Mountain Biking

Sonya Looney on her 2013 Cyclepassion Experience

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The new 2013 Cyclepassion Calendar is out and Colorado's own pro mountain biker, Sonya Looney, is one of the featured models. Check out Sonya's blog and the recent Westward Magazine article about her thoughts on the experience including why she finally accepted the offer to be in Cyclepassion, balancing the masculine and feminine within herself, her reflections on her recent racing career and why she likes living and training in Boulder.

From Sonya's Blog:

A couple weeks ago, my bike case and luggage were back out – the glorious theme of the year. Go to new races, try new things, and enjoy. I wasn’t planning to go to Germany until I got a request from CyclePassion to be in their calendar. They had asked me the year before, but I told them no because I did not approve of the theme of the 2011 calendar. I told them if the 2012 edition was different, I’d consider it. The 2012 calendar was given to me at Interbike last year. I thought it was well done, so I told them I would come to Germany the next year and give it a try. I admit, I was nervous about going. Sexy photoshoots were not really in my repertoire and there are a lot of mixed feelings on the calendar in the US.

That said, there is pressure from the other side if you’re doing a photoshoot. What do you wear? What is ok for me? What am I comfortable with? Will I be sorry? That said, if you’re looking for tons of skin in my photos, you’ll be disappointed. I was probably the more difficult of the athletes to work with because I didn’t want to show as much skin. I wanted to keep it classy and fun. So we’ll see what turns up in the calendar in September!!

Read more of Sonya's interview with Denver Westword and preview her calendar photos.

There's a lot of pressure to be masculine when you're a professional athlete, and there is a time for that, especially with the ultra-endurance racing I do. You have to be tough, you have to be hard, and sometimes you have to be emotionally hardened. It seems like there are a lot of women in mountain biking and in sports in general who feel that pressure, the pressure to not be girly. I remember being at races when I first started racing pro and I'd feel embarrassed to put makeup on or wear a skirt! So partly I did it to show that you can be feminine and you can have a sexy, hot side to you and have fun with it and still be a hardcore professional athlete.

Living in Boulder is a very humbling experience for a mountain biker because there are so many top elite-level athletes living here. A lot of times there can be fiercer competition at a local race series than you'd find racing out of state or even internationally. Personally, I think it's an advantage to be humbled, to be living in a place where everyone is really good, because there are lots of people to remind you to keep working harder.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Time for Colorado High School Mountain Bike Season.

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I’m sure the kids get tired of us old people saying things like, “I wish they would have had a mountain bike team when I was a kid!” But it’s true. So many of us would have been psyched to line up with what probably would have been embarrassing neon Lycra and 65 pound bikes. But we are so fortunate to live vicariously through all the high school kids in Colorado who get to practice (ride their mountain bikes) and line up for four very well run bike races every fall. It’s that time again and all over Colorado high school kids are working on their endurance, learning about passing safely, being schooled on trail etiquette and preparing for a whole new way to compete in high school sports.

Heather Irmiger with Boulder High Rider
More Photos at ColoradoMTB

This is the third year of the Colorado High School Cycling League and if history tells us anything, it should be another banner year for the league. Last year 325 athletes participated in the 2011 race series—a 78% increase from 2010. And this year there are more scholarships available to teams, coaches and riders thanks to the success of CycleFest (can you say Tom Danielson?) and the Just Go Harder Foundation. Last year 33 teams represented the state and this year there are five more teams; Rock Canyon, Highlands Ranch, Estes Park, Columbine (Littleton), Fountain Valley in Colorado Springs and Highlander also in Colorado Springs.

One Colorado Stage race ends, Breck Epic, as another is about to start

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So does Breck really have the best mountain biking in the "reasonable driving distance from Denver"? Over the course of the Breck Epic stage race, Jeff Wu from Alchemist, a custom clothing company captured in words and video some of the experiences a mountain bike stage racer "endures" as they spend a week up in beautiful Breckenridge racing the Breck Epic. Read all about Jeff's ride at

Leadville 100 isn't hard enough to stop rider with MS

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From the Denver Post

For more than 30 years, Ragland has been battling relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease with unpredictable symptoms of numbness, pain and extreme fatigue.

So it's probably best for Ragland not to hop on a bike, pedal more than 2,600 feet up a mountain and feed herself the thin air that could trigger the worst of her disease.

Breck Epic Racers curse Mother Nature as they Finish Stage 2

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The Breck Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race is currently underway and riders are being faced with conditions much different from years past pushing the riders to their limits. Jeff Wu gives us some insight into Stage 2 and Mountain Flyers explains Stage 1 and here is what Stage 3 will throw at the racers

From Team Alchemist Leader Jeff Wu

Perhaps we should consider ourselves blessed that this race has had perfect conditions the last 3 years. Or perhaps we’ve been working on credit all this time. But when you do business with a loan shark, payback’s a’comin’, one way or another. And we got all paid up today, and then some.

Breck Epic Number Plate. The number you are given
approximates the number of four letter words you
are likely to fire off during any given stage.

Conceived nearly a decade ago, and delivered in 2008, the Breck Epic is the premier ultra-endurance mountain bike stage race in the U.S., and arguably, North America. 90% of the race takes place over 10,000?, with a sizable chunk above 12,000?. But the thin air isn’t the only feature that makes this race special. It boasts more singletrack riding than the Trans Alps, Cape Epic, and Trans Rockies — combined. Another unique feature is that the trails around Breckenridge are so abundant and scenic, that each stage not only has it’s own distinctive flavor, but they also all begin, and end, in town. So if you aren’t the camping, migratory, gypsy type (read, author is not that type), you can set up your race headquarters in any nearby condo, sleep in a real bed, and avoid any prison-style shower encounters.

So, about Stage 2 . . .

The start on Washington St. was a gloomy, drizzly affair, no doubt ready to burn off and become more seasonable by mid-morning. As we made the turn off onto the first climb, Mike was there to greet us. ”Bright blue sky just beyond!”.

His words of encouragement were somehow mitigated by the volunteer standing next to him. ”It’s going to f**king pour.”

Somewhere in between was certain to lie the truth. The drizzle became a steady rain, which at times, became a downpour. It was only made tolerable by the fact that the first couple climbs were so intense that you may as well have been wet from sweat. But as we crested Vomit Hill (yes, there is a Vomit Hill, and I imagine you can guess why it is so named), I realized that the impending gravity-hungry descent was going to be, chilly. It only got colder from there.

Read the rest at Team

Learn how you can win a free entry in the 2013 Breck Epic Stage race

New Enduro style of Mountain Biking is taking off in Colorado

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Whether you have seen it or not, mountain biking has been exploding in Colorado over the past year and if you want proof, stop by Winter Park on a weekend and sometimes you will see lift lines longer than they are on Presidents day. Very interesting article and what this could mean to the landscape of "mountain biking" in the future


Enduro races — now found almost every weekend and clogged with everyday riders — marry downhill technique with modest cross-country endurance and are opening competition to those who fall shy of Olympic-level fitness.

"The normal person can't train enough to be competitive in the cross country field anymore," said Dan O'Connell, director of Bike Granby Ranch, which this summer launched an enduro race series. It joined ski areas such as Winter Park, Snowmass and Utah's Snowbird in offering new school enduro races.


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