Finding out what makes inspired individuals tick is really important to us and is going to be a regular series on our blog here. We believe we’re all so fortunate to have our Instagram, Facebook and YouTube feeds filled with so much great visual content that it’s important to know what makes these individuals get up in the morning and do what they do as it’s always going to be so much more than what a simple Instagram profile will ever let us know, these interviews aim to do just that!
Lets Get To It!
My first real memory of Alec is a rather simple one. I can simply picture him riding our local skate park in Diamond Creek on a bright orange colony bike, possibly a complete but I can’t be too sure! Anyway, he was a young kid who seemed to be quickly improving every time I rocked up at the park but never had too much to say, maybe he was just shy with us older guys.
Moving forward 3 or 4 years, Alec has very much come out of his shell, joined us on road trips to the best BMX event in Australia (ACT JAM) and proven that even at the young age of 17, Alec is a phenomenal bike rider who is truly coming into his own style. Dropping a fire edit, placing top 3 at FISE in China and pumping out clips for Instagram like it’s nothing confirm he can ride but he’s also a real mature kid for his age with a great outlook on life who will go far and that’s why today; we’re introducing him to the world.
First things first bro, Name, Age, Location?
My names Alec Danelutti, and I'm a 17 year old from the Yarra Valley in Melbourne Australia.
I’ve been fortunate to watch your progression over the years but for those who don’t know, how long have you been riding and what got you originally into BMX?
Well, ever since I was a young kid I had always enjoyed riding bikes. I remember when I was 2 years old being down at the local park when my older sister was learning how to ride without training wheels. She was a few years older but when I saw her finally work it out, instantly I knew I wanted to be able to do that, and in the same day I was doing laps without my extra wheels haha.
A bit later on, even when going through stages of taking up other hobbies despite Mum always telling me how much cooler bikes were than scooters I was always definite that it was something I wish I could do. I started going down to the skatepark on my colony sweetooth complete regularly in 2013 when I was 12 going on 13. The scene was really cool back then, it was like clockwork, every Saturday at 10:30am everyone would be down at Diamond Creek Skatepark for a session for the day, and that's where it all started. Ever since then I just became obsessed with the sport, started riding every opportunity I got and fell in love with that feeling of progression. So back to the original question this is my fourth year riding and I haven't stopped since the day I started and won't stop till the day I can't.
"The feelings of pain, fatigue, mental blocks, pressure, persistence and the rest but we constantly push ourselves to our extremities all for that feeling of success and progression."
You’ve got a very clear park style as seen in your insane edit here, who would you say has been your biggest influence in your style?
Thanks for the kind words man, appreciate it!
It is definitely a hard question as there are so many amazing park riders to look up to and who inspire me. But I would probably say that Logan Martin is one of my biggest inspirations today. He is definitely not the only one who does this but the dedication he has to sport as an elite athlete is insane. From going to the gym to eating well to absolutely sending it and being so dialed on a bike whilst still loving life and building the scene I think in awesome! Alex Hiam was also a huge inspiration when I was younger as he was killing it and also a younger rider on the scene.
"the idea of myself travelling overseas to ride my bike was right up next to the one of me driving a Ferrari haha, probably not gonna happen right."
Progression in anything in life is hard, BMX is definitely no exception, especially once you add in the high risk of injury, what keeps you fired up to keep pushing yourself?
Anyone who rides a BMX, no matter how experienced knows the feelings that come with the sport. The feelings of pain, fatigue, mental blocks, pressure, persistence and the rest but we constantly push ourselves to our extremities all for that feeling of success and progression. That feeling that makes you smile and get stoked, the same one that gets everyone else hyped on what you're doing as well. As I said earlier I became obsessed with the sport ever since I've started, every time I'm on my bike, as corny as it sounds, nothing else matters and that’s all I can think about or want to do.
Let’s get into the story about coming top 3 at the FISE finals, first, how did that trip come about and second, how did it actually feel to come top 3?
I have always, ever since I was about 10 wanted to travel to one of the “big contests” just to watch everyone ride, and the idea of myself travelling overseas to ride my bike was right up next to the one of me driving a Ferrari haha, probably not gonna happen right.
