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Check Out Dylan Cobern’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dylan Cobern.

Hi Dylan, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I really can’t quite remember the first time I got on a bike. I’ve been surrounded by bikes and have been riding for as long as I can physically remember. I’m sure I started off riding just a random “kid’s” bike my parents had got me to learn how to ride on.

Growing up in Hawaii, we had a local motocross track that would be open on the weekends, also when I was off of school and so I’d always hear and see these guys just riding down the road to the track. The sounds, smells, and flashiness of the bikes completely enticed me as a kid and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was punk rock.

My earliest memory of a bike was when my parents had talked to some friends of ours that owned a bunch of dirt bikes and they had actually lent us their Yamaha PW 50 along with some riding gear and a helmet to get started. While I was completely obsessed with bikes and dirt bikes, being this young I was pretty timid at first while learning. I remember destroying myself actually into this concrete wall next door to our house.

That one made me a fair bit gun shy towards riding for a little. From the PW 50 stage, I eventually was able to get my first BMX bike being a Redline my dad had picked out for me. It was the coolest bike ever and I rode that thing into the ground. I loved every bit of it.

Those early moments led me to become fully infatuated with the idea of bikes and the persona around them. It was all I wanted to do. I just wanted to ride my bike down hills, up and down my street, and hop over things (haha).

I got super into watching all of the Redbull Signature Series videos on youtube. I watched about every type of bike discipline including Erzbergrodeo Hare Scramble, RAD Company’s “Life Behind Bars” series, Redbull Dreamline, The Atherton Project, and the Coastal Crew videos. I definitely drew all of my inspiration from these videos as I experimented with moto, BMX, and a little bit of mountain biking at the time.

I actually remember watching James Stewart 2-stroke videos and seeing him in his Redbull helmet thinking that that was it. That was it for me. After getting super stoked on those videos at that moment all I knew was that I wanted to become a Redbull athlete when I was older and ride professionally on whatever bike it may be. I just wanted it to be riding.

Fast forward, I rode bikes off and on throughout middle and high school while also focusing on other sports including skating and surfing. It wasn’t until the beginning of my senior year in high school that I was able to get my first real mountain bike. Up until that point, I had been borrowing my Dad’s really sick bike from the 90s he had gotten from some pro back in the day. Throughout my senior year, I began to really fall back in love with riding and remembered how much I loved being out in the mountains and being creative with my riding.

It was the ultimate freedom to me. During the senior year of high school, there is obviously a lot of talk about what everyone wants to do with their lives and where they want to go. While thinking about all of these things and deciding on what I wanted to do and become, I thought about what I would have wanted to see myself become, and that truly was to become a professional athlete. I made that my resolve and never looked back. I was going to use college as my ticket to moving to Utah to begin studying sports medicine and pursue riding as a profession.

College was tough. Not necessarily the academics, but trying to deal with the feeling of being held back from going to school while dearly wanting to pursue riding with 100% effort. I never took going to university for granted and truly put my best foot forward. To sum it up, I did well throughout my three years of schooling, typically maintaining at least a 3.6 GPA or higher. It wasn’t insane or anything but it showed that I put effort into my studies while also pursuing this riding thing at the same time.

There were a lot of ups and downs throughout the years pursuing both school and riding, and it eventually did come to a breaking point in myself that I had to make a decision. Where I was mentally wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t pursuing this internal calling that I felt so strongly for. To this day, I am endlessly grateful for my girlfriend Taylor who was there with me and actually had broken down my walls and helped me make the decision to take a break from school to seriously give riding my full effort.

So with one year left of school before receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in exercise science, what would have been the 9th grandchild in my family with a degree, I withdrew from school. I can tell you with every fiber in me that to this day, it was the best decision I have ever made.

Up to this point, riding was going fairly well. I had a couple of sponsors at the time but nothing major or floating bills. I went full tilt from the moment I withdrew and I applied myself as hard as I could to progress as fast as I possibly could. I spent the next 4-5 months basically waking up at 4:30-5:00 am to go ride alone, completely alone, in oftentimes 20-30 degree weather in the mornings just to fit as much practice in that I could before work or before the wind came and shut the session down.

It completely felt like a game of catch-up compared to my peers who were already basically all professional at that point. I basically learned all of my tricks within these months on this tiny little jump. It’s actually insane and hilarious to think back to now. I love it and I’m still really proud of that.

