[Grom Interview] Owen Marks & Garret Mechem


For a few years now, the quaint coastal town of Aptos, CA has been a breeding ground for mountain bike talent. Mostly famous for the now deceased Post Office jumps, the local riders have always been good about grooming up and coming talent. Aptos and all of its hidden nooks serve as an off season training ground for big names like Brandon Semenuk and Logan Peat as well as being called home by the likes of Ryan Howard, Tyler McCaul and many more.

Today we take have a chat with two promising groms that the established riders have wisely invested their time in. 16 year old Owen Marks and 15 year old Garret Mechem just might be some of the athletes that define the future and throw down in front of 40,000 people at Joyride in a few years. That is, if they play their cards right. We headed deep into the woods to hang out with them and watch them throw down at their new spot now that Post Office has been flattened. Here we go…


MTB-MAG : Alright guys. What’s your age, height and weight?

Garret : 15 years old. 5’5″ – 5’6″? I don’t really know but I’m 125 pounds.

Owen : 16 years old. 6 Foot. 130 lbs.
MTB-MAG : OK, who do you guys ride for?

Owen : Deity Components and Fox Racing Shox.

Garret : Deity Components, Giro Cycling and Ride 100% and hopefully Specialized real soon.
MTB-MAG : Who would you say has influenced your style the most?

Owen : Ummm, probably Ryan Howard and Kyle Jameson because they were always riding at post office. They’d try to get me to do a bunch of stuff and get steezy on something and then they’d keep hassling me til I got it right.

Garret : Probably Ryan Howard as well, but also Jake Kinney. Jake just knows how to ride everything and R Dog is just the steeziest dude out there.

MTB-MAG : What first got you into riding? Where did it all begin?

Owen : Well, I lived in Seacliff and my dad told me there was a pumptrack over here(RIP) and I came over here on my BMX and just started riding every day when I was 11.

Garret : My good friend Bubba who is a well known BMX racer got me into riding. I’d go over to his house after school and also ride Polo Grounds(currently being rebuilt) and the pump track. Sometimes we’d try the little jumps off to the side at post office. Eventually I just got better and better and started riding post office every day and he went on to go full BMX racer and did well at that.

MTB-MAG : So you guys both started out on BMX…What triggered the switch to mountain bikes? Pressure from R-Dog?

Owen : Haha, pretty much. I just got on one and it felt like a bigger BMX and because of the shocks, it didn’t hurt so much when you landed.

Garret : I got onto mountain bikes because R-Dog was giving me crap 24/7 and saying “when are you going to get on a real bike?”…One day I just went out and got one.

MTB-MAG : So you guys don’t really ride DH or trail bikes do you?

Owen : I’m in the middle of building one up and I want to but it’s taking a while. It would be nice to do that kind of thing a couple times a week to mix it up, but dirt jumping will always be my focus.

Garret : I ride my Dad’s Nomad once in a while but I want to get into downhill REALLY bad. I ride moto and I know it’s different but it scratches the same itch.

MTB-MAG : What tricks come most naturally to you. Favorite trick that comes easy and just feels right?

Owen : 360’s for sure…I’ve been doing them for a while and I dunno. Yeah, they just feel right.

Garret : 360’s and backflip barspins feel the greatest.

MTB-MAG : OK, so what comes the hardest. What do you guys need to work on?

Owen : Some flip barspins for me cause I’ll do them good one time and other times I blow it. Some truck drivers as well because I have to do them switch.

Garret : All opposite tricks. I can’t oppo spin to save my life. I can barely oppo whip.

MTB-MAG : What’s your favorite spot to ride? It can’t be post office but it could be anywhere else?

Owen : Tough one, probably Woodward West. I just love the variety.

Garret : Same, absolutely.

MTB-MAG : How much park riding do you guys do?

Owen : Lately a lot more just because Post Office got torn down so we’ll go to parks in Scott’s Valley, Ben Lomond and Santa Cruz.

Garret : I never really ride park on my MTB. I mostly do on BMX.

MTB-MAG : Are you guys working towards getting on the FMB tour and getting into slopestyle? You ride and train a lot at Deer Camp…Where do you guys see yourself in a few years.

Owen : I don’t know yet. I want to try some contests and feel it out, but I want to get a bike industry job and just be a flowy trails rider. If contests go well I’d like to go that route but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself.

Garret : I want to see how far I can take things with my riding. If it works out great. If not, no big deal, I can always find something else or be a LOC like R-Dog.

Thanks guys!  Good luck.


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