I spent three days in Pittsburgh with Mark doing this interview. We went to karaoke every night, I asked him stupid questions every night, and we shot photos every day. Here are the 24 riding/party leftovers (including some stuff from when I was in Florida with Mark) along with about 3,500 words that didn't make it in the magazine. Highlights include Kris Bennett and Mark kissing on the lips, crack heads throwing bricks at Mark, drunk dialing Keith Mulligan in the middle of his interview, and the word "suck it." Enjoy…and if you do, then pick up the magazine, because it’s even better.
Bobby: Jeff Smee or Greg Smee
Bennett: Jeff is cool in the summer! [Everyone laughs]
Oh, okay, here we go [laughs]. I met Greg Smee first and I met Jeff Smee last out of the two [everyone laughs]. Stop laughing because you're making me want to laugh… Greg Smee is more fun in the winter and Jeff Smee is more fun in the summer, 'cause I don't see Greg Smee in the summer! Who would have thought?
How did you guys become the new Push locals?
Because, oh this a bad one to say, but the old push locals don't ride anymore, and if they do, they don't ride Push. So, Bobby Valentine and me are the only ones that dig at the new push and the only ones that ride them. That's the answer.
How's the trails scene out here in Pittsburgh because it seems like you don't ride that dudes trails, but other peoples, etc.
I honestly ride every set of running trails in the Pittsburgh area and they're all within what? Ten miles of each other? We'll just even say that Mark Potzyncy's trails are within ten miles [wink wink] [everyone laughs]. I honestly ride all the trails and I have a good time at all of them.
Bennett: God, you are so bad at answering… so worried to offend man
That's about it! What else do I have to say? What else would I say? Shut up. I ride Kevin Macnamera's trails, which are PTT, I ride Mark Potcyznzzy's trails which are almost in Ohio, Bobby and I have Push because no one else rides or builds there, except for sometimes Kris Bennett.
Bennett: I don't build shit. Oh, you're dropping a cool name, that's fine [laughs]. Oh, that's not a cool name, shit.
Mark: And then Monroeville which is basically Boner, Tom, and Punjab, which is basically Monboneville.
Ryan: How do you spell Monboneville?
Mark: Monboneville is spelt, uhh, punjabboneville…which is the last part of my name [everyone laughs].
Bennett: Exactly. I was going to help you, but you nailed it.
I nailed it shut, who would have thought? God, I love this. This is so good. I want to do more, who would have thunk? Gimme a real question here.
Ryan: Well, I don't really have any real questions.
You gotta have a real question. Call Keith mulligan! You want me to call him? Hey RideBMX, I have Keith Mulligan's number. Isn't he the editor?
In chief? [Everyone laughs]
Ryan: I thought your phone was off; let's see that text message from earlier.
All of a sudden the phone is back on, I didn't turn it on, it was accidental shit. Oh, here's Keith Mulligan! This is definitely going to be the shittiest interview [laughs][mark puts it on speaker phone and it rings 'til it goes to voicemail]
Ryan: Keith not even answering your call! Denied! [Everyone laughs]
Alright, alright, you know what I'm going to do right now? I'm gonna call Keith Mulligan…back! She's ringing again! C'mon Keith, I need this; we're trying to get some real questions here because Fudger and Kris Bennett can't produce with the questions.
[Keith's voicemail again]
Uhh, hey Keith, we're trying to get some real questions here and you won't answer. I thought you were the editor in chief. Bye. [Everyone laughs] Is Keith going to like that or no?
Ryan: Yeah, he'll like that. Or he couldn't and I could have to fly home tomorrow and fill the ten pages with someone else.
Well let's get something good! Here we go! Kris Bennett, ask me some questions!
Ryan: How is it having Bennett in front of you right now, spitting?
Kris: Am I spitting?! [Everyone laughs]
Bennett happens to be spitting on all of us right now [laughs]. You know that saying, say it, don't spray it? Well we always encourage Bennett to spray it instead of say it.
