Today’s post is a celebratory one. This past weekend, Salsa sponsored rider Kurt Refsnider piloted his El Mariachi Ti across the finish line to win this year’s Tour Divide Race.
Kurt in Banff prior to the start of the 2011 Tour Divide Race. Photo courtesy of Mike Dion/Ride The Divide/The Path
For Kurt, the finish happened in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Others have, and will continue to finish there during the coming weeks. A different group of riders headed north this year and are making their finish point Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Those who virtually followed the race this year via Trackleaders ‘witnessed’ an epic battle between Kurt, Jefe Branham, and Paul Attalla. In fact, on Saturday evening it was anybody’s guess as to which of the three might make it the line first. I was just one of the folks hitting refresh to catch the latest sign of forward progress.
Kurt won this year’s race aboard a custom El Mariachi Ti bike. We’ll do a post in the coming weeks (might have to be months due to the busy traveling/filming schedule Kurt is about to embark on for The Path) about his bike and gear from this year’s Tour Divide Race, and hopefully some of the ‘fun’ details about the ride itself.
Kurt, just prior to race start. He doesn't look too nervous. Photo courtesy of Mike Dion/Ride The Divide/The Path
Of particular interest in this year’s race was that Jefe Branham was riding a steel El Mariachi set up singlespeed. I want to make it clear that we don’t sponsor Jefe, but damn we enjoyed ‘watching’ him ride. Bravo to him for a totally mind-blowing ride to take second place! I hope we are able to meet some day.
Three years ago, Joe Meiser (head of our product design department) took on the Tour Divide Race. Joe’s ride was an inspiration to all of us here at Salsa and helped create a soft spot in our heart for both the route and the race. His post-ride slideshow entertained us and ‘took us along for the ride’.
It was on that ride that Joe first met Kurt, and that led us to eventually being fortunate to bring Kurt on as a sponsored rider.
Since Kurt signed on, we’ve had the privilege of meeting in person, enjoying a lunch out with the Crew, learning more about him, and reading blog posts of some of his adventures. Heck, turns out he’s a Minnesota guy all along!
Just another day on the 2011 Tour Divide! Photo courtesy of Mike Dion/Ride The Divide/The Path
Kurt is one of an ‘elite squad’ of four Salsa sponsored riders. He, Danielle Musto, Gerry Pflug, and Tim Ek go out and battle the forces of evil…well, not really evil…
…But they do get out there and put our products to the test. That’s just one thing we ask of them though. Most importantly we ask them to be good representatives for Salsa and to treat people well. Winning, when it happens, is a nice bonus.
We are proud of all our sponsored riders, but today, this week, heck…maybe this month…we are most proud of Kurt. So raise your glass high in a toast to his Tour Divide ride.
Kurt, you’ve inspired us to keep dreaming, and scheming. For that, we thank you.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.