In 2005, Colony BMX pro Ryan Guettler won the Dew Cup in both BMX Park and Dirt. As the years progressed, Guettler continued to ride atop the competition pack, ultimately going in for double shoulder surgery in 2010, followed by recovery last year. Now back in action and living in Southern California, Guettler has simpler goals for the new season -- let the fun happen. Recently, we caught up with Guettler to discuss the road to recovery, the move to California and his return to the BMX fold.
ESPN.com: First of all, let's get everyone caught up. You have recently relocated to California after spending quite some time in Greenville, North Carolina. Why don't you take a minute and fill us in on that whole situation.
Guettler: When I first came to America, Vans team manager Jerry Badders helped me out a lot and I even stayed with him in Huntington Beach for a few years. But it always seemed like the riding scene was really strong in Greenville, so I moved there and lived there for the past six years. I needed to switch it up again and always had a good time in Cali, so I packed up and moved to Costa Mesa. I chose Costa Mesa because it's close to Sheep Hills trails and it has two cement parks, which isn't bad for a smaller city. I'm living very close to the beach, and that's awesome because I can take my bulldogs down there.
What are some of the major differences between living on the East Coast and living in So Cal?
When I was in Greenville it was amazing, but I got hooked up on doing the same thing every day. I would wake up, go ride, go to the gym, eat, repeat and then sleep. I felt that I had the warehouses dialed, but I was not progressing -- I was just doing demos. Yeah, I was working on new tricks but I feel like riding different spots or trying different lines is way more important then riding the same ramp every day. Greenville is a very small town, so you end up just doing a lot of the same stuff -- eating at the same places, riding certain places and to be honest, it just got boring. I was getting burnt out on riding without really realizing it. So I just had to get away.
What are your thoughts for the future? Do you see yourself settling down in California for the long haul?
I really don't know. I'm having a really good time now riding new spots and digging at Sheep so as long as I'm having a good time I'll stay. But I'm not going to buy a house or warehouse because that was my mistake in Greenville. Buying a house really locked me in to staying for a long time. You learn from your mistakes though, so instead of riding the same stuff over and over, I'm making a very big effort to get out and travel a lot more. I've only been here a month, but I've ridden so many different parks already. The only thing that I'm trying to do everyday is dig at the trails because I know the hard work will pay off when we all get it dialed. I would like to plan some events in BMX, either with dirt or park, but more small grass roots comps like the old Roots Jams. Not to make money but more for the younger riders. I really don't think there is a bridge between being a small kid riding a local comp and then entering the Dew Tour.
Okay, just for the fun of it, let's have a little contest. Which coast has better...
Riding: Greenville has the most amazing ramps I've ever rode so Greenville.
Food: Cali because a lot more people means more choices of food places.
Weather: Cali baby! Forecast for today is sunny and not a cloud in the sky.
Spots: Cali because there are just way more. Some you get kicked out of but then you just move on to the next one.
Vibes: Greenville because everyone there likes to have a good time. It's ride, eat, sleep, and repeat.
Scenery: Cali. There are more hills and mountains and a lot of different landscapes in general. Greenville is very flat and looks the same all over town.
Night Life: Cali. Downtown HB pubs are chill and cool. But downtown Greenville will get the job done.
How has this whole move affected your stance on riding and will your riding style be changed up at all due to the move and not having such close access to amazing private warehouses like the Animal House and The Unit?
I'm sure it will for the better, I know that I'm going to ride a lot more dirt, which is amazing. I'll still get to play in foam pits and resi pits because Woodward West is only a quick three-hour drive. But I know my riding will get a lot better just because I know how much fun I'm having right now on my bike. I always feel that when I'm having fun, I seem to progress a lot more than when I treat riding like a job.
What else is going on these days? I know that you have been digging a bunch down at Sheep Hills. How is it spending time in the dirt at such a legendary spot?
Yeah you're right it is such a legendary spot. It was one of the main reasons I moved to this area. It's been here for over twenty years and now it seems to be going better than it has been in a while. All of the locals are super cool too. I'm not trying to change the place, I'm just trying to help out by making the lips and landing taller and keeping the place dialed.
Give us a rundown of a typical day for you, or the closest thing to "typical" because every pro rider seems to have their own program.
Right now there is nothing too typical, but I just had a really good day which kind of went like this: I woke up early and went down to Sheep to work on a line. I took a couple of runs before going home for some food then Jaie Toohey and I went into Vans to meet up with Jerry Badders and got to ride the mini ramp for a few. Then in the afternoon I got to take the dogs to the beach and after that I rode Sheep until it was dark, then went to Chino skatepark until the lights went out. It was a very big day, but if that were every day, it would be so amazing. But like I said before, every day is different and It's so cool how everything is so fresh to me right now.
How is everything going with your sponsors? Who is all on board for 2012 and do you have any upcoming trips or projects that you are working on?
2012 marks my ten year anniversary for Monster Energy, Vans, and Pro-Tec helmets. All my signature stuff with Colony is doing really well and right now I'm working on my some new color ways. I'm still with Kicker Audio which has always been an amazing sponsor and since I'm back in Cali, Epic BMX shop has been helping out a lot again as well.
Kids will ride for almost free just to say they have a sponsor. So it's the riders themselves that are collapsing our sport.
You have been a pro rider for quite some time now and have seen BMX go through many phases. Where do you think the current state of BMX stands and if you could change one thing about it what would it be?
It's definitely not like it used to be a few years ago. The economy has effected that a lot. Even though the economy is slowly coming back, it' still very hard to keep your sponsors happy and so many young people are taking very small offers so there aren't as many big offers out there like there used to be. Back in the day, there were ten riders dominating the sport, so a sponsor would have to throw big money at them to have a partnership. But now kids will ride for almost free just to say they have a sponsor. So it's the riders themselves that are collapsing our sport. If I could change one thing about our sport, it would be to have people work together instead of against each other. There are so many selfish riders out there that only look out for themselves. On a small scale, an example would be my scene at the trails. Everybody works on their own little section, so it takes forever for anything to get done. On a bigger scale, even the highest paid riders are too selfish to give back to their own sport, which has made the younger riders ride for companies for practically nothing because they don't know any better.
What keeps you busy outside of actually riding yourself? I know you shoot photos and film quite a bit as well.
Shooting photos and filming was basically me just always documenting my mates. Clint Millar always had a video camera with him when I was growing up and I thought that was so cool. So as soon as I could afford one, I wanted to document everything I did in life, but I have a lot that keeps me busy outside of riding -- including bulldogs, motorbikes and a very amazing girlfriend.
Any last words?
I'd love to thank my friends and family, thanks to my sponsors who have had my back over the many years-Vans Shoes, Monster Energy, Pro-Tec, Kicker Audio, Ethika and Colony Bikes. Thanks to everyone I've met over the years riding, it's always been good times.