Kris: Wrong! Wrong again, the saying is I make it rain!
Okay. Bennett makes it rain on them hoes. I lost the question. Damn it, give me the question.
Did you even go to the other two contests?
No [laughs]. I didn't believe it anyway. It all started out as some bullshit and it ended up hanging out with one of my favorite riders every other night.
How long ago was that?
About two months ago…within two months ago. And ever since then we've been to Duke's Station for karaoke and wing night, or just karaoke sometimes four nights a week, up to seven nights a week, with an average of three nights a week.
Should we talk about your eating habits? I feel like you've eaten more ketchup than anything else.
Ah, God damn it. Honestly, since you've been here I've been eating badly…which has only been one day. All right, I honestly…my favorite foods happen to be condiments. Such as, I hate mayonnaise, but ketchup, ranch dressing, ceaser dressing, and literally any other condiment that goes well with anything except mayonnaise. Marinara is amazing with certain things. French fries happen to be one of my favorite foods because I can have a lot of ketchup with them—I'm being serious.
Can you explain why you dip your fingers in the ketchup?
Because I get more ketchup…and ranch.
????: Tell the story about your wrist, why is your wrist is all fucked up?
About three or four years ago—I won't name any names—but a person bailed on the last jump at Casselberry and for some reason left his bike laying across the landing and was sitting on the bench just hanging out and I three'd the last jump and it was like "holy shit" and I came around and I see a bike, too late, and I hit it. Straight over the bars, straight to my wrist, and my wrist has been broke ever since. It's my scaffolding…or whatever.
So who left their bike?
I can't say.
Ryan: Off the record!
[I turn off the recorder and I now know the answer, but you don't]
Ryan: You can say that it's not really a big deal, but it is kind of a dick move no matter what.
It really is because look at my wrist [shows the lack of motion and stump of a wrist]. Still…it's fucked.
[Recorder turns off]
How many kids these days grow up and want to ride trails?
It's crazy, at Mark Potzycycyc's jam recently, I had at least, if not more, five kids and ask me about Deluxe and say that they're that into it because it's just trails, because it backs trails and that's it. That's what those kids want to do in BMX, they want to ride trails and that's it. They don't care about street or whatever else is big right, they just want to ride what they want to ride and it just happens to be trails and that's all Deluxe is into. Whether that's big in BMX right now, that's what they're gonna do, and that's what I'm into, and that's what a lot of other kids are into. Maybe they didn't realize they wanted to just ride trails, but I think with this company coming out, it's like, "hey, I love street, I love parks, but what I really like to ride and what I started out riding is trails." It's that easy, I can go in my backyard and build a dirt jump in an hour and it's not that easy to build a Skatepark…
I think that's the easiest connection to BMX.
Yeah, I just think people start riding it all, racing, after racing they ride dirt jumps, then they'll go ride parks, then riding street, but they end up riding trails.
Sometimes I feel like the dudes that ride trails are the older guys that are over running into the 14 year old kid asking them what tricks they can do…like they've forgotten more tricks than they can do and are into having something all their own, you know?
It's a hard one to ask or answer. I've dug trails since I was 12, which was 12 years ago really, and I haven't stopped digging or riding trails ever since. For some reason I've stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. I think it's more the people you grew up with, I never grew up with that older person that was like, "hey you have to ride and dig trails, you have to." I was always the same age as everyone in my neighborhood that rode trails, and I definitely heard stories… I understand where people are coming from with riding trails and who they grew up with, but honestly riding trails…is just going in the woods, and building your own jumps or helping out with someone else's jumps. All you're doing one dirt pile to another dirt pile, whether it's a bunch in a row, or just one, it's a damn good time. I think kids really want to do it, but they think all it is, is street, and I think a lot of kids are really focused on trying to get sponsored. I mean, when you're younger, that's in your head a lot, but I don't think kids think that much and that's all they think about, so they just go ride street because that's what's big.
It's one of those things where riding dirt always translates into street—being able to go fast and jump across something is the basic foundation of BMX.
