RYAN VAN DUZER (Get Out There / Duzer TV) GottaRunRacing Eps 24

Hey folks! GottaRunRacing had the chance to chat with outdoor adventure TV host, YouTuber, filmmaker and motivational speaker, Ryan Van Duzer.

Once we watched one of his videos I didn't realize he was so into cycling. I thought he was a runner at first but he's done tons of epic cycling including riding from Honduras to Colorado and he has ridden across the states a few times from Maine to key west Cuba. He's done Oregon to New York city. It just goes on and on and on and I just can't wait to hear all about it and he just finished Leadville 100 which I can't wait to hear because Leadville has a place in my heart so just let's get to it.

Welcome Ryan

Before we get into everything, I just want to give you a quick story about five or six years ago. I re-read the book

Born To Run and I got excited again so I went on YouTube and I started searching all these videos about the race down in the copper canyons and all that. Then I came across a video about a bunch of friends who took a bus down to Mexico to do the Caballo Blanco Ultra and at that time there was a war going on in the canyons and so the race didn't happen and I thought that was just a cool documentary and then two days ago I happened to watch some of your older videos and there it is the freaking video that I saw six years ago. It was funny. Video Here

GRR Can you tell everybody who hasn't heard the story how you transitioned from that into the social media icon you are now?

Ryan: I don't know about icon but I’m trying to get there anyway. So, I got a degree in broadcast journalism ever since I was a young boy. I loved telling stories and I thought journalism would be a great place to learn and hone my skills and storytelling and I did broadcast journalism which essentially teaches you how to be like a local news anchor and I did an internship at the local station in Denver and it was fun and exciting to be like on a tv set. But it wasn't really what I liked. You know if you watch local news, it's kind of depressing and sad. They reported a lot of stuff that doesn't put a smile on your face and I wanted to make happy news. I wanted to make inspirational news and I didn't quite know what to do from there so after I graduated college. I joined the peace corps and lived in Honduras for two years. It was an amazing experience. I work with at-risk youth. I've worked with Mexican immigrant youth for a lot of my life and I loved the experience and when I finished my service in Honduras instead of getting on an airplane and flying home like a lot of the other volunteers. I cashed in my ticket, bought a bike and rode a bicycle home to Boulder Colorado and I filmed that adventure with my little Sony Handy Cam. Then, I when I got home, I edited together like a little five-minute short teaser of the trip and from that moment on I was like I want to do this I want to travel the world and tell stories and I want to show the audiences around the world how amazing people are really I love connecting with the humans that I meet. It's fun to see beautiful landscapes but it's really the people around the world that excite me and so that's a very quick and dirty explanation of how I became a YouTuber and not a local news anchor so now as a YouTuber I essentially document my adventures whether they're running or biking with the hopes of inspiring people to get off their couches and challenge themselves


GRR So, what advice do you give to beginners for starting a YouTube channel?

Ryan: I always tell people just to keep at it because everybody gets excited. I'm gonna be a YouTuber and I’m gonna become big like everybody else and then you make like five or ten videos and they don't get many views and give up. It happens a lot. I see that all the time. It's just to stick with it like every single video you make is amazing but the next video is going to be a little bit better and then a little bit better and I feel the same way about my videos. Every video I make is a little bit better than the previous video. So, you're constantly learning and it's a really fun process so you might not be getting the views that you're hoping to get but you as a creator as an artist you are getting better at it and that's great and someday the audience will come. You know you make a video it’s your first video ever on YouTube and it has 10 views but then those 10 people each tell one person so your next video has a few more views and then you up to 20 30 50 and it slowly builds like my first video on YouTube did not get many views at all and I put my heart and soul into all of them and you're wondering why it was discouraging. Because like why am I putting so much work into something that doesn't really have results (quantitative results) but really you're getting better you're becoming a better storyteller and an artist and these are skills that I think can help you throughout all different aspects of life.

GRR Let's talk about Doozer TV, then so your first film you did was Honduras. How long after did you start making that part? I'm gonna make my YouTube channel basically biking across. What was your first one or the next one after Honduras and how did you get the idea?

Ryan: The first video was the Honduras video and then I wanted to find a way to get paid to travel essentially so, I think that's everybody's dream and at the time YouTube wasn't really a way to make money. A way back in 2005-06 at least for me. And I worked for a local public access station here in boulder. In public access, you probably all seen Wayne’s world. It’s along those lines where everybody can have a public access show. Nobody's really making money on it but it's just a way to practice your art whatever you want to call it and so my next video series was riding my bike from Maine to Key west down the Eastern coast of the United States

and for that I wrote weekly articles for the local newspaper boulder so that's really what paid me not the videos right and for each article I got fifty dollars. So, I was rolling in the money but it was a start and it gave me a voice and again it was practice. You know it takes time to get good at what you're doing and then it takes time for people to say, “Okay! This would provide value to my magazine or newspaper or brand. I’ll pay you x amount of money and it takes a while to build up that name”.

