can get him help asap, otherwise there were limited options for a well-to-do middle aged man who was simply struggling to cope with all the things life threw at him in a short span of time. The flip side being if he did declare either of those feelings he'd be institutionalized and treated somewhat like a criminal. That's f*cked; we really need to open our minds to different perspectives on mental health.

In the meantime, if we know someone who struggles the best thing we can do is encourage them. I've been there, caught up in life and not wanting to go through the mundane steps to go for a ride - yeah, even when its as simple as putting on shoes and spinning down the road - but my buddy is persistent and keeps opening the door. He makes it easy, offers to pick me up, is flexible in his ride times... gives me less excuses. It works, I get out for a ride, and feel a shitload better for days afterward. I dunno who I'd be without my "drone buddy".

So forget the labels, just be a drone buddy. Somebody in your life will thank you for helping them get out for a ride.
  • + 2
 @robwhynot: "He actually had an MD tell him ..."

An MD may be able to prescribe medications to help with certain mental health issues, but they are generally not trained much in this area. There are a lot of good (and not so good), trained, licensed mental health experts who can do a whole lot more to help and may also prescribe medication if necessary. Get recommendations if you can, find someone you can converse well with, and ask them about their background and areas of expertise. But be wary of anyone who is willing to just give you medication up front. There are so many downsides to these pills and so many other things to sort out and uncover first. We are complex people are our problems can be complex too. I don't work in this field, I'm just someone who has been through some of these issues too.

Anxiety is a completely different beast from depression. My MD was willing to throw antidepressants at me, but I later found out that my big issue was really anxiety and I'm using completely different tools to handle that
  • + 2
 @Voreis:

Totally agree! Maybe Tony Bourdain was putting too many weird things in his gut. No disrespect meant, but the food/depression correlation is undeniable. The gut is also the only organ that can operate independently of the central nervous system if I recall correctly. The things that live in there may be our true masters.

BTW Tony was a NYC bike messenger in his teens for a bit.
  • + 4
 @Voreis: Thank you for being so open. I can honestly say without my downhill bike and mountain biking goals I would be drunk 24/7 and probably dead. I thought I was going to see a cool video and get some drone ideas but I sure as hell didn't expect this wave of emotion.

The big bike and what it takes to ride it safely-ish and well keeps the rest of my life centered and focused. Riding the big bike provides an adrenaline rush, an out of control feeling, a healthy risk. It literally physically replaces everything that drink and drugs provide.

Also, I went to Fontana recently, your trails are awesome, a table top and pump track playground that close to the parking lot? Heavenly.

Thank you for all your hard work and thank you again for being so open. You are an inspiration and greatly appreciated influence on my life.
  • + 6
 Thanks for your responses. Not sure whether I was well understood though. See, the thing is, I've always been quite energetic since I got hit by a car at the age of nine. It seems to have been the accident that turned the dreamy me into a jumpy me. But I also automatically gravitated towards what worked for me. I needed to move to feel good. I avoided fast sugars because I knew they would mess with my energy levels (though I didn't realize the importance of essential fats back then). I needed discipline to get things done. So unlike a proper teen I got up at half past five, got a cold shower and ideally crashed in bed before ten. Ideally, though to get my homework finished (I insisted I wanted to finish what I had to do) frequently worked past midnight. And got up at half past five again. Death metal became my friend in a way. It kept me focused, it kept me going. It effectively yelled at me "don't mess around, get that stuff done". And despite the dark imagery people may associate it with, I actually liked that the ones I liked cared about the same stuff I cared about. The environment, animal welfare, the way the "third world" is being treated. The stuff you discover at that age and what's being completely surpassed by popular music which seemed to be all about love, sex, drugs and money. So yeah, that's what helped me function and stay positive and happy. Discipline, metal and physical activity. Though obviously it is going to burn you out at some point. You can pound yourself to keep going until there's really nothing left. And once you're empty, it gets harder to stay as active and that's when sadness kicks in. But because people were already prejudiced about death metal (to be negative) or risky activity (to be some death wish) I definitely didn't want to prove them right. Metal and activity is what kept me going, they were my friends that made me feel good. In my normal state, I am positive, happy and healthy. Put me in the life of a normal western person my age (with the matching food intake and activity level) and I'd go mad and then get real sad. Now sorry, I'm trying to get several points across simultaneously so it is all going to be mixed and for the tl;dr folks, sorry.

