Two weeks before the 24 Hours of Moab mountain bike race, fate was beating up local rider and mountain bike racer Kalan Beisel. He had won a national championship as part of a 4-person men's team at the 24 Hours of Moab Mountain Bike Race in 2009, but he wasn't entered to race this year. It seemed there would be no defending his title. And then he received a phone call from his racing buddy Len Zanni. Beisel, 28, landed on a dream team and won a second national championship.
Beisel graduated from Manitou Springs High School. He has raced mountain bikes for about five years and has been a pro for two years. He currently rides for Team Pro Cycling and is a scholarship rider for Carmichael Training Systems. He also manages to squeeze in time to make a living as a hairstylist at Genesis Salon.
He recently answered a few questions for PikesPeakSports.us. Here is the interview. In 2009, you won with teammates Russel Finsterwald, J.J. Clark and Rob Sousa, some familiar names in the C. Springs race scene. This year, you rode with a collection of guys from western Colorado (Len Zanni, Ross
Schnell and Jay Henry). What was that like?
In 2009, racing with my Pro Cycling teammates and winning our
first national championship was one of the coolest feelings ever! We went into 2010 expecting to have the same team defend the title, but things didn't work out. Turns out, getting four fast guys together to race a 24-hour race is harder than it sounds, because two weeks before the race my friend Len Zanni called me to ask and see if I was interested to ride on his HoneyStinger/Trek team. He was also having a hard time finding a fourth rider. After I heard the line up for the team, I couldn't say no! I couldn't believe I had the opportunity to race on a team with some of the top mountain bike racers in the nation. Of course, this also put huge pressure on me to perform. I was almost more intimidated by my own team more than the race itself! Lol! Thankfully, I had one of the best
races of my life and pulled my weight for the team. I also ended up posting the fastest night lap of the race two years in a row!
What was the most challenging thing about this race and how did you deal with it?
The 2-to-6 a.m. night laps are the most challenging part of the race. Getting motivated to tear your legs off at three in the morning isn't the easiest thing in the world. I figured out - after doing four 24-hour races on a team - that staying awake the whole time is much easier than falling asleep and having to wake up feeling groggy and tired. This year I just started pounding coffee and Redbull starting around 2 a.m. to stay awake until the sun came up. Good music and friends help too!
When you look back on this race, what will you remember?
Looking back I will remember tents, dirt covering everything I own, sand, standing at the starting line shivering waiting for Jay to come in, lots of dirty chamois, Ross being rad, Honey Stinger waffles, stars and stripes, and one hell of a good time!
You rode the last lap. What was that like, knowing you were in the lead and that your team and another championship were waiting for you at the finish?
Coming in for the team's last lap was quite the honor. I knew as long as I didn't break my bike in half, or something like that, we would take the win. At that point we had a 45-minute lead and victory was in sight. Crossing the line and hearing the cheers from everyone was a feeling I'll never forget. I've never really felt so proud and overwhelmed with happiness. Very cool!
So with future 24 Hours of Moab races in mind, what do you think of the words "Kalan Beisel, Men's Solo rider"?
Someday you will definitely hear the words "Kalan" and "solo" in the same sentence, not exactly sure how soon that will be though! Not sure I'm crazy enough ... yet..
Looking ahead, what cycling goals are you aiming for in 2011 and beyond?
In 2011 my goals will remain the same as last year's. I will be racing the National ProXCT series and as many local races as I can squeeze in there. I will also be racing the Bailey Hundo again and thinking I might race the Leadville 100. My main and most important focus is 2011 MTB National Championships.