At the start of 2016 I started looking into the montpellier FISE contest and working out how it would all work with family etc, although in the end we were not quite organised enough so I wasn’t able to make it over. A lot later on in the year the Chengdu stop arose and it being at a better time of the year for the family and not to mention a lot cheaper we planned it all out, booked flights and made the commitment. This being my first ever real, big contest it was super exciting although pretty nerve racking leading up to. For a couple of months before I was trying to push myself that little bit further and get dialed for the trip to Chengdu. Although I was confident with how I was feeling on my bike I went into the contest only dreaming of even coming in the top 10. So I would say that was my goal, to try and finish in that top 10 bracket. I was really surprised and beyond stoked with my qualifying where i finished in 2nd place and was just ecstatic to hold my position and come out 2nd in finals! It being my first big thing close to a win in a proper contest I was honestly just super stoked and happy that, although only the very beginning, my hard work had paid off.
I know you wanted to hit Montpelier for FISE round 2 but unfortunately it didn’t happen, understandable for a 17 year old but what are the travel plans for the years ahead, where do you NEED to ride your bike in this world?
I have a few plans and goals for the rest of this as well as next year. In November I am actually heading back over to Chengdu for 2 contests this time, the final FISE stop, as well as the Urban Cycling World Championships. Slightly different to last time, this trip I am going to try and step it up and jump in the deep end and ride the PRO division. It is a pretty big step for me and although i'm obviously not quite up there at all the pro’s standards but I want to try and push myself to ride at the best that I can and learn from the experiences that come along with it. My ultimate goal is to qualify for semi Finals, if I were able to put together a strong enough run to get a spot in semi’s it would be a dream come true.
The Urban World Championships the weekend after is actually a qualifying event for the Youth (15-18 year old) Olympic games in Argentina next year (2018) along with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.Myself being 17 years old am going to ride against the other Youth riders from around the world and try and fight my way into a position in the top 8 to qualify for Argentina.
Moving forward to next year, I am planning to do my best, financially, to travel to all of the 4-5 stops and compete in the entire FISE series.
Getting a little bit more personal, you come from a big family, how many siblings do you have and what has that been like growing up?
Yeah, I come from a family of 7, so 5 of us kids. I’m the second eldest with my older sister being almost 20 and my youngest brother being almost 10. Obviously it is a pretty crazy household at times and we live an extremely busy life as all of my siblings are Elite Gymnasts who train between 20 and 30 hours a week. But despite all of that we all get on really well and I definitely have noticed the significance of being a part of a big family. Growing up and even now, you’re never lonely and there is always someone to talk to or something going on somewhere in the house. I have found it also helps with life skills in general, looking after the little ones and taking on somewhat of a leadership role at times. Overall I have definitely loved it and am so grateful to be a part of such an amazing family who care for and look out for each other.
"At times though, I will admit it does feel like there is a bit of pressure there, mainly when I haven’t posted something in a while because of being busy and what not, I want to keep a constant flow of content."
Given your maturity I have no doubt you already know this, but you have extremely supportive and dedicated parents who drive you a very decent distance to make sure you can ride regularly but your Dad also made your very own half pipe happen, tell us about that whole story from start to finish?
My parents are most definitely extremely supportive of my riding and always have been. I am so fortunate to have such awesome support when it comes to BMX and can’t ever thank my parents and everyone who supports me enough for that.
Well, the halfpipe, this as it is to all of us BMX riders is an all time dream to have in our backyard! It all really started one weekend in roughly 2015 I think, when I decided I wanted to build up a little quarter pipe at home. I drew up a bit of a sketchy plan and did a few laps around the shed looking for different wood I could use. As I started pulling out power tools and scratching my head as to how I was gonna make the thing work, thankfully Dad came out to help me put it all together. After I realised that making a 3ft quarter wasn’t as hard as I thought it sparked the whole Halfpipe idea. A couple of years passed and in that time we made some proper plans and got some big 40x40 lengths of steel rolled at the same circumference as my local, Diamond Creek’s Halfpipe. Dad being in the trade industry was able to talk to a few mates of his who were able to help us out not only with making the project affordable but also accomplishable with the time we get as a family. Over a few month period from early April 2017 to late May we had it all completed. We made structure out of steel and fixed 2 layers of 9mm ply to the surface and coated it with a few layers of dark grey paving paint. Initially we had 24 cross braces supporting the ply, but after one roll knew we had to make some changes, and added another 36, making it super solid. I am absolutely beyond stoked with the end result and am so grateful and thankful to my Dad for actually making it all happen and putting the amount of time, energy, brain power, effort and funding into the whole project. I also want to say thanks to all the guys over at Valley Steel and Valley Engineering who got behind the project.
My assumption is you’re about to finish year 11 of your VCE program this year, how have you found maintaining your high level of riding with what I imagine is a pretty full on school schedule?