Biking Adventures

GRR Speaking of bike adventures and you've named a few but before so we'll transition now into some of them but just for our audience, who may not be familiar. You cycled across Cuba. You cycled from Boulder Colorado to Burning man which was a thousand miles. You cycled from Vancouver, Washington to Capo San Lucas. You rode a cruiser bike along the US, promoting bicycle advocacy and that first ride was from Honduras was not just, “Oh! I'm just gonna ride home. It was 4000 miles, 6000 kilometers.” That’s crazy, so how have you done some pretty epic things but how do you now choose the next bike adventure because obviously within North America and central and south America there's so many things you could do that for and how do you choose? What are the parameters?

Ryan: I try to choose things that I’m personally excited about and passionate about. I love Latin America. I love speaking Spanish. I lived in Honduras for two years. I've lived in Mexico so when I’m in those countries I feel alive and it's fun for me to travel through those places and really get to meet the salt of the earth when you're just on a bike, on little roads in the middle of nowhere and you meet some farmer who invites you into his house and feeds to dinner and you have these amazing connections that you'll never forget so for me I pick adventures that sound interesting and places that I know that I can learn something. Cuba was fascinating. Canadians can get into Cuba, no problem but for us it's always been an issue so I always wanted to go to this place called “Cuba”. Our media has told us it’s bad and communism is bad and I wanted to explore what it was all about and Cuba is one of the most fascinating places I've ever been and I’ve learned a lot about that country and I learned a lot about the people. It's a very gentle, kind society and it's the safest country I’ve ever been to in Latin America. I’ve travelled all over Mexico and Central America and always looking over my shoulder because I’ve been robbed a few times in Central America. It's very scary that stuff does not happen in Cuba and it's because of communism. If you do anything wrong in that society, you get punished big time so people don't act out they're big consequences for being a bad guy in Cuba.

GRR How were you received there by the people?

Ryan: They were all very curious about me at first, they thought I was either European or from some other Spanish-speaking country because my Spanish is pretty good but when I told them I was American. They're like, “Oh! No way, let's sit down and have a talk today.” I stayed in Guantanamo. One night on my bike trip with this wonderful family there and obviously Guantanamo is where the United States has a base and they didn't have anything bad to say. They didn't rip on Americans. You know what has happened between our governments and the sanctions but they just wanted to know what life was like and what's it like out there because a lot of Cubans have obviously relatives in the United States. A lot of them just know a little bit about the United States but not a ton and it was fast every single day in Cuba, I stayed with a different family that's just how do it rent people's rooms for like 20 bucks and so it was like I had a host family all the way across the country and got to meet all these wonderful people.

GRR Did you get to see all the 50s and 60s American cars in Havana?

Ryan: Yes, if you're into those cars, I mean it's like being in an open-air museum. It really is amazing all the cars, all the buildings are old and classical looking and it’s fascinating. It's like going into a time capsule.

GRR Our favourite video is when you went from Oregon to New York city because you spent 200 miles going through Canada. Stopping at Tim Horton’s and then Niagara Falls and have you ever thought about doing the Trans-Canada trail?

Ryan: I have. I think that would be amazing. It would be beautiful, so much beautiful country but also you know it's nice and long. It'd be a good full summer adventure and I’ve been to lots of places in Canada but I’d love to travel a little bit more up there as well. If you've been watching some of my videos, I’ve been travelling with a Canadian guy here and there who has a dog with him and he's become a fan favourite on my channel. They live in Kenmore.


GRR When or why did you start running?

Ryan: I have been a runner since I was a little kid. I know everybody goes to my channel and it's a lot of biking but really running is my favourite sport and I started running at an early age and I don't really know why but I was good at it in gym class. I was always the fastest kid and it's fun to be number one and I remember our little elementary school had a yearly race in May called the mile marathon. It was a one-mile race and I took that race as seriously as an Olympic athlete would take the Olympics and I trained and got ready for it and it was really important to me to win that race and so from that point on I just loved running and when I was younger, I was way more competitive like it was all about winning through middle school and high school but then I stopped winning I wasn't as fast other kids caught up to me and from that point on running for me has just been a way for exercise to explore to be out in nature to connect with myself to connect with