EVOMO: Whats your current bike set up?
EK: Right now I have a brand new bike. I’ve only got one 7 hour ride on it. It’s a Gary Fisher, HiFi Delux 29’er with a Fox RL 29 front shock and a Fox RP2 rear shock. I got the bike in the beginning of the winter so I haven’t been able to really see what she’s got yet, but the one ride I did was sweet! Currently, I own 6 bikes which really doesn’t make my wife too happy. They’re all over the place!
EVOMO: Whats your all time favorite trail?
EK: Thats a difficult question to answer as it often depends on the mood. However, right now I’d say my favorite trail system in Duluth is about a 3 minute ride from my house. It’s called the Piedmont Trails with about 10 miles of trails strewn about the network. I usually try to ride them all when I work out in there, so I’ll just name the whole system as a favorite. I should mention thought that the most my mind has ever been blown by a trail was last fall in Whistler, B.C. when I rode atrail called, “A River Runs Through It”. Wow! What an experience.
EVOMO: When did you first get into mountain biking?
EK: I got into mt. biking seriously about 10 years ago after a trip to the southwest. I had developed a knee problem (torn meniscus) from running. While on the trip my buddy and I were riding and running quite a bit. After a work out I noticed a sizable lump protruding from my knee. Once I got home the doc told me he’d schedule me for surgery in the morning and it was time to start riding a bike exclusively. I entered a bike race with no training or real experience whatsoever and did fairly well. I think I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I was hooked.
EVOMO: What has been your best finish in racing mountain bikes and what do you think contributed to that finish?
EK: My best finish was in 2006 when I finished 3rd overall in the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival – Short and Fat. The Cheq is a huge mt. bike festival in northern Wisconsin and to finish 3rd overall out of 800 riders was pretty cool. I think what helped me the most was having the confidence to know I could ride with the top guys there. I had them marked and I did my best to stay on their wheels. Once the break happened I noticed the silence around me and realized we had dropped the field. At that point I tried to tell myself that I deserved to be among these good riders and that I in fact was one of them. I tried to be smart once my position was fairly established and I just kept pinning it as hard as I possibly could, constantly repeating…”No Mistakes, No Mistakes” over and over.
EVOMO: What is your favorite part of your bike?
EK: My favorite part of my bike is my saddle; it fits me like a glove. And, trust me when you’re primary races are 12 hour solos that’s important.
EVOMO: I hear the state drink is milk, whats up with that?
EK: Mmmm, milk. Gotta love it, gotta have it. Some would say milk is the state’s drink of choice, but they all live on farms. The people I roll with go for Summit Extra Pale Ale.
EVOMO: You ever see a Sasquatch out in the mountains while riding?
EK: Funny you should ask. I’m a big believer in Sasquatch and I constantly keep my eyes open for him. I even have a plan for what I’m going to do when I meet him; it involves the aforementioned Summit and shreddin’ some trail. So far the closest I’ve come to him is some very large deer trying to rip me off the bike. Really, they’re crazy around here.
EVOMO: Is there any truth to the rumor that Minnesota wants to join Canada?
EK: I know in the past there was a movement to secede from the Union, but it turned out to be like 9 people who live in that little box at the top of the state that pokes up into Canada. But, hey after the experience I recently had out in Whistler, its worth considering.
EVOMO: Would you race a stage race like trans-rockies or BC Bike race?
EK: A huge stage race like the Trans-Rockies has always been a dream for me. It’s something my training partner and I always talk about when we’re on epic style rides.
EVOMO: Whats the best thing about mountain biking?
EK: The best thing about mt. biking for me is that feeling you get when everything is dialed in and you’re really rippin’. Sometimes it just feels like nothing can stop you. And, there’s also those times when it’s just you, your bike and the woods. You really see a lot of cool stuff out there. Everything just melts away, I absolutely love it. Thanks to EVOMO, it just keeps getting better!