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2012 PikesPeakSports.us Sand Creek Cycling Team

PikesPeakSports.us and Sand Creek Sports are proud to introduce Cam Chambers and Tracy Thelen as the first members of the PikesPeakSports.us Sand Creek Cycling Team. They'll race in the five-event Ascent Cycling Series this summer and blog about their experiences on PikesPeakSports.us. Both are prolific writers and bring plenty of mountain biking experience to the team. Cam has won several single-speed national championships. Tracy is a former runner and triathlete who raced a mountain bike for the first time in the 2008 Sand Creek events. We'll add photos and an occasional video interview to the mix. Stay tuned ... this will be a fun ride!


Cam Chambers, 30
Sales Manager, Carmichael Training Systems
Blogs: Summertime and the racing's easy ** Party Time, Excellent! ** Offering to Palmer Park ** It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ** BC3

How long have you been riding a mountain bike and how did you get started?
I have been riding mountain bikes literally my whole life. I got a 24 inch Giant Awesome when I was in 3rd grade and graduating off the Schwinn BMX. I was lucky enough to have old moto trails in the creek behind my house and I rode my bike back on those trails as much as I could possibly find the time to. I did not really know it was mountain biking at the time, I was just playing in the woods. When I was in 7th grade my Dad opened a Bike Shop that he still runs today. So from that time on I have been obsessed with riding bikes on dirt.

Tell us about your best race, or best experience on a mountain bike.
I have had a lot of memorable races. Winning the 24 hour Solo Elite National Championship in 2005 is probably the result I am the most proud of. My friend and colleague here at CTS Daniel Matheny and I won the Duo 24 hour National Championship last season at Palmer Park. That was very gratifying and a lot of fun to do it with someone else, especially Daniel. I ride bike for the experiences and those unique sensations, and the cool thing is it doesn’t come around just from winning National Championship, I am just as stoked when I have a great ride with friends and we are pushing each other and ripping our favorite trails.

What do you like about the Ascent Cycling Series?
A local series is such a great celebration of the Mountain Bike lifestyle. There is no massive planning or rearranging your whole life to make it out to an event. You wake up in your bed, you go to work, live your life like normal, except you get add the extraordinarily special element of getting on a start line and laying it down with all you got. It just cuts through all the BS and gets right to the core of bike racing, a start line a finish line and let’s see who is the fastest. The Ascent Cycling series provides us with a great environment to do just that. Andy knows how to put a race together and knows that for us the focus is on the quality of course. All of us as MTB racers love it that these courses don’t worry about the fact someone is going to get hurt, we just except it as part of racing. Too many promoters sanitize things down so much that we might as well just be doing the Acacia Park group ride. You can count on Andy and his crew to put together a race that determines the fastest Mountain Biker.

Why do you ride?
Wow that takes a whole lifetime to explain. There are a zillion reasons and counting. I love feeling strong, healthy and competent. I love the bike itself and all the cool gear you get to buy, use and wear out. I love exploring through the hills and looking out at the Mountains and knowing intimately what it looks, feels, and sounds like to be in the heart of it. I love going to new places and riding new trails. I love going downhill, I like to be scared and then conquer that fear. I like having goals and being motivated to push my limits. I love riding with my wife, my Dad, all my friends and family and sharing with them experiences so special and meaningful to me. Riding makes me a better person, better husband, better employee. It is therapy, stress release, and medication that I simply can’t operate without. To have something that defines your life so completely is pretty rare, and I feel extremely fortunate.

Where is your favorite place to ride in the Colorado Springs area, and why?
Oh man, that is also tough. It changes all the time. I am always riding down something new thinking, “This is my Favorite trail in the world!” I live on Cheyenne Blvd at the mouth of the Canyon and riding up in Cheyenne Canyon is probably my favorite. Descending Pipeline is the ride that I get Jones’ing for the most when I can’t do it for awhile. It is a long descent, super fast, rocky, plenty of places to take chances. You can get full on exhausted from descending, that is pretty awesome. But all that said, a good day ripping around Palmer Park with my main man Daniel is really quite impossible to beat.

When you're not riding or working, what do you like to do?
Ahhh, I am not a well rounded person. And I am OK with that. Actually this winter I started going to the Rock Climbing gym, Sport Climb, and I do really enjoy Bouldering. I am pretty horrible at it but I certainly enjoy trying. I need to start going a little more outside. I went up in the Canyon a couple of nights ago and was basically pathetic. I also like sitting down and drinking beer, that is probably higher upon the list than rock climbing.

Tracy Thelen, 32
Physical Therapist
Blogs: Counting down to the Ascent Cycling Series ** Bear Creek Terrace ** A "hail" of a good time! Ascent Cycling Series Race 1 **
Pre-riding Palmer Park ** Racing and resting ** Dusting off the cobwebs

How long have you been riding a mountain bike and how did you get started?
I got my first mountain bike in early 2005, shortly after I met Nick. I was a runner who did triathlons and he was a mountain biker, so I took the plunge to fat tires. Managed to warp my rear brake rotor within two weeks of buying that first bike! I wasn't that great at riding, but I was good at falling. Nick made an awesome teacher and I was soon starting to actually like mountain biking. Did a few Xterras (off road triathlons) in 2006 and my first mountain bike races in 2008 - at the Sand Creek Series, actually!

Tell us about your best race, or best experience on a mountain bike.
One of my best experiences on the mountain bike came in the 2010 24 Hours in the Sage - racing with Nick as a co-ed duo. It was 2:00 AM and I was cruising through one of the technical sections of the course under the illumination of my lights and the full moon. Having fun, riding hard - then I realized that back in 2005, when Nick raced with one of his friends, I wasn't able to ride any of that section of trail - during the day! What a difference a few years and some time on the bike made in my perspective of what was rideable or not.

What do you like about the Ascent Cycling Series?
I've always liked the Ascent Cycling Series - it's local (no travel!), inexpensive and well organized. It's a great way to spend a Wednesday night and the competition is usually pretty fierce as there are a lot of fast locals in all categories. It's also a great place for beginning riders - like I was back in 2008 - to get an introduction to racing on trails we all know.

Why do you ride?
Why not ride?! I've switched over to mountain biking from triathlons because it's a whole new experience. I get to spend time with Nick and meet some really cool people. Long days on the bike, exploring new trails, getting to see things I'd never see stuck on the roads... It's everyone's dream of freedom, topped off with the rush of floating down the hills. Besides, I really like to eat!

Where is your favorite place to ride in the Colorado Springs area, and why?
Who can pick just one favorite spot? The canyon makes for some epic days and is the perfect escape in cold, rainy weather. Palmer Park has cool trails and fun rocks to play on, even if the rocks win half the time. Cheyenne Mountain State Park is usually quiet and has some fun trails, with and without rocks. My favorite is where-ever I just finished riding!

When you're not riding or working, what do you like to do?
If I'm not torturing my patients or roaming the hills on two wheels, I'm usually home playing with the kittens. Or online, rambling about the latest race or ride on my blog - www.tracythelen.blogspot.com. Or in the kitchen, working on some gluten free creation for us to enjoy. As those who have tasted the outcome, I'm starting to get pretty good!

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