If there was an award for the “Hardest Working Rider in FMX”, Bakersfield’s Garrett Ahlf would definitely be on that voting ballot. When it comes to FMX, has been up, he has been down, and now…he is back up again. Garrett Ahlf has paid his dues and deserves every opportunity he has been given. And now with a steady gig on the FreestyleMX.com Tour and a handful of solid sponsors, Garrett Ahlf is riding stronger than ever.
We caught up with our old buddy to talk bikes, babies, and being back on tour…
Garrett Ahlf, how the heck are you?
Good man just wrapping up a busy tour season this year that started off earlier than ever with Keith Sayers and the Evolution of Extreme up in Canada “eh”. Now I am pumped to have some weekends off . It’s nice to be spending time with the family and to be at home learning some new tricks.
You’ve been staying busy even off your bike, how is being a Dad going for you?
Being a Dad is awesome, but…being a Dad with a tour schedule sucks especially when I go straight back to work when I get home from being on the road. I was able to make it home for my first father’s day this year where I got to be present to hear my son say “DADA” for the first time which I was super happy I did not miss.
Do you feeling like having your son has changed you as a rider at all?
Not necessarily, I keep the same mindset as always. I normally do what I’m comfortable with during tour season to make it through safe and sound. Once I get a couple months off during winter is when I try to step it up as in trying new tricks or whatever. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t more scared now trying new tricks as I want to be around for my wife and kid [laughs].
You have spent a lot of time on the Freestylemx.com Tour the last couple years. Tell us a little but about the tour and what an average day on tour looks like…
The tour is probably the most recognized tour in the USA. Each bus usually consists of 3 riders, a Driver and Tour hands that helps with set up and tear down. This year I toured with Brian McCarty and John Distler. Big Dis actually drove the bus, set up and tore down AND rode the shows. Hats off to him because he work’s his ASS off. Days off are usually just trying to stay busy, what I like to do is write e-mails to sponsors to let them know how shows went and how many people were there and send photos when fans capture them at the events. On show days we get to the venue find out where we are riding set up and do the first show which is normally our warm up/practice. Each day we have normally had 3 shows and after the final show, there is usually a celebration for safe shows!
You are still a younger guy, so are you cool with being a paid demo rider or is there still a part of you that wants to be the next big thing in contests?
I would love to get paid to train for big contests and only shoot for media coverage rather than being on a tour bus and away from family but for me its rather hard to find time and money to keep up with these guys that are doing every flip trick in the book on ramp to ramp. Even with a solid tour schedule I find it hard to get comfortable to try and “live” off a demo rider’s salary because the only way you can is to be gone ALL the time and at this time in my life I’m not too down for that.
You are a guy that I have always considered you very “sponsor-able” in the sense, you keep everything clean and you handle yourself well. That’s probably why most of your sponsors stick with you every year. So who are the companies helping you out?
Thanks man I appreciate that! My sponsors have been helping me out a lot with what I need to get it done during the year. Working on doing some media stuff for 2014 to keep me busy during the slow winter months! Big thanks to O’Neal MX, Alpinestars, Hart & Huntington, Brady at Shifty Illusions, BLUR optics, Etnies, Dunlop, BLEND designs, Moto-Gate.com, Works Connection, RAM mounts, Wyvern Motosports, UNI Air Filter, GPR Stabilizers.
What else do you have planned for 2013?
2013 is slowing down for me but I got a couple more stops and one I’m really excited about is in my hometown. I called the marketing guy out at Kern Raceway, our brand new Asphalt Raceway track, and got him in contact with Marc Burnett from the FreestyleMX.com tour and they worked out a deal so there would be a 10 rider ramp to ramp contest going down with both buses showing up November 23rd! I’ve been practicing so I can to put on an awesome show in front of my hometown crowd. That pretty much sums up 2013 for me and with the holidays right around I’m ready to relax and hang with family.