Starting a new parts brand in 2013 is going to be an uphill battle no matter who you are. When I heard about Merritt the first thing I thought was “they better get one hell of a team”. The truth is that even if your parts are nice and your branding is on point, no brand can succeed unless they have a team that is not only amazing at riding, but also believable; kids aren’t stupid and they can usually smell bullshit a mile away.
Merritt is a new brand but the owners, Mike Brennan and Sean Curran have a ton of experience in BMX both as riders and in the industry. And they must have been thinking the same thing I was because their team is insane. Even though a couple of their heavy hitters weren’t available on this trip (namely Brian Foster and Brad Simms), the am team filled out the roster nicely. A quick rundown:
Mike Brennan: Mike’s a grown ass man with a wife, kids and a new business but that apparently none of those things have done much to slow him down. At every spot we’d go to Mike would be busy filming second angles and dealing with business on the phone, but then just before we were ready to leave the spot he’d fire out some insane rail move to end the session. That’s how the last clip came about as well as a few others. Mike’s back was giving him a lot of problems the whole trip but whenever he found something he wanted to do he would tune the pain out and go for it. It was impressive to say the least. I don’t know if Mike ever expected to end up in a hot tub with 12 guys, but that’s definitely where he ended up by the end of the trip. Maybe the day will someday come that Mike will slow down and leave the bangers to his team, but that day is definitely not here yet.
Justin Care: I always assume that anyone with a Jesus fish tattooed on their body is probably not going to care for me, but Justin was all smiles the whole trip even as he was surrounded by a bunch of beer swilling, pot smoking animals. Justin is a small town boy who keeps quiet most of the time. He said he wasn’t riding up to his usual standards, which is kind of scary because apparently on a bad day he’s still capable of doing pretty much every tailwhip/downside whip/decade grind imaginable.
Peter Sawyer: I’ve never met anyone quite like Pete. Every day he would make me laugh my ass off with the way he would regal waitresses with his English charm. It wasn’t so much that he was flirting with them, he just speaks to pretty much anyone in the service industry as if he’s known them his whole life and immediately starts repeatedly calling them by their first name. Riding wise, he’s just unbelievable. A lot of the techest tricks in this video are things that he pulled first try. And he definitely showed why his nickname is “Bottomless Pete”, he will eat pretty much anything you put in front of him even if it’s a pile of old pizza crusts. Pete is sick.
Charlie Crumlish: I’ve been traveling with Charlie for over a month now so it’s hard for me to think of anything specific to this trip to say about him. And given his strict North Korea-esque policy regarding the discussion of his personal life online, I have even less to say. So here are a few sufficiently vague keywords that describe Charlie’s trip: Mingles Lounge, Hawaiian Sophie, half cab kinked rail, Gandolph, Grimaldo.
Brandon Begin: Prior to this trip, Begin was just “Stevie’s friend” to me. But after spending a week straight with him I think I can finally bump him up to the “my friend” level. Stevie convinced Begin that Charlie and I were going to make fun of him the whole trip but it ended up being him doing the bullying, as evidenced by the water he dumps on my head in Instagram Slam 5. I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do to get revenge but don’t worry, it’ll be good.
Jim Borio: What is Jim Borio? When I met him I thought he was one of those rare black people that somehow has red hair, like Malcom X. It turns out that he isn’t, although I can’t remember exactly what ethnicity he claimed to be. He also has a pretty weird bike set up; 3 pegs, left foot forward, grinds on the right, spins to the left. This makes his riding look pretty much nothing like anyone else’s that you’ve ever seen, but it also enables him to do some tricks that we haven’t seen before. Spoiler: at one point he almost pulled a 180 pegs to half cab downside whip for my iPhone. It also aids him in doing things like that opposite un-luc-e to 360, which I watched him learn from start to finish over the course of a 2 hour ledge session (yes, he had never even done an un-luc-e before and was 360ing out by the end of the session). Jim kept pretty quiet on the trip but as soon as he got on his bike he was on fire so I guess I can excuse him for not having much to say.
The trip was awesome. I got to make a bunch of friends, got to see some insane tricks go down and now we have this unbelievable edit courtesy of Scott McMenamin to remember the good times. I’ve been on a lot of crazy BMX trips before and I can definitely say that this is one of the wildest I’ve ever witnessed, hopefully you guys enjoy it too.