When we first moved to Bend, Oregon about six years ago we were eager to make friends with new riders and see what the local scene was all about. Bend is a mountain bike town with a ton of talent, both professional and local. We first met Austin at one the big annual Pro’s and Joe’s garage sales that we often threw with riders like Kirt Voreis, Carson Storch, Colin Bailey and others. He was a young kid who had just turned his life around after making some character-building decisions that landed him in some tough spots. He was bright-eyed, clean and ready to focus his energy on a newfound passion for riding mountain bikes.

A mutual friend told us Austin (aka Hempdog’s) story and when he eyed a Fox 831 fork and some dirt jumper tires, we gladly hooked him up to keep him stoked and on the right path. It appears that dirt jumper did the trick as he soon landed himself a job and was taking his spare money and buying $50 raffle tickets for a Mach 6 from the local Pivot Dealer, Sagebrush Cycles. After buying more than a dozen tickets Austin had a solid chance at winning the bike, and he did! As he says, it was off to the races after that and just a couple short years after winning his first dual suspension mountain bike Austin has quit his job and his going full speed towards qualifying and racing in some Enduro World Series events this year.

We were so inspired by Austin’s quick rise on local PNW podiums, and his constantly upbeat demeanor and thankful attitude, that we teamed up with Schwalbe Tires and Ride Concepts shoes to give Austin a bi-weekly outlet to share his story and document his quest.

This dude is the genuine article, a grassroots racer who has given up the little he had to pursue the dream he’s had since he was five, to race bikes professionally.

Every other Wednesday we’ll be posting a new video from Austin as he travels around, trains, races, rides and meets new people and rides new trails. We’re confident he’s gonna spread a lot of smiles and grow to be an even better rider, and we’re excited to help bring you along for the ride and inspiration.

We’d like to thank Schwalbe Tires and Ride Concepts for pitching in to help make this VLOG-series a possibility.

Good luck Austin, YEW!

– Drew and TLW Team