First of all, getting hit by that car triggered ADHD. People had been telling me that for years but because it was something people were saying about whoever was a bit more active than standard, I didn't quite want to believe it. Not want to believe it, because I was a bit scared of needing medication. If medication is going to mellow me down, what will be left of me? And how am I going to deal with that if I don't even recognize myself anymore. And well, I had found my ways to make things work for me. Back in the days, a coach said to me once. "When you're doing the dishes, don't think about the race. Because when you do, then when you're racing, your mind will be doing the dishes." It is one thing that helped me massively through a time when multitasking was considered the great quality of the new generation (which everyone wanted to prove they possessed). "Sorry, could you repeat what you just said? I was multitasking." So yeah, this approach got me a long way but at some point it is going to crash. I simply couldn't stay concentrated during long powerpoint presentations with dim light, no matter how much I was firing myself up before and between lectures. It must have appeared like a boxer just before a fight. To then fall asleep twenty minutes into the lecture, no matter how many friends I had collected around me nudging me when they saw it happen. So after these lectures I was pissed at myself that I had to learn everything from the textbook again. Not to mention those three hour exams, no way I could stay concentrated for so long. So yeah, I definitely think I had subconsciously developed ways to come a long way. But it just doesn't get you past those final hurdles when you're studying aerospace engineering. It was when I met my girlfriend who's a pedagogue. She was surprised to find out that I didn't know I had ADHD, because according to her it was quite apparent. And she pointed me at some other symptoms besides the hyperactivity. It turns out people with ADHD indeed study better with intense music like death metal (whereas people without ADHD perform much worse when exposed to these tunes). I quit my study to become a high school math teacher and get my certification in the process. Went well and was quite busy. But I had also been diagnosed and got medication, which didn't turn out to be as scary as I thought it would be. And suddenly I was passing exams. So I finished what was left to do of aerospace engineering (whilst working and having two little girls to care for) and became a teacher in higher education (teaching mechanics, production, materials etc to industrial design engineering students).

So with that kind of long winded context, it brings us back to that depression theme. The article/movie is about, if you're feeling depressed, get some exercise in (with the help of a buddy) and it will make you feel better again. When I'm usually feeling good with my active lifestyle, good food, proper music, cold showers and great company (so basically doing what is going to make one feel better) but feel much worse when that isn't there, does that indicate depression? Not that I want that or that feel I even need to worry about it. But with that ADHD, even though people tell me they're impressed with what I managed to do, I'm kind of pissed I worked so hard and went through so much frustration when there was such an easy solution. So this article just got me thinking, maybe it is good for me to learn this about myself too.

@Voreis Yeah as @endlessblockades already mentioned, it turns out to be the intestines, not the stomach. I read part of an article (in a waiting room until I was called in) that the gut feeling is real. There really are many nerves there which transfer the signals on to the brain, but also react to it which is what we feel. And obviously our food influences everything too. I quickly learned to avoid fast sugars though, being a vegetarian, I much later learned the importance of essential fats and proteins. I think I've got that almost down now too though I'm pretty sure it won't be perfect.

Thanks for making it this far.

TL;DR: Thanks for making it this far too. Basically, the question is whether when I only feel good when I am regularly active, I'm actually constantly fighting some kind of depression.
  • + 6
 @LoganKM1982: The need to be altered is powerful! Stoked you got something that draws you toward positive feelings!! Fontana was my childhood home, can't believe how much it has grown. Donny at Southridge cycling has done an awesome job bringing MTBing to that area! Thanks for response, keep the shred up!!
  • + 2
 @vinay: volunteer
  • + 1
 @vinay: That was a good and very relatable read. Thank you for sharing that.
  • + 1
 @showmethemountains: Absolutely. The fact that an MD was his only walk-in option is one of if not the key underlying problem. Universal healthcare in this country hasn't quite figured out the mental side of health quite yet, and some provinces are further behind than others. Buddy just happens to live in one of the most out of date areas.
  • + 19
 That made me all warm and fuzzy inside. I need a friend like Kirt. And his drone.
  • + 15
 Depression is so hard to keep away as it can come back anytime...Really good message Kirt !
  • + 7
 I once rode with you Kirt. It's was about 10 years ago now. I was at a Western Open race at Kicking Horse bike park. My buddy was the event photographer and you invited me to session the shoot with you.

