From Trail Builder to Brand Manager: How I Got Here
Although it has been almost 7 years since I started working at Cane Creek, my connection with this company began 5 years before my first day hitting the payroll in 2014.
My parents moved to Western North Carolina in 2002 when I was 11 years old and purchased property on Cane Creek Road, just 3 miles from Cane Creek Cycling Components. I was fortunate to grow up with a lot of open space near my house and fell in love with the outdoors. Eventually, I got into riding dirt bikes. At first, I started riding on my parent’s property, then as the wonder for “what’s on the other side of the creek” enticed me to explore the surrounding properties, I quickly learned that no one likes a stranger on a dirt bike screaming across their land. I’d be lying to you if I said that stopped me, but getting chased off was the most exciting part.
When I was a freshman in high school, I remember some of my friends told me they were climbing up some gravel roads in the Bent Creek area and riding down trails they were finding on their bicycles. At the time, having only my dirt bike experience the thought of climbing and descending mountains on a bicycle seemed exhausting. But I gave it a try and was hooked, the exhilaration of riding downhill on a 30lb bicycle was nearly identical to riding a motorcycle. Instead of bothering my neighbors and other trail users, I was getting a similar adrenaline rush without the loud motor and that was the key to me switching from dirt bikes to mountain bikes.
For the next few years I spent nearly every single day riding bikes and learning how to build purpose-built jumps and features. I was granted permission from a landowner (ironically one of the properties I was chased off on my dirt bike years prior) to build biking trails. Inspired by MTB films like Seasons and Roam, I ambitiously built some rather large gaps and jumps that couldn’t be found anywhere else in the area. At the time I didn’t realize how important this would be in shaping the direction of my life.
In 2009, I received a phone call from Cane Creek’s Brand Manager Malcolm Hadley. Malcolm learned that there were trails very close to Cane Creek and was interested in filming a short video to promote the original Double Barrel rear shock. To my surprise, Malcolm gave me a shock for my bike and I was asked to be a part of the video. One could say, I tasted blood.
5 years went by, I left for college with the hopes of one day working at Cane Creek. After the experience I had with Cane Creek in high school, I continued to make mountain bike films on my own. On one fateful day in December 2014, I was hired into the marketing department. Years of creating hand-built trails indicated my work ethic and got me the job.
11 years after Malcolm welcomed me into the Cane Creek family, I am now the Brand Manager here. I am still the freeride kid I once was and the trails close to our facility are even bigger and better than before. As I grow older and life becomes more complex, I still prioritize time with a shovel in hand, playing in the sandbox. And I’ll never forget that building trails is what ultimately landed me here at Cane Creek.