In the summer of 2021, I had been riding an insane amount and had become comfortable with my new schedule balancing work, riding, and training. That summer my buddy Luke Whitlock had traveled from Reno to visit and ended up staying for a month with Taylor and me. Within that month, we rode quite literally almost every single day. Luke had this sick old handheld camera that we were messing around with, filming clips of each other riding and going to the local river spot, really just capturing the freeride lifestyle out in the desert.

We decided to make a proper riding edit at the beginning of that trip and that turned into the month that changed it all for us. Really, this month was basically like boot camp. We were waking up at 4-4:30 most mornings to go and dig before the sun came up with headlamps and packing in a bunch of tools and stuff. It was crazy. Then when the sun started to the peak we would switch to our bikes and start filming tricks and stunts on lines that we had rebuilt from old freeride films that had inspired us.

We watched Where The Trail Ends, Lemonade and Duct Tape Stuffs and so many other films on repeat every night after every session. We were completely obsessed and maybe possessed at this point, wanting to just go send ourselves and prove that we were the next kids on the rise. We ended up wrapping that video up and releasing it on Pinkbike. It actually did fairly well for our first video and the response was next level. So many of our heroes were stoked about it and our friends were equally pumped about it for us.

For myself, it was after this video was released that Luke had actually been talking to his team manager about me and they wanted to get me on the program if I was down. I met up and talked to our team manager and it all sounded perfect. I would be riding for Factory KHS Bicycles with an awesome program surrounding it. That was the start of my career.

That was a year ago. Since then I have competed internationally at freeride events, been featured in big film productions and projects, and am now en route to being competing at one of the largest freeride events in the world; Proving Grounds. I am training diligently for this event this year and am beyond excited to finally take this next step in my career and be competing against my childhood heroes.

I am working extremely hard to put myself in the best position possible to compete in Redbull Rampage in 2023, as it has been one of my biggest dreams as a kid. I’m certainly also working extremely hard towards earning those wings as well. Redbull has always been the creme of the crop, the “it” factor in my eyes, and the mark of being the best of the best. It is an extremely unique opportunity and position that I have a lot of respect for and will continually work as hard as I can towards possibly earning a spot on that team.

I am fully in love with what I get to do and look forward to pushing our sport to the next level, showing the next generation what’s possible, and being the best example that I can be to those in my life and those coming up. I would love to be someone that anyone can approach and ask advice from about anything in life or about being a professional athlete.

I want kids to dream as big as possible, not caring what others say about their dreams, and to go hard after what they want because IT IS POSSIBLE.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been anything but a smooth road. I would say the largest struggle was definitely trying to mentally drag myself through school while seeing everyone else in my field riding and working towards what they were trying to achieve.

I guess you could say it was FOMO but also the competitive nature in me. I just wanted to be free, doing what I knew I wanted to be doing which was riding and progressing.

That’s probably the biggest one. Apart from that, I basically spent a year off of riding due to an ankle injury and the time it took to rehab it. That didn’t help during that time either.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a Freeride Mountain Bike Athlete. I ride full-suspension bikes down exposed ridges, and big mountain lines and perform technical tricks off of jumps, drops, and step-down features.

I specialize in creating content for my sponsors around the big mountain style of riding, which is basically riding some of the largest and most exposed mountain lines there are. I compete in national and international freeride competitions as well which I absolutely love. I would say I’m known for doing big extension tricks and having a bit of style along with it. I really enjoy doing 360s and flips off of drops as well.

I am most proud of my work ethic and tenacity to keep going. I don’t feel like I was ever the most “naturally gifted” in terms of picking up tricks quickly, but I damn well will outwork you to get to where I strive to be and to progress our sport.

I would say that my drive and love for what I do separates me from others in my field. I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of working towards becoming better, whether that is through nutrition, gym training, or riding itself. I like to go big, ride exposed features fast, and keep my tricks punchy and sharp.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
What I love about Utah is how outdoors and sport-based our home is.

It’s such a cool atmosphere to be around, always hearing dirt bikes or Can-ams buzzing around and ripping about. I love it. I definitely have a couple of toys, I someday would love to have just because of how much there is to do out here!

I dislike how lacking of a community vibe there is for the most part. Where I was born and raised, people are always walking, running about, always coming over and saying hello. Just super friendly and warm. Here it feels a bit distant from others at times and I feel it’s harder in ways to connect with people.

Also the food options. Step it up Utah, only fast food ain’t it. I’d love to see an influx of healthier places to eat and sick local spots.

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Image Credits
Alexa Christiansen

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