Former Reality-TV Star Turns Outdoor Endurance Athlete

Ryan Sutter will forever be known as a reality-TV contestant. As the original “Bachelor” from the ABC television show, he was under the nation’s eye and actually got married on television in 2003.

Where do these people go? These days, Sutter is a firefighter in Colorado and a notable outdoors athlete. Indeed, with less than a week until the start of the GORE-TEX TransRockies Run many competitors (including me!) are enjoying a training taper, eating big meals, and pampering their bodies for the 120-mile mountain running race. Sutter is taking a different approach — he’s jumping into the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race just two days before toeing the start of the TransRockies with teammate and fellow Vail firefighter Johnny LoFaro.

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Former reality-TV star, now outdoors athlete, Ryan Sutter

“Racing the TransRockies and Leadville ‘double’ will be the most epic 10 days of racing of my life,” Sutter said. “There will be times when I will feel like I simply cannot pedal one more stroke or scurry up any more vertical, but I will have my amazing teammate from the fire department keeping me motivated along with the inspiration of knowing I am contributing to two hugely meaningful charitable organizations.”

Sutter is racing on behalf of nature-based rehabilitation organization, First Descents, and also for an HIV-awareness organization called GrassRoot Soccer. A more experienced rider than runner, Sutter said he hopes to compete for the front of the Leadville 100 and to just simply complete the TransRockies running course.

We caught up with Sutter to chat about the gear he uses to train and compete along the way. Here are Sutter’s top gear picks for the upcoming events. —Sean McCoy

Orbea Alma 29 S Team — “My favorite things in the world are bikes. I love bikes,” Sutter said. “I switched to the Orbea 29 S Team three years ago. It’s light and perfect for a hard tail.” Sutter said he prefers SRAM components on his rig. The Alma has a carbon frame and high-end components all around. It retails for $3,799.

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Garmin Edge 800 — “I love the touch screen GPS that goes on my bike tracking my rides,” Sutter said. “I’ll post them on the Garmin Connect site and Twitter. The Garmin Edge 800 has become kind of an indirect source of motivation. I’m going to post the data and let people look at it. I don’t want to look slow!”

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Camelback Delaney — “I just recently started having to carry hydration with me on runs,” Sutter said. “I carry a Camelback Delaney and the Marathoner model, too. Those have become pretty essential training aids, more so because I did a lot of work with Gatorade recently. I used to train without those aids and come back and be really dehydrated and tired.”

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La Sportiva Raptor — “It’s a stiffer trail-running shoe. I was using a lighter shoe and these are a little beefier. I’ve been wearing the La Sportiva Raptor a lot lately. You don’t feel the rocks. It’s nice not to feel every pebble. One of the top things I’m worried about are my feet holding up.”

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Honey Stinger Waffles — Sutter’s favorite on-trail race food, the organic energy food packs 160 calories into a serving with seven grams of fat, 14 grams of sugars, and one gram of fiber. Small and light, the Honey Stinger Waffles provide a bit of solid food in a world of largely gooey substances and are an in-between option in contrast to harder-to-eat bars and energy gels.

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—Follow Sutter and author Sean McCoy as they race the 120-mile TransRockies course beginning next week.

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