A Drain in Spain - With Cody Pollard

While my view on social media remains unchanged, generally along the lines of it being a cesspit, it does offer a breath of air before once more choking on its own bloated ego and destructive addiction. 

A recent breath came in the form of Cody Pollard sharing a picture of a proper wild ass looking drain - suggesting that he was going to fly over to Spain to ride the thing. The concept of flying over 15,000km across the world to ride your bike on a piece of large scale drainage infrastructure spiked my attention. It isn't a typical scenario you might find yourself in, to say the least. 

The kind of person likely to put themself in this situation is one that I want to get to know. It says a few things:

  1. That you're committed to something you love
  2. That you crave a sense of adventure and excitement
  3. That you're willing to take a risk.

The type of person that aligns with these statements is someone that is likely to be fascinating to speak with. I love the idea of getting to understand these values, to get deep into the engine room and analyse the machine driving the body. 

So here we are, after an efficient exchange, I am proud to present to you, a paraphrased version of Cody Pollard as he travels the world in pursuit of transition. For this version, we land in the kingdom of Spain!

What an absolute monster! The drain the subject of the whole trip. 
Big quarters make Cody do smile. 

To make the most of this story, I got in touch with Cody to find out more of the background to this trip and what the experience was like. You'll find his words scattered throughout this piece. 

So with a mish-mash crew of bowl loving weirdos from all around the joint, a bunch of which had never even met each other before the trip, the crew was assembled. We had Blake Prins and Aiden Rice from the Gold Coast, CULT pro Corey Walsh from Canada, low-key legend John Glassett from the US and our hometown hero, Cody Pollard. Flights were booked and excitement arose. I actually cannot fathom the levels of excitement for a trip like this. If I'm not able to make the trip myself, the next best thing is to get into the minds of the dudes involved and type out some words as though I was there.

Firstly, here's Cody explaining how the idea came about. 

"The whole trip sparked while I was at work and a good friend of mine Pitu (a Spanish shredder) posted a video of him carving this massive concrete transitioned wall! I messaged him immediately asking where this was and being a drain what time of year is good to ride it. He messaged me back all the important details of the spot and I booked my flights straight away. 

I guess I was chasing a feeling that I felt when I was watching the video and looking at some photos of it. It’s kinda gnarly to think of but my whole trip was based on whether or not I was going to get this feeling on the first drop in. It lived up to everything I thought it would man. Dropping into that thing for the first time was a rush like no other. Once your feet are on the pedals you’re committed, you're basically heading down a 20ft roll in with barely any flat bottom facing a wall that looks roughly to be twice the size. The speed, the noise, the feeling… fuck man! Ya can’t put a price on that stuff. Pure soul food is what it is."

While the trip was centred around a single drain in Spain (and for good reason), the boys sniffed out a bunch of other spots - making the most of being in Europe as summer beckons. 

"We rode a few skate parks, Rubens park in Malaga, and a rad park in Lisbon (Portugal) as well. We also rode some iconic video part street transition spots thanks to Corey and his knowledge of all these spots. Actually thanks to Corey we checked out and rode some other crazy full pipes man."

Day and night, night and day. 

Famous street quarter in Lisbon, Portugal. Can recall seeing this in a bunch of pro parts from recent times, looks the goods, but is no doubt harder to ride in person. 

"I've personally only ever seen photos of this spot man. The mural is a famous Portuguese singer from the 50s I believe, although I could be very wrong haha!

Anyway, she's an uphill cobble stone run in that makes you feel like your bike is rattling apart. The boys took turns spotting each other for a hit between traffic. People that were there were stoked on us, and a few not so stoked. It's wild to ride with the fence right there, you land with quite a bit of speed and get spat out into people and traffic, it was a cool feeling man."

Photo by Robin Persona

As we touched on at the start of this piece, to a layperson, the concept of this trip could quite easily be categorised under insane. That position does however dismiss the calculation involved and the fact that, no matter what happens, these boys committed to the idea, which is such a sick trait to have. 

I did wonder if there was a point that the boys stopped in reflection at the bizarre situation in which they have put themselves. If it was me, there would have been many a time where I would have lost myself in a daze, humbled in the amazement and strangeness of where I find myself. 

"Man I did find myself in a bizarre moment multiple times where I’d just be stopped and taking in this giant concrete structure thinking to myself how far I’ve traveled just based on a feeling and it delivered in every way, that’s pure satisfaction man. Then looking around and seeing the boys faces in disbelief of how insane this is. 

We did camp there that night, very unsure if we could or not. It was out in the middle of nowhere Spanish bushland, naturally gnarly thoughts run through your mind out in these areas but you feel the security of the dudes and with a fire and beers cracking you soon start to get comfy. What I didn’t know is this feeling would happen multiple times over as seen in some photos I’ve sent through of other spots we hit."

The trip taking it's toll on Aidan
The van, packed to precision, including each dudes backpack setup

"The fire still burns strong mate and that’s what matters most. I truly hope that people action what they feel when it comes to BMX and the adventures it brings. The pay off is life changing experiences you thought you’d never have and a world wide family. What else gives you that?"

"I can’t even put into words how crazy some of these pipes were. From the planing stage to getting shovels, brooms, kitty litter and buckets, to pulling up at the spot finding an entry point, sneaking in, jumping fences, hiding while workers drive past. And finally, to the stage of damming one of the pipes that had water in it, then finally the riding stage."

Another significant and highly memorable spot from the trip was riding the 'Lost Bowl', a beacon of DIY out of a tiny village called Comares in southern Spain.

Cody, tabes on the edge of the world at the 'Lost Bowl'. Photo by moustachecrew BMX
The real 'Lost Bowl'. Built by a dude named Joe who welcomed us in giving us a place to stay, beers 'n food. On the left in the T-1 shirt is Ruben, right now I’m having one of them moments like how the fuck did I end up here man haha!

"A lovely dude named Joe owns some land out there and has built a rad house that I believe he Air bnbs. Anyway, the bowl is cut into the side of the hill of the property, super DIY but it works so well once you tune into it. 

The back quarter is wild to air. There is no deck and quite a large drop on the other side. It actually takes a little while to get comfy just airing while looking down at the cliff face. We got to spend an afternoon there with Ruben (Alcantara), although he's not riding at the moment due to a bit of a back issue. Just being in his presence is something special."

Cody and Blake
Blake airing a crazy good looking quarter in the wild

Beyond the trip, and after having landed back in the country, Cody has continued his form of rolling with the punches and taking full advantage of his single and carefree lifestyle. 

"Man as far as life goes for me at the moment it’s been nice. I recently just moved out of my Landcruiser which I lived in for around 6 months and moved into a lovely little shack on some acreage in Federal. I’ve always loved the Northern Rivers area and to finally call it home feels nice. Byron bowl is my new local, Nimbin and Wilto are nice and close to me now as well which is rad.

Still working in the mines, too, currently flying out now as I type this. That’s actually pretty rad as well as far as working for the man goes. Get to see my oldies and brother every second week now and as I get older I realise how import that stuff is. Got some pretty cool news to do with T-1 coming. Other than that man it’s all pretty regular programming."

Onwards and upwards. 

Thanks to Cody for working with me around his FIFO job and for providing most of these photos.