Kurt Refsnider
Kurt Refsnider
Kurt Refsnider

Kurt Refsnider

Prescott, Arizona

Cyclists who ride and grin like little kids are my biggest inspiration. They're ones who ride for the sake of riding. I'm also incredibly impressed by the master’s riders who go out and take on the toughest mountain bike ultras. I hope that I can have the mental fortitude that those folks do when I reach their age.

Kurt's Kit

I started riding bikes enthusiastically as a kid, and when I was 13, I somehow became fixated on riding a century. So I bought a used Panasonic Team road bike for $100, fixed it up with my dad's help, and spent the summer training. Then I rode 100 miles, and ever since then, I've been riding and racing bikes. For me, riding has always been an outlet, a time for solitude, a means for exploring, and a tool for getting places. Racing made the focus more on goals and learning.

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What kind of cyclist are you?
I mostly ride on dirt, whether that’s gravel roads, singletrack, jeep trails, or dry washes. I like riding in quiet places away from towns, cars, and crowds. I love everything from short after-work rides in the waning daylight to multi-day bikepacking races to month-long adventures through riding places that I’ve never been and know little about.

How long has cycling been a part of your life? When did it become more than just “riding a bike”?
I started riding bikes enthusiastically as a kid, and when I was 13, I somehow became fixated on riding a century. So I bought a used Panasonic Team road bike for $100, fixed it up with my dad’s help, and spent the summer training. Then I rode 100 miles, and ever since then, I’ve been riding and racing bikes. For me, riding has always been an outlet, a time for solitude, a means for exploring, and a tool for getting places. Racing made the focus more on goals and learning.

The cycling accomplishment you’re proudest of to date?
I have trouble singling out one single accomplishment. Winning the Tour Divide in 2011 was a huge feat for me. It opened my eyes to what was physically and mentally possible for me as an athlete. Bikepacking across Utah and Colorado alone for a month a few summers ago helped me figure out what was most important to me and what needed redirecting in my life. Bikepacking through the Alps for a month made me realize that I need to make an effort to spend more time abroad. And teaching Geology through Bikepacking for the first time and watching 8 college students fall in love with bikepacking started steering me down a path of wanting to do more to share my enthusiasm with others.

Favorite place you’ve been on a bike so far?
Bikes have taken me so many places, but some of the most memorable are the Robertson Pasture Trail in Utah’s Abajo Mountains, the Cataract Lake segment of the Colorado Trail, the French-Italian border south of Entrancque, and the Scottish Highlands above Kinlochleven.

Favorite place to daydream about that you haven’t yet ridden?
I long to explore the Andes and the Atacama Desert by bike, and I’d love to spend more time in the Alps.

How do you describe what the bicycle means to you?
See “how long has cycling been part of your life” question above.

How will your future as a cyclist unfold?
I’m going to continue riding my bike as fast as I can, and I’m going to continue seeking out dirt routes that let me explore new places. The notable change is that I’m now making a concerted effort to help others find success and empowerment in bikepacking and endurance mountain bike races through my coaching and consulting venture, Ultra MTB Consulting (www.ultraMTB.net…can you please include a link to this?). I want to help more people become as excited about bikes as I am.

Who inspires you and your riding?
Cyclists who ride and grin like little kids are my biggest inspiration. They’re ones who ride for the sake of riding. I’m also incredibly impressed by the master’s riders who go out and take on the toughest mountain bike ultras. I hope that I can have the mental fortitude that those folks do when I reach their age.

Favorite Salsa model and why?
I can’t choose between the El Mariachi Ti and the Spearfish - I’ve had so many unforgettable memories aboard both of them in races and bikepacking trips all over the world. They’re comfortable, reliable, and designed with exactly what I do in mind.

Favorite pre, during, and post ride/race food and bevvies?
Pre-ride: coffee, orange juice, and a banana
During-ride: maple almond butter, beef sticks, Lara Bars, and maybe a donut if I’m lucky
Post-ride: A smoothie and a waffle

When you’re not cycling…
As of late, if I’m not cycling and not working, I’m most likely either working on improving something on my little house, planning the next adventure, or reading about some aspect of cycling-related physiology or performance.

What don’t you leave home without on a ride?
I never head out for a ride without a goal. It might be a training goal (e.g., some specific kind of hill efforts), enjoyment goal (e.g., find some fun, techy trails and grin), or exploration goal (e.g., see if there’s a way to get directly from Groom Creek to Bean Peaks).