Jumping down stairs and doing a tuck-no-hander or doing a nothing or no foot can, that stuff started with riding dirt jumps, and it all goes back to riding trails, and that's what I think will go back to riding. Whether I'm right or not, I think that's what it will end up being.
Bobby is walking up, are you guys releasing a new push video?
Welcome to Pittsburgh 4, Volume 7. Batman 5…there's a lot of names for it. Whatever it is, it's on the way.
I mean you guys are playing a little bit on Push just by the opening skit I saw…
Well both Bobby and I look and looked up to the original Push riders, so me and bobby, living as close as we do, took them over 3 or 4 years ago. They not be as good as they were—I don't know, I never rode them originally, but they're definitely what we want them to be, which is just a fun spot to ride and you can go high and far on them which is all we really want.
Bennett just came stumbling around the corner carried by Greg Smee. Disasters.
That's definitely not a disaster, that's a good time. [Laughs]
How actually run down was push?
You can definitely tell that no one had been there for years, I didn't know that at first because I didn't even know it was the Push trails when we started going there. I didn't hear it until after a few months of digging there. I later found out that it had been four or five years since anyone had picked up a shovel there. It was basically a couple piles of dirt in good spots for jumps to be in, but you couldn't get on your bike and ride through them for sure.
Ryan: And Bennett is back out of the bar. Did you guys get kicked out?
Mark: I love this. Think about it, how many times can you say one of your favorite riders that you grew up loving is passed out in front of you? Honestly. Hey, Kris Bennett, one of my favorite riders, you're in front of me passed out on the stairs!
[Bennett then gets up and goes back in the bar and the recorder turns off]
Greg: What do you think of old push dudes that kick other old push dudes out of the bar?
I don't even want to answer that, because that pissed me off. The one old push dude never did anything for me, but the other old push that got kicked happens to be one of my idols, which is an awesome idea on my part still, because he rides trails and he has a damn good time.
Kris: Can I have a kiss?
Shit yeah, I'll give one!
[Mark definitely gives Kris a kiss on the lips and everyone laughs]
Kris: What, you don't like gay shit?
If you print that, you're dead.
Kris: Print it! [While wrestling with Mark]
Oh my god, I'm getting choked out.
Greg: Mark, tell him he can print it.
You can print it, you can print it, you can print it! Oh my god, my phone is turning back on!
[Recorder off until the next day]
Greg: So that was four years ago and you've been doing the winter/summer routine, why?
I don't know completely why, I mean obviously I have good friends here and there's awesome stuff to ride in Pittsburgh, but the thing that really got me stuck was three years ago, I, we, would hang out every night at the trails in Casselberry and one morning I woke up on the trampoline in the backyard at the trails and it was probably 5:30am, I woke up and decided that at that moment, I was going to drive to Pittsburgh. I had a check for two-hundred-something dollars, so I went and cashed it, used that money for gas and left at 7:30am by myself to Pittsburgh—didn't tell anyone once again [everyone laughs]—and ended up loving it ever since. I've met some of my best friends and had some of the best times of my life, so I just keep coming back.
Ryan: This is a serious question, because I really, really want you to answer it truthfully… I want you to explain how the trails in Casselberry really are.
[Long pause] I don't even know how to answer it. [Long pause again] Seriously, it's crazy. The riding part of the trails isn't even the biggest thing there.
Oh, I know, I don't want to hear anything about riding. [Everyone laughs]
They're super fun trails, but that doesn't even touch what Casselberry trails are really like. An average day would be we'd ride half the day, we'd hang out, have fun, but at the end of the night we'd end up in the backyard with a 30 foot bonfire, random dudes talking about drugs, crazy things that I can't even explain. It has nothing to do holding back, I honestly couldn't explain it…alright, some things I could explain [everyone laughs]. Alright, so there's this guy Keith that lived there, because every two or three months, there'd be random dudes living there who were friends with Aaron's dad. The kid who we all started going there because of, who rode bikes. This dude Keith, we were all hanging out and he was drunk, and we set up trip wire outside of his room and threw rocks at his window until he came outside, and he ran outside after us, ate shit, and face planted into the ground. After that, he flipped out, he started yelling at us, threatening to kill us, and we ended up running in the woods hiding, and he ended up throwing bricks at us, which literally came feet from hitting us thinking, "oh my God, I'm done." And I told somebody to go up a ladder and hide up in a tree and tell him over and over, just to haunt him and get him more made, "Keith you're gay, go to bed." And that seriously flipped him out…yeah, that was one night.
