Adventure June 25, 2012

Wheel Power

From Olympic cyclists and world-class mountain bikers to those who defy gravity on skateboards and dirt bikes, Idaho is full of wheel pioneers.

Sun Valley isn’t a very easy location to get to. It’s far enough off the beaten path that getting in and out of this place can be a challenge. So you really have to want to come to Sun Valley to get here. But once most folks do arrive, they often want to stay. It’s easy to get around, especially if you like to a ride a bike, and there’s just something about Sun Valley and its surroundings that sparks people’s passions—especially people dedicated to sports that involve wheels. That’s why we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on seven individuals and their families who have made marks in wheeled sports—whether two-wheeled, four-wheeled, motorized or pedal-powered.

1. Jens Peterson, 24, may spend his mornings roasting the well-known coffee beans of K&K and Grace Organics, but he’s also known for serving out another kind of local grind. Anyone glancing over at the Hailey Skate Park on their way to the south side of town is likely to notice Peterson’s lanky silhouette bobbing up and down along the lip of the park’s bowl or sessioning another of the park’s features.

Having grown up spending his afternoons between the Valley’s skateparks and Baldy’s slopes, Peterson discovered his passion for board sports early on. However, during his pursuit of competitive snowboarding after high school, Peterson says he grew weary of the costs, both financially and emotionally.

“With snowboarding, I loved it, but after competing for a certain amount of time, it became more like a job than being something fun to do,” Peterson says.

After realizing the competitive aspect of riding didn’t make him happy, he turned his full attention to skateboarding.

“With skateboarding, it was the only thing, and it still kind of is, that feels like it’s totally mine. It’s for me. It’s by me. And no one can take it away,” Peterson says.

And, unlike snowboarding and many other sports, Peterson said he appreciates skateboarding for its accessibility and versatility.

“When it comes down to it, skateboarding is wonderful because you can be in your normal clothes and if it’s dry outside and you have a skateboard in your hand—you’re skateboarding,” Peterson says.

Peterson had spent the last few years living in and skating around Southern California until he returned to the Valley in Fall 2011.

Since returning, Peterson said he is happy to be back because the Valley’s skateparks offer a sense of community and support that he did not find easily in other cities. Peterson, however, is the first to admit skating in a small mountain town offers its own set of challenges.

As expected, the combination of winter and outside-only skate parks bring a slew of months when Peterson cannot practice skating and keep his skills intact. He says in the spring, he always feels rusty and often has lost a trick or two that he will have to relearn come summer.

The Valley is also limiting because it offers few opportunities for him to practice his street skating (skateboarding that takes place outside of a park setting).

“For me, it’s always been about being a well-rounded skater,” Peterson says. “It’s about knowing how to do all the tricks you know how to do on any feature or in any sort of circumstance. If you’re a real skateboarder and you know what you’re doing, you can carry out your skating under any sort of conditions.”

Not being allowed to skate around outside of the parks hinders Peterson’s goal to know every trick he can do on surfaces other than those in the park.

Despite the limitations skating in the Valley can offer, Peterson remains positive when he skateboards.

Fellow skater and friend Tal Roberts described Peterson as a skater driven to have fun. Roberts said he envies Peterson, not only because of his talent but because he looks like he’s having a great time every single day that he is on a board.

And although Peterson finds it easy to be positive when he skates, he said he also makes an effort to pass that mentality along.

The skate park offers one of the few venues in any community where people of all different ages interact and bond. Peterson said he sees this as an opportunity for himself and others to change the negative stereotypes skateboarding has had in the past and to show younger generations how to be respectful skateboarders and overall positive people.

For Peterson, being a skateboarder has created a lifestyle that keeps him focused on being present in every moment and truly enjoying how he spends his time. Although Peterson could be a competitive skater, he said he loves the sport too much and never wants to burn himself out on it.

This means that for the time being, he plans to remain in the Valley, roasting beans, perfecting his backside 360 and his ability to do tricks switch (with the opposite foot forward) and all the while, loving every moment of it. -Hailey Tucker

2. Don Wiseman first took up serious cycling nearly four decades ago. He said the sport was so far off the radar that he felt like he was part of a cult.

“Cycling just wasn’t the same back then,” the 57-year-old Wiseman recalls of his college days in Bozeman, Montana. “The sport was very immature, and cyclists were sort of in this subculture. To us, bikes weren’t toys. They represented so much more than a ride down the sidewalk. They were art.”