You didn't know it at the time, but I grew up watching racing and despite being 27 at the time, I was star stuck and feeling like I was living a MTB dream. You pointed out this weird bank on the side of a fire road and started doing drift/brake slides up it. I wasn't sure about the choice, but who was I to argue? We went back and forth and it ended up being a great thing to session and great photos came out of it. Yours ended up a Specialized Ad, mines on my wall at home.

That day is one of my fondest memories of riding,

Thanks
  • + 5
 Thank you for this video @Voreis and everyone's comments sharing their stories. Having just gone through my own rough patches in recent years MTB and DJ have been where I go to forget about life and just feel like I'm living in the moment either by myself or with friends. Our sport connects people and that is what I love the most about it.
  • + 6
 Keep the shred up! Riding is a great way to reset!
  • + 4
 @Kirt Voreis Thanks for saying this. Economic and physical stagnation don't have to hold hands, and the body sparked can waken up all parts of one's life. I hope Fontana (and much of urban, post-industrial America) can re-imagine and rebuild, as its people do.
  • + 4
 Now let us see it from the drone's perspective!

Niner got such an asset getting Kirt a bike. For so long they've been like one of the least "cool" companies out there (doing only 29ers doesnt help, and their most outstanding ones aren't renowned for being naughty). Voreis is exactly what they need to spice it up a bit.
  • + 7
 Some Jim Carrey in there...
  • + 2
 Oh man, just saw the Kidding trailer yesterday. Wow.
  • + 2
 Nice and unexpected! My two pennies- mental stress and anxiety can be quickly relieved with physical stress of some kind (like a bike ride!). Periods of low mood can be reduced by taking regular exercise and trying to engage and share with the people around you that you care about. Full on depression can hit at any time for many reasons and isn't always avoidable. Having a passion for something, a hobby or such like to focus on might help bring you out of a depression sooner. This is my experience at least. I just have to try harder at putting it into practice...
  • + 7
 Aww, Droney!
  • + 2
 Nice Kirt. Depression sucks, and exercise can play a vital role in combating it. I know first hand how bad it can suck so it's actually nice to see people have started giving it more attention, and just generally letting people know it's going to be alright. Just a couple nice words can have a big effect on people going through stuff like that. Joe Rogan too is a big believer of exercise having a direct effect on your mental state.
  • + 5
 Nice little film!! Great!! Bikes probably saved me so can feel the connection there!!
  • + 7
 Kirt Voreis is Awesome!
  • + 4
 gOOgle eyes are the cure! ...fun times making this! Thanks for always making us smile Kirt!
  • + 4
 This is amazing Kirt, VOD for me without a doubt.
  • + 3
 Love this... very nice way to get the message out!
  • + 3
 I'm hoping that's not his actual bedroom
  • + 2
 I kinda wish the drone turned on him at the end for a nice Quentin Tarantino vibe.
  • + 2
 have I been cooking eggs wrong my whole life?
  • + 2
 Yeah Kirt! Always on point!
  • + 2
 I don't think I've had enough coffee yet.
  • + 2
 Anyone know what bike rack he has on his van?
  • + 2
 looks like the thule t2 classic
  • + 2
 Thule
  • + 2
 You rock buddy %
  • + 2
 100% pure awesome Kirt!
  • + 2
 ????????????
  • + 1
 Drone shuttles/rope tows are the future!!!!
  • + 0
 can't drink beer, can't be friend.
  • + 4
 But it can GET you a beer
  • + 11
 my dog cant drink beer either, but he's still my friend yo
  • + 2
 I guess I'll go tell Steve-O that he can't be your friend then.
  • + 1
 @wmelton14: Can't or has no access?
  • - 1
 Oregrown
  • + 0
 Overrated overpriced nice hoodie tho
  • + 1
 Oregrown. Dealers of Oregon's low end weed.
  • + 2
 Overpriced weed store
  • + 0
 Haters gonna hate. Their PAX is awesome. tokyo Starfish the spot to go in Bend though...
  • + 2
 @MikeyMT: ew Tokyo starfish. Vth LMNT is the shit
  • + 11
 I'm homies with most shops in town! I like Oregrown because they do a lot in the community, gives me more reach to promote the bike life. Not just about Cannabis.
  • + 2
 @MtHood-G:

Mids for all
  • + 2
 @MikeyMT: not hating, they really are very expensive. They really did not have anything to do with creating the pax, they were just the 1st retailer. Vth ELMNT and Miracle Greens ftw

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