Greg: Tell him about when he was smoking…stuff…and he thought there were people in his roof and you went up there and fucked with him.
I don't even remember that; I was going to mention blowing up the jeep… Okay! So another night, we're all hanging out and Keith would love to make homemade bombs and usually he'd just throw them in the lake or near where everyone is hanging out at, which was definitely a stupid idea, but it worked. But, one night, there was this Jeep; there was always random cars parked in the backyard from old crack heads and whatever other reasons…I guess you kind of get it…from crack heads or other similar stuff. They were definitely payments for reasons that shouldn't be explained. But, anyway, one night, Keith went nuts and put one of his homemade bombs in the Jeep, blew it up, and the whole thing caught on fire and it was just one of the most ridiculous nights I've had at Casselberry. We ended up flipping the Jeep over with like 30 people and dancing on it and partying on it, having a stupid, but awesome night…and, I don't know what happened to Keith [everyone laughs]. We never saw him since. Seriously, he was gone either that night or a night soon after that. Never seen ever since. That explains Casselberry trails.
Greg: What about when Joey knocked him out?
Oh man, Paul definitely had his ups and downs with certain substances and sometimes he would flip shit on us. He would invite us over to hang out, party, and have a good time in the backyard with a 40-foot bonfire and out of nowhere he'd just snap and flip on us. Always the first person he'd yell at was Joey Jurasti, no matter what the situation was, no matter if Joey was even there [laughs]. He would yell Joey's name first, freaking on Joey and blame everything on him. Sometimes it ended up being other people, but he would start off with Joey with everything. And one night, timing was off on everything—or maybe it was on [laughs]. To me, it was on. He ended up freaking on Joey and then Joey called him out in a good, but also bad way. Paul sprayed him with a hose—this was the middle of winter, so it doesn't get too cold, but it was one of the cold nights, but he sprayed Joey with the hose and that was just it. Joey ran at him, tackled him, and they ended up fist fighting. I remember heard it going on, ran to them, and I saw Joey connect with his fist to Paul's face as hard as possible and saw Paul fall to the ground and couldn't get up, and we actually had to hold Joey back because he was gonna murder. He had it in his head to kill him, probably. We all ended up getting banned from the trails for a couple of weeks, but we'd sneak there. We'd watch Paul leave, we'd wait for it, then we'd go to the trails, and we'd have a lookout and book to the trails and leave. That's it. You can piece it together how you want.
What's a suck it? Is a suck it a good thing?
A suck it can almost be anything [laughs]. I started calling Chad DeGroot a suck it a long time ago and totally forgot about it. Then about a year ago, he started saying suck it a lot and kind of brought it back into shape, and then stopped saying it. And I brought it back after he said. A suck it can be a good thing, like "hey man, you're suck it" as in "hey, you're awesome." Or "hey man, you're a suck it" as in "hey man, you suck." Or, "hey, what's suckin’ it?" which means like, "hey, what's up?" It can mean anything really, it's whatever you want it to mean or whatever you think that person you're saying it to could picture it meaning [laughs]
So if they're confident in your feelings for them, then they interpret it as a good thing?
Yeah, then a suck it is an amazing thing. I'll say, "hey, what's up suck it?" or "see ya later suck it"
But why do you say it three times? Like, "I'll see you later suck it. Suck it. Suck it"?
[Laughs] It's just to make sure they know what they are! I don't even know how I'd answer that differently.