He recalls how the Tour de France, which wasn’t widely covered in the U.S., awed him and fellow cyclists at Montana State.

“We’d find a French newspaper or magazine, weeks or months after the race, and try to dissect it and understand French,” he says. “We’d take it to a French professor at the university to get him to translate the race story for us.”

Wiseman says he and other cyclists started putting on their own races, Bozeman style. “They were organized, but they were on back roads or in in back alleys or the middle of nowhere. Spectators were friends and girlfriends, not like the crowds today.

“We just always lived cycling. Still do,” he says.

In 1982, Wiseman moved to the Sun Valley area and opened Sun Summit Ski & Cycle on Warm Springs Road, which became a true center for everything cycling.

“We put on events, we promoted races. We did one thing in the summer—we were bikes. There were no fishing rods. No running shoes. Just bikes. People liked that one simple focus, he explains. “We never advertised, but people always found us.”

He sold the shop 11 years ago, but his influence over the growth of local cycling is undeniable, from inspiring kids to ride, mentoring others to go into the sport, and continuing to promote and support the culture of cycling.

In fact, he’s the guy you see riding his bike year-round, no matter what the weather. “I guess it’s how people started recognizing me as a cyclist, like, ‘Oh, he’s the one that rides in the winter, through a snowstorm, late at night,’” he says laughing. “People have called me after seeing me riding in the dark and say, ‘Hey I saw you out tonight and you need to get another blinker.’ Somehow they know it’s me.

“People would feel better if they just rode bikes. A bike is way more interactive than a car. Cars are from Mars,” he says.

On his rides, Wiseman has struck up conversations with cyclists on the trail and ended up offering his house as a place for them to stay. Once, when riding through Australia, a stranger at a public market started talking with him about cycling and ended up inviting Wiseman and his wife to dine with her at her winery.

“When you ride, you can’t help but meet all sorts of people with interesting stories,” he says.

Wiseman says his own racing career was a bit inconsistent. “I put myself through college, worked full time and then started working a career as soon as I graduated. Unfortunately, work interferes with athletic development,” he says.

His biggest and last athletic achievement was the 1990 UCI Mountain Bike Worlds in Durango, Colorado, where he qualified to race as a master and placed 9th in the downhill and 19th in the cross country race. “After the Worlds, I realized I could not continue to race full time and also make a living, so I focused on work and jumped into promoting and supporting races locally and statewide.”

That’s when he began organizing and promoting the Stanley/Sun Valley stages of the Women’s Challenge ladies professional cycling race. “To be involved in a race for 17 years and never get paid, you just do it because it’s what you believed in,” he says.

“In the end I had dreams, but limited access and knowledge,” he said of his early desire to race. “This most likely is one of the reasons I enjoy being the executive director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. It provides support and a path for young athletes to succeed as winter athletes. A vehicle like that didn’t exist for cycling when I was young,” he says.

Though he’s pushing 60, Wiseman owns a pump bike and gets out on the track with kids young enough to be his grandchildren. “Here I’m 57 and there’s a little kid next to me who’s eight and he’s going to show me something— I love it,” he says, laughing.

“I gotta say, the kids are taking the sport into a direction that I could have never imagined when I was younger,” he explains. “It’s amazing and exciting today where we are.” -Patti Murphy

3. Chase Gouley has the best wife in the world. She lets him ride his motorcycle whenever he wants.

Okay, probably not whenever he wants, but close. Jessie understands her husband’s passion for riding his dirt bike—that sometimes he just needs to get out there on one of the Valley’s many dirt tracks and endless trails (many of which Chase helped build) and just ride.

Chase was born and raised in the Wood River Valley. After returning from college in Montana with a landscape architecture degree and marrying his schoolteacher wife, he has continued to make the Valley his home. A skilled Cat-driver with an obvious eye for landscape and building, Chase’s day job is working for Burks Excavation in Bellevue. But his real obsession is dirt biking, and he has even started designing and building dirt bike tracks around southern Idaho as a result.

