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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

Getting Dropped By Our Sponsors Was The Best Thing That Happened to Us... But Now We're Overwhelmed?

About 2 months ago we got dropped by all of our sponsors. Well, at least that's what people were saying. We actually didn't get dropped, but that's something someone who got dropped by their sponsors would say right? Wait, did we get dropped? Possibly. I feel like I have heard those rumors enough at this point that I am starting to ponder if we did? Doesn’t matter, I have a trust fund, we will be okay…

In the case that we weren’t dropped, this is how the series of events went in my reality, which could be different from yours, or any reality for that matter. Around October of last year, my now wife and at the time girlfriend Hannah and I went on a trip to Florida with my parents. It was an amazing time and in it we both realized they are getting old, time is slowing down for no one, and if there are any steps we want to take in life we should probably start taking them. In a sane, level headed, and rational style that we make most of our decisions with, we decided to b-line straight to Nashville, Tennessee to get married in our van by a woman named Zelda, curbside like a Burger King drive through, vegan van life marriage edition. 

In the market for an Ibis, Pivot, Yeti, Enve, or Rocky Mountain? Hit up N+1 Bikes and tell them "Mo and Hannah" sent you and they will take care of you!

After getting married we took off to Asia for our honeymoon, riding road bikes in different countries, as we hopped around some of our favorite spots. During that trip we started to have more conversations about what we wanted from our future. We had been doing social media for more than 6 years now and traveling full time during the whole thing. We had been to 38/50 states, 12 countries, driven hundreds of thousands of miles, and experienced so many epic adventures. And to be honest with you, we were both a little burnt out. We noticed on that trip, that as much as we loved adventuring, it was starting to feel like maybe we were ready to slow down a bit. 

There are only so many times you can bribe a random mattress delivery truck driver in Mexico to take you to the airport or experience a 7.2 earthquake from the 28th floor in the Philippines needing to run down 28 flights of stairs in the middle of the night. The straw that possibly broke this traveler's back was most likely when I got food poisoning in Malaysia this last trip, a country we had randomly chosen to visit. The food poisoning occurred the day we were visiting the Batu Cave Temples, which had a huge hike up mountain stairs to get too. Adding to this, we didn’t realize that it was one of the biggest Hindu holidays. So just imagine me super nauseous after throwing up all morning, hiking up near vertical stairs , surrounded by thousands of people who are barefoot and have traveled all over the world to visit this temple while it was a 100 degrees with lots of  humidity. All this while trying to not get attacked by wild monkeys who were very aggressive. This was the moment where I told myself, “I'm ready to slow down just a bit, we have flown a little too close to the sun”.

So burnt out of full time traveling and recently married we started to think about what the next steps of our life would look like. We had been talking about going independent bike sponsor wise and getting back into bike media again. For the last 5 years we had been sponsored by bike companies (3 years with Ibis and 2 years with Fezzari) limiting how much work we could do on the bike review side. We saw a huge void in the bike review world that we felt like we could fill, afterall, we met working in bike shops and love getting people on the right bike. 

Around the same time Fezzari had called us to let us know they were planning to rebrand as ARI bikes. At the time, this threw us off a lot. Rebrands are an insane amount of work and as much as we really loved the company and the people working there, we also knew that if we wanted to take the next steps in our personal life, we needed to take a step in that direction soon. That is when I came up with the idea of launching Awesome MTB early. There is no better time than the present and it seemed like the universe was giving us a sign. With Fezzari rebranding to ARI this would give us a few months during their transition period to get a head start  so that it would feel like a natural transition. The end to both of our chapters and the beginning of a new one for each of us.

At least that seemed smooth in my head. When I pitched it to Hannah, one of her first concerns was that it would look like we got dropped. This never even occurred to me and I thought she might be overthinking it. Then I pitched the idea to Fezzari. They were insanely supportive and wanted to help us however they could. Those guys had become like family to us. Which is probably why their first concern was also that people would think we were getting dropped. This was my second warning that I would disregard entirely. There is no way people would think that. The internet is a very sane and rational place full of level headed people who appreciate facts, not rumors. Right? 

Well turns out the internet is a more wild place than I thought. As soon as we announced our new plans, the rumors of getting dropped exploded. It got so crazy that at one point I heard some people at bike companies were calling around trying to figure out what happened to us. People who I thought I was cool with were laughing at us to our friends, and this was all getting back to me. Overwhelming is an understatement. Any time you hear someone talking about you behind your back, it's weird, no matter how used to it you are. The funny part during all  of this was not being able to say anything about the ARI bikes rebrand and how we had plans to continue working with them in the future. 

They say “luck is when those who are prepared take advantage of the moment” and that is just what we did. The first thing I did was video my friends Specialized Levo and post it to my instagram with a vague caption. This riled up the internet and had a few people, some of whom actually are in the bike industry, trying to figure out how we scored a Specialized sponsorship. The next day I did the same with a friend's Yeti bike. The day following I did it again but this time with a Ford Raptor Truck that belonged to Rig’d. Each post started to generate an insane amount of traction for our new website and chapter of our life. During all of this I was working like crazy trying to get things up on the site to take advantage of the traction. Shaun with N+1 Bikes was actually the first supporter of us going independent and wanted to be a big part of it! He sent over a bunch of bikes for us to review and I got back into the swing of things with testing. And just like clockwork, we were right back where we started 6 years ago, reviewing bikes and offering opinions on what bike is for what rider. 

Along the way we started to reconnect with lots of old friends as well as new ones! Awesome MTB was growing fast and we wanted to keep fueling the fire as it grew. Bike reviews, HQ Tours, variety in bike content, festival coverage, anything and everything that involved 2 wheels, we have been getting after! Bringing passion and soul back into bike media, something that I personally think the corporatization of our industry has slowly started to corrode. 

This new chapter has also reignited a passion in me for creativity and originality, something I pride myself on. We live in a day and age where originality seems like a lost art, and people would rather imitate what they know will get views and likes, rather than create something unique. Don’t get me wrong, inspiration is necessary for the further advancement of many aspects of life. However inspiration without passion and creativity lead to content that lacks energy needed to ignite a fire in those who are consuming it. They also say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we have been very flattered in the last few weeks as well.

So how has getting dropped by our sponsors overwhelmed us? Once again, we didn’t get dropped. I think. Or did we? I don’t know. But I do know the growth of Awesome MTB has been wild to see and I am so thankful to everyone who has reached out and said they have been loving the new content. However this growth has also come with a few logistical issues. Right now we are operating at max capacity. We are the filmers, editors, photographers, marketer, creative directors, reviewers, web developers, mediocre surfers…okay well that one is just me. We didn't think we would get this far into the new chapter so quickly and doing this while still living in a van full time has been a logistical nightmare. But we love it, and we wouldn't want it any other way. They say be careful what you ask for, and this is exactly what we asked for! 

Unfortunately my trust fund payment doesn’t kick in again for a few more weeks but rest assured, we have some huge things planned that we think will not only help with this new chapter of our life, but also most likely confirm the trust fund theory. 

We are just getting started.

-Mo Awesome


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