In 1998 I had a paper route, and at this time Dave Mirra was my idol. Every other week, I would collect the dues from everyone on the route and return the money to the newspaper, sans any tips I earned. There was nothing I wanted more that year than the Haro Dave Mirra 540 Air.
One week, instead of returning the money to the newspaper, I just went ahead and went to the bike store and bought that bike. Sure I got in trouble and I think my parents had to bail me out, but that was the greatest day of my life.
My friend Nate and I spent the summer trying to ride up an 8′ tall quarter pipe we built. We painted it white and it had two red stripes going up the middle. I pasted some Haro stickers on there, as well as some Fox stickers and whatever else I could get my hands on. I don’t think we ever made it more than to the top of the ramp where we would slide our bikes down and then go down the ladder in the back, but it was a blast. I spent countless hours playing his video game as I didn’t really have any other friends besides Nate. The songs are still burnt into my brain and when they come on I go right back to that game.
Eventually I got older and moved to Chittenango, ironically where he grew up and honed his skills. Through the great mystery that is life, I got into triathlon, and met Ben, and met a friend of Dave’s, and went to Kona, and used that as a means to introduce myself in the picture above, the Cervelo house in Kona where I had no right to be at by all accounts.
Dave was incredibly friendly and engaging, no hint of arrogance or pretension; he asked ME questions. We asked him to host the beer mile, as I had seen his hosting ability on display on MTV’s Challenge, and he was quick to agree.
We later had him on the show and as the shows usually go, it got a little low brow, with swears getting tossed around casually. A few days later, I am watching tv with my girlfriend at the time and my phone rings. It’s Dave Mirra.
I answer and he is nervous that the show is too rough. I tell him that compared to some of the other episodes, his sounded like an episode of Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
When he came to town a few months later, we went out drinking and played some pool, which of course he was good at. He had a core group of friends from years back. Nobody would ever assume he was worth millions.
We would keep in touch occasionally and I was always motivated by his results in triathlon and the way he raised his kids. Every time he liked one of my pics, I geeked out. It was Dave fuckin Mirra.