A well-spoken and obviously hard-working guy, Chase will tell you a lot about his dreams for the future of dirt biking, both on the single track trails and at the Valley’s few tracks. A board member of the Idaho Mountain Dirt Riders Association (IMDRA), Chase says, “Most of my time is spent at the tracks, but the trails we have around here really are world-class, especially the ones put in by the motocross guys.” He continues to rave about the qualities of trails in the area. “The Greenhorn trails are pretty amazing because out there in the timber, you can just loop and they somehow seem to go on forever.”

While our community obviously has an abundance of great trail-riding, Chase is quick to point out that the three local tracks are pretty impressive, though not perfect. “Our three tracks, Stanton’s Crossing located south of Bellevue, out Ohio Gulch at the ‘dump,’ and the 40-year-old track out Croy Canyon, are great but each has their issues. None of them are as well-maintained as you might see in California, but I try to groom every now and then. And when it rains, each of these tracks is like heaven to local riders,” he says. Now this ambitious rider wants to help create a fourth track that takes things to the next level. Chase says while the local tracks are great, “we need the real thing.” He asks, “There is so much offered in this community, why not capitalize on it even more?”

Chase has long held a dream to have a state-of-the-art home track. He hopes for a place where the facilities are well-maintained and safe, a place he hopes to someday take his kids. And it appears this goal is finally becoming a reality.

Chase and the IMDRA are working to help create a brand new track on former farmland just outside of Carey. A serendipitous meeting with another Idaho rider at a race in Bozeman has led to the non-profit club working with the owner to develop and, ultimately, help manage a modern commercial track. Chase says that by the fall of 2012 IMDRA and riders in this community should have an incredible new track to call home and to possibly even host some races.

This means a lot to this lifetime local. “I basically learned to ride on the 100 acres my parents lived on, though they said I had to get good grades before I could get a bike of my own,” he recalls of learning to ride. “When I did, my dad finally bought me a bike, an ancient thing from ’81 or something, which he brought home under a pile of tractor pieces and farming equipment. From then on, I was hooked.”

Two decades later, Chase is definitely still hooked. Returning after helping to design and build a track in Blackfoot, he lights up when talking about the new Carey track. It’s a good thing his wife is so understanding; it’s easy to picture their future kids following him to the track someday. -Katie Matteson

4. Richard Feldman loves the bike. He loves everything about it; he loves to train, he loves racing and competition, and he loves just going for a ride. Committed to excellence, Richard is passionate about his riding and the entire training and racing process. His longtime friend Nate Galpin adds, “The most important thing I have learned in time spent with Richard is the respect for quality. It is his measure and he applies it successfully to every facet of his riding, in every facet of his life.”

Not long after moving here from New York City at age 12, Richard saw local rider Boone Lennon tearing downhill at full speed on a bike. “I thought it looked so cool,” he laughs. “I was hooked and knew then that I wanted to really learn how to ride.” The next year he joined three friends in Europe and after watching his first Tour de France, started looking at biking in a very different way. Returning home he found enough confidence to join a seasoned group of Sun Valley Cyclist members on weekly training rides, time trials and races. According to Tom Campion, one of those early mentors, “acceptance by older riders was heaven for Richard who had talent and extraordinary determination as a teenager.” He continued racing at Middlebury College, graduating in 1991, then moving back home to the Wood River Valley.

2011 completed one of Feldman’s best competitive seasons in 21 years. “I love to ride and train. It represents the ultimate solitary freedom to me where you can connect and disconnect; it’s a place to come up with questions and solve the equation,” Richard says. His training regimen is rigorous with combinations of kilometers, intervals, sprints and 80% of “just riding,” which he does by “embracing the real poetry of it,” attaining an almost Zen-like peaceful quality. Campion reflects on this: “Richard is really two different people and what I admire about him is how he is able to accomplish what is required for the intensity of training with a tranquility and contemplative nature in his solitary riding … and how it is completely opposite of who he becomes in intense competition.”

Charley French (at 85 years, one of the Valley’s most admired and lauded athletes) is a longtime friend and fellow rider who says, “I really respect Richard. He is such a devoted person and probably the smartest trained athlete in this Valley at all levels … that’s taking into account his intensity, dedication and energy and how completely educated he is in the sport—from the sheer physicality demanded to the nutritional and emotional balance required.”

