This was just a few years ago. You had to wait days, sometimes weeks, to get results from major races and unless you were winning World Cup races, the major MTB sites would never talk about you. I knew there were a ton of great MTB races and impressive MTB racers out there, neither of which were getting the exposure they deserved.
Do you have mtb ambassadors that report to you from every state for the site?
Yes, just this season we launched the I Ride Adventures/MTB Race News race team. The team includes 5 riders from across the country who report on races in their region. It gives us unequalled insight into the racing scene to have our reporters racing in these events.
How do you select them?
I selected them based on their history in the sport, background with writing/blogging, and ability to compete in some of the toughest races in the country. The team reports on everything from XC races to multi-day stage races and all our riders can hold their own in any of these events.
The team’s primary sponsor is i Ride Adverntures. i Ride is an amazing mountain bike touring and training company in Eureka, Montana. It’s run by Todd Tanner who is a former World Cup downhiller. Todd rubbed elbows with Shaun Palmer and Nico Vouilloz back in the day. Todd is amazing on the bike. He does training camps and guided tours in some of the most incredible terrain in the country. Eureka is just outside Glacier National Park, the scenery and trail riding up there is unparalleled. Hours and hours of the most beautiful riding in the States and Todd knows every inch of it. You can learn more at www.irideadventures.com
Is the site profitable?
We sell advertising on the site to support the race team. The team in return supplies content for the site giving our sponsors the exposure they are looking for. We aren’t making a profit but that really isn’t the main goal. The goal is to increase the exposure of U.S. mountain bike racing across the country and help the sport continue to grow. If I could get consistent, solid support for our team and racers that would be huge step in the right direction.
Do you have a journalism background?
My journalism history includes reading every mountain bike related story I could get a hold of from the time I started racing in 1993. In the 90s the coverage was great but once Lance Armstrong started winning Tours the “mainstream” cycling media abandoned mountain bike racing like rats on a sinking ship.
The map feature is super cool. Any more rich media treats coming?
We do have some other exciting things coming online. Our archive should be up and running in the next month. The other stuff I am going to keep on the DL. I don’t want anyone else stealing our ideas, they’re good.
You and your wife, Jen Hanks, both race. Who did the Breck Epic this year?
We both really wanted to race. We both had registered but Jen works for the local school district and the kids were back in school that week which meant I was on my own.
How was the Breck Epic?
I know it was longer this year and you had some weather. The changes Mike McCormack made to this year’s Epic were all great and very well received. The race is a great combination of suffering and head-to-head racing sprinkled with killer singletrack on top.
Is it fun to race and blog?
It is fun. It’s a lot of work but I know the readers of MTBRaceNews.com enjoy reading about the races we cover and that makes it worth the effort. I like talking about racing but I hate talking about myself which is part of the reason I wanted to do a new site and not just a personal blog.
PCP2P is in it's 2nd year, anything new cued up?
Each year we try to make it a more enjoyable experience for the riders while keeping the course as close as possible to the previous year. We want the riders to feel good about their accomplishment of competing and have a good time at the race venue. I think we do a pretty good job.
Was it hard to pull a P2P race together?
It’s a fair bit of work to put together 78-miles of singletrack racing. You need permission from a lot of different people. Park City is an amazing place to ride your mountain bike. Once people come and experience it it’s easy to bring them back the next year.
What are you doing better this year then last?
I think our feedzones were better staffed this year and we ironed out some sections of the course that didn’t flow quite as nicely.
Your updates for races are most immediate. How does that work? Do race directors have access to your site?
I have a few people I work with beyond the team who help me get results from major races. They don’t have access to the site. I like to verify everything before it goes live. It is the same reason we don’t do much “user generated” content. I like to know things happened the way we say they happened prior to publishing.
The team has been a huge benefit. They all love racing and get reports and results from their race almost immediately. They are a great bunch of riders.
Do you edit their work?
I do some editing of material. Mostly just adding punctuation and stuff. I don’t omit or delete stuff.
Any plans for some printed material?
No. I like the immediacy of internet and I think that is what our readers like.
Who is on the MTB team and how do you get picked?
The team includes:
I hand picked all these folks except Matt who contacted me and has a great deal of experience as a writer and mountain biker.
How big is your team?
Right now we have 6 but I would like it to grow a bit next season if we can find the support. The more support we get the more exciting mountain bike content we can generate.
Do you and Jen both work on the site?
My wife, Jen, helps a ton. We team up at races and she helps me get results up faster than any other site. After a race she’ll drive and I post results and write a report or vice versa.
At Breck Epic she was sitting at the finish line with a laptop entering results as the riders crossed the line.
What did you do before this?
My real job is a Nurse Practitioner and the University of Utah Orthopaedic Center. I really love mountain bike racing and want to do anything I can to support the sport and help it grow.