For those of you who don't know Dave Mirra, he's the guy you might see on the Slim Jim display at your local deli, or the dude in a TV commercial saying hello to his spleen that floats peacefully in a jar. Dave is also one of the world's greatest athletes. He has won more X Games medals than any other athlete in any sport, has introduced numerous tricks to bicycle stunt, pulled the first-ever double back-flip in competition at the 2000 X Games, and has inspired the video game "Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX" by Acclaim. There's also a documentary about him and best bud Ryan Nyquist called Miracle Boy and Nyquist.
To me, Dave is an inspiration not just because of his talent, but because of his undying passion and dedication to doing what he loves. He was riding his bike when BMX was in a recession, carving through snow to find pavement in upstate NY during harsh winters, and if you were to take away the fame and the coin he's made, he'd still be out there riding his bike. His sponsors, income, notoriety... they're all just by-products of his passion. That, my friends, is the American Dream.
My Talk With Dave Mirra
I had the pleasure of catching up with Dave Mirra at Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam. The Huck Jam is an amazing show and I'm proud to see that my "little" sport of BMX has made the big time. I'd guess there were about 15,000 people gathered at the Continental Airlines Arena to see this spectacular comprising bike, skate, and inline vert? and, oh yeah, freestyle MX pros jumping OVER the vert ramps during the session. It didn't hurt either to have Social Distortion playing live next to the ramps.
Although I, and most other "kids," look up to Dave and find inspiration from him, among his peers he receives mixed opinions. Now, I know what I'm about to say will probably offend 70% of the "hardcore" BMX community, but dudes... get over it! When I was in Vegas last year for Transworld's annual Nora Cup Awards, I was pretty disgusted. Winning the Nora Cup used to be like winning an Oscar. Simply, you were the fan's choice for best rider. Man has it gone to hell. Athletes throwing beer bottles at the stage, totally disrespecting the history of past champions and nominees... and to hear boos when Mirra's name was announced as the winner for best vert rider? Are you kidding me? Hey, he's not out there campaigning for popularity... it finds him because he innovated a lot of the stuff that other pros are trying to do today. Period.
What Do You Think About The Negative Reaction You Get From Other Riders?
"They're just a lot of young kids that are jealous. They think they're more hardcore ?" While everyone else was trying hard to look like they didn't care how they looked, Dave showed up in class. "It pisses me off but I dressed up just to piss them off. What are they doing that I haven't already done?"
How Has Injuries Affected Your Riding And Motivation?
As the saying goes within the sport, If you don't fall, then you're not trying hard enough. Dave has had his share of injuries, and recently had some minor knee surgery. "You learn from them. You get stronger and realize you can't be perfect all the time." If you can't be perfect all the time, Dave proves you can be most of the time. He recently constructed a training facility that is more like a wonderland. (Dave, call me! I'd love to session it!)
There are a variety of ramps made of wood, resi, or foam that help him continue to push the envelope. "The vert ramp is foam on one side, resi on the other. It's a dream. I'm having a good time doing what I want to do." He's also set up a scholarship fund in association with Camp Woodward to help other kids live the same dream.
What Do You Do For Off-Bike Training?
Dave knows the importance of off-bike training. It's an amazing thing to see the human body drop from 25 feet in the air to flat bottom and somehow walk away. "I train with weights, play golf, mow the yard, and think about life. I'm very active." Whether he knows it or not, Mirra is the total package possessing power, speed, skill, proprioreception, agility, and balance. Not to mention a soul and passion for the sport.
If you get the chance to watch Dave Mirra ride his bike, whether on TV or live at a show, make it a priority. His artistry will inspire you even if you don't know how to ride a bike. He's a true example of someone who has followed his dreams, even when they weren't popular with most others, and made his dreams come true. Right on.