It definitely comes with a lot of difficulties that’s for sure, although I manage to keep a reasonable balance between the two. Of course I would love to be able to ride all day every day but that isn’t always the best option. As much as I can’t be bothered getting up most mornings and aren’t super keen on all of the assignments and tests, I do enjoy school and have a lot of good times there. At the moment, being winter it is super hard to ride more than a couple of times a week as the weather is shocking after school but coming into spring and summer I try and ride almost everyday after school and all weekend. Next year I will actually be starting an electrical apprenticeship followed by getting my license which will give me more time to ride as well as make it a lot easier for me and my parents as well.
This may seem an odd question but you’ve grown up in a world where posting everything you do on a bike on Instagram is absolute second nature, do you feel this adds a positive or negative pressure towards riding your bike or simply don’t care?
I feel that it’s awesome! I love filming videos and shooting photos for instagram, it’s always a good feeling to show everyone something you’re stoked on as well as get everyone's feedback. At times though, I will admit it does feel like there is a bit of pressure there, mainly when I haven’t posted something in a while because of being busy and what not, I want to keep a constant flow of content. In saying that though, I love it, I love looking through everyone’s posts and just keeping up to date with the BMX world and feeding off everyone to get hyped to ride and progress. In this day and age aside from contests, unlike years before I think we can all see that Instagram is the place for not only Pro’s to put themselves on show but for up and coming riders who aren’t very known to the sport to get noticed and or just get more involved with the BMX community. I think that it is a vital part of our sport and really helps build the scene we all love.
"Persistence and hard work along with enjoying yourself riding your bike with your mates is probably the best advice I can give any young riders."
You’ve recently been put on the Unit team, how did that deal come about? Is this your first real sponsor and what’s that experience been like?
Yeah I am super stoked to be working with the guys over at UNIT! It is my first real sponsor aside from Rampfest/Ride On who I also ride for who help me out a lot. It all started at the beginning of this year (2017) when Toby, one of the managers from Unit hit me up on instagram. He seemed to be pretty stoked with what I was doing and thought that we might be able to work together. Initially they hooked me up with a care package which was super sick, had a whole heap of awesome apparel which I have became to really love, not only when riding but just in general. A few months later after speaking with Toby again, he was keen to keep supporting and getting behind me by putting me on their flow team. So far it has been awesome, as I said I love all of their product and what they’re all about and am really keen to continue to work with them in the future!
I’d be confident saying you still have an insane bucket list of tricks you want to learn in the coming years but if you had to pick your top 3 to learn in the next 12 months, what would they be?
Haha yeah, there’s always the tricks we dream and dream about! I have a massive list of tricks I am working towards but if I were to pick 3 that I really am aiming to get done in the next year they would be, Flair Tailwhip to Barspin, 360 Double Tailwhip to Barspin and probably roasted 360 inverts cause they look so sick!
A lot of kids who pick up a bike, no doubt watch you ride and think damn, how do I get that good, what piece of advice would you give to any young rider who wants to progress?
This is a really commonly asked question to a lot of riders, and my best advice would be to have fun with it. I know that’s what everyone says but it really is true, and it sometimes takes a while realise how important it is but when you do you will enjoy riding your bike a lot more. Apart from that though depending on what style of riding you like and where you want to go with it you have to also be prepared to put the blood, sweat and tears into the sport. It isn’t always easy but the easy road isn’t always the best road. Persistence and hard work along with enjoying yourself riding your bike with your mates is probably the best advice I can give any young riders. Believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything you aspire to if you believe in yourself and put your mind to it.
Final year of high school is coming up man, no doubt you’re keen to smash it out but what are the plans after you graduate?
As I mentioned before, I am finishing school at the end of this year and taking up an electrical apprenticeship. I have always been interested in electricity, circuits, and just wiring in general and am really excited to start a new chapter of my life. It is going to be a lot easier with riding next year too which is sweet as! I won’t have the extra load of year 12 homework and exams etc as well as the fact that I will be turning 18 and getting my license which as you can imagine I am beyond keen for! So excited for all of the extra session that will go down being able to drive and the pressure I will be able to take off my parents as well.
Alright my man, I’ll leave it there, any last words?
I would just like to say a huge thankyou to firstly my parents who have supported me from the very beginning and continue to do so everyday, secondly, my sponsors, UNIT and Rampfest/Rideon BMX for supporting me in all the many ways in which they do to help me become the best I can be and to work towards my dream and just all of my friends, family and the entire BMX community for making BMX what it is. Some might see it as going down hill and others up but either way this is the sport we all love and we all make it the sport it is so thankyou BMX!
Thanks so much for having me Jax, I love what you’re doing and where you’re headed and really appreciate you getting behind me and supporting me as well. Can definitely shred a street spot too!!