Athlete Interview: Mike Kloser

At age 49, Mike Kloser, a former world champion mountain biker, still ranks among the best endurance-sports athletes in the country. A case in point: Kloser and his teammate, Jay Henry, recently won the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse Race, a backcountry winter sprint from Crested Butte to Aspen. It took the team 9 hours and 17 minutes to secure Kloser’s fifth overall victory on the course. Other accomplishments include leading Team Nike to win the Eco Challenge and Primal Quest races multiple times; Winter Triathlon National championships; and securing first place in the World Long Distance Orienteering race. Kloser lives in Vail, Colo., with his wife and two children.

GJ: The Teva Games is next month in your home town. What are you racing?
I will be doing the Ultimate Mountain Challenge, which includes the down river paddle, an mtb race, a trail run, and a road bike time trial.

Mike Kloser.jpg

GJ: How do you prepare for a race like the Ultimate Mountain Challenge?
I generally try to stay pretty fit year round and as events are approaching, I’ll specify my training a bit. With the UMC, I have to divide my time up with all the disciplines, so it’s tough to really focus on biking or running fitness specifically. I just hope I have a better event than last year — I was pretty flat that weekend, and I really suffered on the bike legs specifically! I will be sure to get a few good paddles down that river section, and work on my mountain biking as these are areas I might be able to gain some time.

GJ: From your perspective, having raced around the world, how is the Teva Mountain Games unique?
It’s the only event that includes such a diverse range of sports and world class athletes in this country!

GJ: What bike will you be on in the race this year?
I may ride my Giant hardtail again for the mtb. Depends what they do with the course this year. It’s typically a fair bit of climbing and not overly technical.

Mike Kloser on Bike.jpg

GJ: What is some of your other favorite gear and/or other items you’ll use on the race?
I love my Nike XC running shoes, which are basically track shoes without the spikes and with a special sticky rubber that Nike put on for our adventure racing team. For the paddling leg, I will use my Epic Carbon Fiber wing bladed paddle. Not a big difference in a short down-river paddle like this, but never the less it’s light and high tech. I’ll be sure to pack some GU for the run and mtb leg, as well as some of GU’s new Chomps, which are like gummy bears, but with lots of calories as we’ll need.

GJ: What makes Vail unique from a mountain biker’s perspective?
I love the singletrack trails we have here, especially the long downhills that we earn on our climbs up. I love getting into the mountains and living in Vail. I have access to tons of trails right out my door!

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