Let's be clear about this - supporting the unknown athletes of tomorrow is a big investment - weather that's time (Which in our case is chargeable), direct cash investment or just the mental pressures of figuring it all out .
10-12 years ago, there was a UK magazine that specialised in uncovering the future stars of the sport of mtb and those that perhaps weren't destined for glory but gave their entire being to the humble bicycle. That magazine, in that form, has now gone, and riders are forced to self publish and create their own celebrity status. Some riders love that, others aren't so keen.
Ryan Middleton oozes talent and while I hate the word passion, as it has been hi-jacked too often, Ryan has a wheel barrow full of the stuff.
For us to make a film on any rider without a financial backer is a big ask. We're a tiny company with three staff; Myself, the boss who's dancing a few dances every day; Liam, a fresh faced 21 year old who's rapidly learning and Max, the man who brings knowledge that can only be gained by spending time with the Dalai Lama. That means we have costs which are not insignificant and we have a duty to our staff.
Yet, despite the potential stress this could put on an emerging business we decided to do it. I thought it was a moment of madness many times to be honest but as every knows, myself and the bicycle have a somewhat tumultuous relationship. A classic case of do as I say, not do as I do.
Don't ask me why, but Ryan is just nice and talented. If he'd been talented and not a nice young man I would probably never have agreed to it. To me, being a decent person and talented is the real superstar mix.
So, of we went to Dundee for three days, armed with a kit list of the following:
1 Sony FS7
1 Sony A7sii
1 Inspire Drone
2x Freefly Movi's M5
4 Samyang Cine lenses
2 x Canon Prime lenses
That's a bit of a kit list to be honest, but it's rare that unknown riders get a chance to get a production at this level. Normally it'll be a mate, or a kid at Uni who's keen to experiment and it often doesn't get beyond their peer group.
Well, Ryan has now got beyond his peer group, as he deserves too, mainly because the stuff he can do on a bike is bat-shit RAD.
The other thing about this was that while high level productions polarise opinion in the more hardcore mtb scene, Ryan fully appreciated that we value taking time to produce these films, because it's part of the desire to create amazing films, and it was reflective of his own mantra when it comes to building trails.
So there you go - It might be a shreddit, but it's a shreddit unlike most that you'll find out there.
As a parting shot; Don't come knocking for a free lunch! :)