Eszter Horanyi
Eszter Horanyi

Eszter Horanyi

Tucson, AZ

Life has been learned from the bike. Love, passion, patience, humility, grace, failure, success, friendship, forgiveness of self and others, joy, pain...
Riding a bike has taught me to be happy with the present moment.
Over the years, riding has become my art form. Putting together a good ride, whether that means a fast and smooth race or just going out for a spin around the local trails and clearing all the crux points, I try to do things with some level of grace and beauty.

Eszter's Kit

I started riding to school occasionally when I was in second grade. In 5th grade, I got in an argument with a girl on the school bus and swore I'd never take it again, thus starting a life of commuting by bike (and rollerblades, but that has been phased out). I transitioned from a swimmer to a cyclist early in college when I decided I wanted to do triathlons. A triathlon never happened, but cycling stuck and the University of Colorado Cycling team was a huge reason I got into racing.

Read More

What kind of cyclist are you?
A happy one? I haven’t ridden drop bars in the better part of half a decade and riding on roads scares me, so I guess that makes me a mountain biker, though I hate labels - I wish we could all just get along. I’ve done nearly every type of riding and racing possible over the past 15 years, from racing on the road and track, to working as a courier in Boulder and Denver, to racing cyclocross, XC mountain bike racing, 100-mile mountain bike racing, and bikepack racing and touring. I’ve never done a gravel grinder, nor do I intend to, so I guess I haven’t done everything. I view the bike both as a utility tool that lets me explore and cover long distances and as a plaything to go ride rocks and tech in Tucson. It’s pretty awesome that a single bike can do both so effectively. I guess right now I’ve settled on doing a minor amount of racing for fun in the winters, and racing “for fun” is actually pretty challenging when you’ve devoted a decade to racing “seriously”, and being a bike tourist with no ambitions besides seeing the world in the summers. Racing lets me keep a high base level of fitness that lets me do the big rides that I want to during the summer. 

How long has cycling been a part of your life? When did it become more than just “riding a bike”?
I started riding to school occasionally when I was in second grade. In 5th grade, I got in an argument with a girl on the school bus and swore I’d never take it again, thus starting a life of commuting by bike (and rollerblades, but that has been phased out). I transitioned from a swimmer to a cyclist early in college when I decided I wanted to do triathlons. A triathlon never happened, but cycling stuck and the University of Colorado Cycling team was a huge reason I got into racing. 

Early on, it wasn’t about cycling, it was about trying to impress one cute boy or another (cyclists have such nice legs!). Once I got hooked, I never looked back. Cycling has dominated all of my life choices since then, whether I was looking to race fast, have the flexibility to tour, or was just surrounding myself with other people who loved bikes. 

The cycling accomplishment you’re proudest of to date?
Finishing our Continental Divide National Scenic Trail tour last summer with Scott. I’ve always wanted a part of creating a bikepacking route, and this, to our knowledge, was the longest singletrack-based route put together. A similar route hadn’t been done in 30 years. The original pioneers of riding along the Divide, the Moe brothers, were the inspiration of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, and had, like us, tried to ride as much of the CDT as possible, linked together by dirt roads. It took us four months, a massive amount of hike-a-bike, and a whole lot of dealing with the unknown, but each day was exciting and different. We were accepted by the thru-hiking community and met a ton of amazing people. I’d also like to think we brought awareness to the idea of riding bikes on the CDT, a concept that is strongly opposed by many of the people and organizations involved with the CDT and other national long-distance trails such as the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trail. 
 
Favorite place you’ve been on a bike so far?
Tucson, AZ. From November to April. There’s so much variety nearby, from the rocks and sand of the desert all the way to riding in the woods on top of Mt. Lemmon at 9,000 feet. If I ever get bored there, I should just go ahead and sell my bikes. 

Favorite place to daydream about that you haven’t yet ridden?
South America. Pictures that come from down there look absolutely amazing. 
 
How do you describe what the bicycle means to you?
Life. Life has been learned from the bike. Love, passion, patience, humility, grace, failure, success, friendship, forgiveness of self and others, joy, pain…
Riding a bike has taught me to be happy with the present moment. If you’re out racing the Tour Divide and hating the current moment, only waiting to get to the next town, it’s going to suck. But if you look around and realize that the moment is perfect as is, there’s a whole lot of joy to be found in places and situations that could otherwise be seen as suffering. Over the years, riding has become my art form. Putting together a good ride, whether that means a fast and smooth race or just going out for a spin around the local trails and clearing all the crux points, I try to do things with some level of grace and beauty. 
 
How will your future as a cyclist unfold?
Who knows? When I was a road racer, I never thought I’d mountain bike. When I finished by first XC race, I would have never dreamed of racing a 100-miler. When I finished my first 24-hour race, I’d never guessed I’d race Tour Divide. When I finished the Arizona Trail Race, I’d never imagined I’d retire from racing and live off the bike for four months the following summer. I have stopped trying to predict the future and just take it as it comes…hopefully with some semblance of grace. 
 
Who inspires you and your riding?
People who don’t take himself or herself or their riding too seriously. 
 
Favorite Salsa model and why?
Spearfish - Because of it’s versatility. I can take it bikepacking on dirt roads or trails. I can ride smooth trail and rough trail. It’ll hold it’s own on biggish chunk. Day rides, four month tours, it can do it all. 

Favorite pre, during, and post ride/race food and bevvies?
Whatever I can find in my house? I love greasy spoon diners for anti-bonk breakfasts before big rides. 2 eggs, toast, hash browns, and bacon.  Maybe some French toast if I’m going really big. For mid-ride lunches or bikepacking dinners, burritos rule supreme. I get pretty excited if I have some leftover pizza to take along. 

When you’re not cycling…
I’m trail running, planning my next trip, or eating good food. Or I’m taking care of the life details, like working or sleeping, so that I can engage in the previously mentioned activities. 
 
What don’t you leave home without on a ride?
A bike? Though on some routes, I’m convinced I’d move faster without one. It would be easier to think of the things that I HAVE forgotten on a ride.  Tubes, pumps, food, water…