Macky Franklin and Syd Schulz like to mountain bike – professionally that is.
But right now, during the coronavirus pandemic, their races have been canceled and they have been staying in Taos, the place they call home when they aren't living on the road out of their van.
They've been spending time creating a "dream mountain bike workshop" – which was recently finished and shown on their YouTube channel "Syd and Macky" – and hanging out with the family whom they live with. But they are also newly minted game creators, as they released their new board game "Send It!" which is, of course, about riding mountain bikes.
The board game's final prototype was finished in May and Franklin and Schulz had a live launch party for it, where they explained the game to fans and where they gave them a timetable of when the physical game will be ready. The game is expected to be released during the "holiday season," Schulz said.
During the live launch party, Schulz and Franklin created a Kickstarter to help raise money to create the physical copies – and within eight hours, their goal of $25,000 was surpassed. Not long after, their stretch goal of $40,000 was surpassed. They made a total of more than $50,000 in less than a month's time.
The game, Franklin said, was inspired by a crash he endured more than a year ago. Schulz and Franklin had visited friends in Arkansas to ride a trail they made, and Franklin "really, really screwed up and crashed off the drop," he said. Franklin dislocated his shoulder, got stitches and was off the bike for a couple of months.
That crash led to Franklin playing tons of board games, which then led to conversations with Schulz about creating a mountain bike board game – which resulted in the creation of Send It!
They went through a few versions with the help of feedback before landing on the current version – the one that will be sent out to those who purchased it as part of the Kickstarter campaign.
"Our original idea isn't the latest version of the board game, but we used feedback to get it to where it is now," Franklin said.
Creating a board game required illustrations, and Franklin and Schulz didn't have a background in that. So they contacted Kristina Wayte, whom Schulz and Franklin found through the help of their YouTube subscribers. Wayte, on a video posted to YouTube, was a big fan of the game and quickly took to helping design the game for its final version.
In the process of creating Send It! Franklin and Schulz were unsure of how people would respond to the creation of a new board game – and a mountain biking one at that. Quickly, though, those doubts subsided.
"We didn't know how many mountain bikers were out there that play board games," Franklin said. "We don't know if people are willing to play it. So it's really cool to see people come together and support an idea."
The game itself has multiple scenarios that can play out, but in essence, the end goal is to join the "Mountain Bike Hall of Fame" which can be achieved by "sending it" on the final feature and reaching the "Golden Burrito."
"Send It! is a fast-paced mountain bike game where you ride, train, prepare and 'send' progressively harder features," reads a portion of the Kickstarter on how the board game is played. "Players race from the trailhead through three levels (green, blue, black) to be the first to be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and collect the coveted winner's trophy, the Golden Burrito."
Franklin, who was raised in Taos most of his childhood, went to Taos High School and Moreno Valley before attending school in Vermont, where he met Schulz. He was part of FITaos, and he credits Susan Fiore and Sean Cassily as some of the biggest factors in his current mountain biking career.
The couple's YouTube channel, where they chronicle their everyday lives and their mountain bike races, is a vlog channel through the lens of professional mountain bikers. Franklin and Schulz are closing in on 50,000 subscribers.
"That's sort of exactly what it is," Franklin said when asked if their YouTube channel centers around chronicling their mountain biking lives, on the track and off.
The couple's goal for the game Send It! is to eventually get physical copies into stores such as REI, Franklin said. He mentioned that some sports outfitters stores locally in Taos, like Taos Mountain Outfitters, would be a suitable fit, too.
Right now, however, Franklin and Schulz are just happy with the outcome of the game itself, and with all the support they have received for it.
Franklin said that for fans who weren't able to preorder a copy during the Kickstarter, that late pledges can be made through a "pledge manager," on the website senditboardgames.com.
You can follow the couple's adventures on Instagram (instagram.com/sydandmacky) and on YouTube.