Brian Hanson

Brand Ambassador

What kind of cyclist are you?
I am a little kid on a bike. I giggle when riding through water. I like riding through dirt/snow more than pavement but I like logging miles on a road bike, too. Fast and downhill makes me smile the most these days.

How long has cycling been a part of your life? When did it become more than just “riding a bike”?
Not too long ago I saw an old home video of me as a little kid riding my tricycle. I was obsessed with riding it in the grass, dirt, and the biggest jump in the world – the curb at the end of the driveway. I squealed with joy every time I rode where I wasn’t supposed to. When I got my first 12” bike with training wheels it was the same way. That tiny, crappy bike exponentially increased the size of my world. Each bike since then has done the same. As long as I can remember, my bike has been my conduit for exploration and happiness.

The cycling accomplishment you’re proudest of to date?
I finished the 2015 running of the Dirty Kanza 200 in 20.5 hours.  It was muddy, nasty and my first time on a bike over 100 miles.

Favorite place you’ve been on a bike so far?
Ecuador. Benton Hunt and I raced the 2014 Vuelta al Cotopaxi. It was a 2-day mountain bike stage race around the world’s tallest active volcano. I struggle to describe how different everything is down there.  It’s also one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

Favorite place to daydream about that you haven’t yet ridden?
Scandinavia, Iceland, Alaska, Antarctica, Cuba, Multiple days on the Colorado Trail, Maah Dah Hey trail, Twin Cities to Duluth, Arrowhead 135, New Zealand, Tierra del Fuego. I’ve only scratched the surface in 33 years so far.

How do you describe what the bicycle means to you?
They’re like water, food or shelter. I need bikes to function. They temper my competitive spirit and they feed my hunger for exploration.

How will your future as a cyclist unfold?
Hopefully I don’t get any slower. It’d be cool if I learned how to jump better and ride faster. For now I think I’ll log more miles and race more. Many, many years from now I want to be that old gray bearded man who yells “on your left” while passing kids ¼ my age on a downhill. That daydream makes me smile.

Who inspires you and your riding?
Mom & Dad. They taught me how to ride. They provided broken garage sale bikes that I turned into one or two ride-able bikes. I’m humbled by how they’ve supported all my pursuits in life with genuine enthusiasm and love (and worry from Mom). My wife Ashley inspires me to ride further and faster. Some days we’re equal, some (most) days she’s faster. We push each other to be better, for better or worse. We have a very high competition level between us. We half-wheel each other on the commute into work.

Favorite Salsa model and why?
Fargo. It’s a knife in a gunfight and it wins. I’ve gone to war with that bike and I think I’ll break before it does.

Favorite pre, during, and post ride/race food and bevvies?
Pre – Eggs, Potatoes, breads, fish, yogurt
During – Cliff Bars, Waffles, Hammer Nutrition gels, Scratch Labs
Post – Creamed Smoked Roe & fizzy yellow beer

When you’re not cycling…
I’m an outdoor dog.  I’m not too good in the house. I tend to wreck the furniture and scratch the floors. Skiing is the other main love I have. I can’t remember not knowing how to ski. It’s a big part of my life and my extended family. Some great, life-changing moments happened in the snow for me. If I’m not biking or skiing, you can find me hunting, gardening, fishing, camping, in the Boundary Waters or backpacking. Maybe a hockey game or two. I have too many hobbies.

What don’t you leave home without on a ride?
If it’s a race or ride that I’m unsure of or nervous about I bring my wife’s Turk’s Head bracelet she gave me. It’s a sailor’s bracelet that tightens up with use, sea spray, and sun to the point where it needs to be cut off ones wrist. It gets stronger as conditions get worse. Seeing that bracelet smashes any thoughts of quitting or letting up.