It is hard to count or name all the championship jerseys Feldman has worn, but he only focuses forward. His sights are currently set on the 2012 UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Masters Road World Championships, which will be held August 22-26 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where he will compete in both the road race (126 km) and the time trial (a 22-km course). Richard won the 2011 UCI Masters Time Trial World Championships, his sixth, in Stavelot, Belgium. Although as defending champion he is already qualified, he competed in a mid-April qualifier near St. Tropez, France, as he says, “to see how one is racing and have a look at the field.” He adds that, “you have to earn the right. It is a great privilege to compete in a World Championship.”

After the Worlds, Richard will change bikes and strategy for the cyclocross season (September through January). He really is passionate about cyclocross, a sport that has grown since the ’90’s and has become hugely popular in Europe. “It is such a different discipline,” he explains, “but adding trail running to my road and time trial training gives me a great foundation.” Cyclocross is a grueling obstacled bike competition (likened to the steeplechase) stressing speed, quick power bursts and aggressive bike handling on a 2.5 to 3.5 km course with innumerable laps. The terrain is mixed: steep and gnarly climbs and descents, grass, dirt and mud, asphalt, and barriers. Racers often must run with their bikes depending on varied course conditions and they require a savvy pit crew as bikes must often be changed at speed. “Richard has nerves of steel,” laughs Charley French. “Road racing takes no nerve, but cyclocross takes all your nerve and guts as you go as hard as you possibly can, taking every and all chances.” Feldman is the current defending champion, having won the 2011 Overall U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross, a three-month series of eight sanctioned races in Madison, Wisc., Ft. Collins, Colo., Louisville, Ky., and Bend, Ore.

At age 43 he is a legendary rider and competitor, a consummate professional who is living his dream. He continues to create constant challenges for himself, finely-tuning his craft each time he mounts the bike. “Richard is doing what he does best,” says Campion. “His obsessiveness with bike competition is his identity. It’s what drives him now.”

Richard is proudest, however, of his family; his lovely wife Kelly still coaches soccer at the Community School and their children are happily active—16-year-old Katie chooses soccer and cross country skiing, and for son Alex, age 14, it’s riding the terrain park, playing soccer and basketball. When asked about aspirations for his kids, he is quietly reflective, “I just want my kids to do what they love, and who knows, maybe someday they will become passionate about what they do … wouldn’t that be great?” -Julie Gallagher

5. Kristin Armstrong Savola, wearing a black team cycling jacket, faded jeans and orange running shoes, walks casually into the downtown Boise coffee shop, orders a coffee and grabs a seat at the table. The 38-year-old Olympic gold medal cyclist just returned to Boise after winning races in New Zealand and California and seemed happy and relaxed. No doubt, it has something to do with her new role as mom to 18-month-old Lucas and her current determination to be at the 2012 Olympics.

“Having Lucas has changed my priorities just in the 18 months since he was born,” she says. “These days, I’m a mom first and a cyclist second. Of course, I’m 100 percent committed and serious about my job, which is cycling, but as any parent knows, having a child definitely changes things on the totem pole.”

Armstrong and her husband of four years, Joe Savola, make their home in Boise, a place Armstrong says gives her balance. “I’ve been all over the world and Boise is where I’ll always want to raise my family,” Armstrong says. “The people are so down to earth and always stop to say hi. When I go out of state and try to say hello to people, they look at me like, who are you and are you crazy? “I like the balance here. If I left Boise, my balance would disappear.”

Armstrong likes that she can get on her bike and be in prime training terrain within 10 minutes. “The roads around Boise are beautiful,” she says, noting that her favorite training ride is up Bogus Basin Road where she does intervals. Armstrong used Bogus to prepare for the 2008 Olympics because its climb mimicked the rise on the Beijing Olympic course. Following her gold medal win, an eight-mile stretch of the road was renamed the Kristin Armstrong Bikeway.

She and Savola also own a condo in the Sun Valley area where they immerse themselves in summer biking, winter Nordic skiing and eating out at restaurants. ”I don’t think I’ve cooked in the condo once in five years,” she laughs, noting that she loves the local eateries so much that it’s hard to decide where to go. “Sometimes I catch myself saying, ‘Oh man, it’s so busy here this weekend—there’s so many people from out of town,’ like I’m a local,” she says.

Armstrong—who is not related to cyclist Lance Armstrong—started out as a triathlete and joined the Olympic Training Center in 1999. “When I came home I started developing hip issues and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and was told not to run at that level anymore,” she says. “I thought maybe I should just step back into a normal job and think about the real world. But I joined a Boise cycling team that entered a huge international race. I took all my vacation days to compete, and by the end of the week, I had three contract offers. That’s how I started my career.”

Armstrong earned her Olympic gold in the time trial, which she said is her best event. “It’s a point-to-point race against the clock. They call it the ‘Race for Truth,’ and there are no variables or tactics. It’s just you against the clock,” she explains.

In 2009, Armstrong retired briefly to have Lucas, and then enjoyed a strong comeback just over a year later. Then came trouble—in 2011 she got banged up in a race crash, struggled with a virus and placed third at the National Championships time trial. “That was a bad day,” she says somberly about the Nationals. “It was nine months after having Lucas. My whole family had put so much into me coming back, and I remember thinking, ‘what have I done?’ The papers quoted my husband as saying maybe it would be my last race. I had to really turn myself around.”

Determined to make the Olympic team again, Armstrong came out swinging in 2012. “I’m hungry, I’m ready,” she says. She still had the 2012 Exergy Tour in Idaho, one of the final opportunities to earn international ranking points to qualify for the London Olympics. “I’ll be racing against the best in the world in my hometown,” she said last spring prior to the race. “I can’t wait.”

Armstrong mused about writing a book and what its conclusion might be. “It’s like the books you read and get to choose the ending,” she says. “Right now my last chapter is, ‘Olympic team? No Olympic team? Struggles or success?’ I don’t even have a closure. It’s so exciting. I’m still reading my book.” -Patti Murphy

[Editor’s Note: Kristin will be defending her gold medal in women’s time trials at this summer’s Olympics.]

6. For Greg Randolph and his daughters, mountain biking is life. And for them, the family that rides together, stays together.

Greg “Chopper” Randolph is a former cycling Olympian, and mountain bike professional. He got his nickname for an epic set of sideburns he sported before facial hair became cool again. And maybe most important of all, Chopper can ride a bike. He also knows how to put on a mountain bike festival as he was a pivotal organizer of last year’s Ride Sun Valley Festival. But one of his greatest joys in life isn’t bringing thousands of people to his beloved community. Nor is it crushing it on one of the Valley’s renowned single-track trails with his buddies, or even reveling in his Olympic and professional days. Instead, what gets Chopper amped and where he gets his bliss is mountain biking with his two daughters, Luma (12) and Lola (8).

“They found it on their own. I’ve never pushed them into mountain biking. I want them to own their passion, whatever that may be,” Randolph says at the dinner table, at their home in East Fork, where most of the conversation has revolved around a pink Scott bike Lola keeps talking about, what Luma’s favorite local ride is and just how old everybody really was when they first learned how to ride. It is so comfortable and normal and fluid, one can forget that most 12-year-olds don’t know how to change a tire tube on their own and most eight-year-olds don’t know bike-manufacturing companies by name.

It’s easy to question where these two girls really found mountain biking, whether they really did find it on their own, especially given their father’s pedigree and their mother’s, Cameron King, career as a World Cup triathlete and X-Terra champion. But once these two sisters get talking about mountain biking, their passion, devotion and absolute love for the sport cannot be denied, however it got started.

Twelve-year-old Luma, who is well-spoken and slightly reserved, is undoubtedly an intense and fantastic competitor. When she tells the story about how she decided to compete at last year’s Nationals, it is clear that she’s the one in the driver’s seat (or in the bike saddle, as it may be). “Last spring, I decided I wanted to compete at Nationals but I knew I had to qualify,” she says with a quiet smile. “So my dad packed me up that weekend and drove me to McCall for a race and I qualified.”

Luma didn’t just qualify. She won her age group and beat all the boys in her age group, placing third overall. She went on to race in Sun Valley at Nationals, placing third, just like she said she wanted to. She’s already planning for her second appearance at Nationals this summer.

Chopper says that mountain biking has given Luma confidence, strength and self-assurance, not just as an athlete but as a person. Plus she regularly rides off four-foot drops and he is the first to admit that it took him half his career to get as good as she is now.

Lola, the animated little sister, gets something else out of riding a bike. According to Chopper, “The challenge of mountain bike riding mellows her out a bit, directs her energy.” Not surprisingly, Lola says that her favorite thing about mountain biking is getting dirty and muddy. Too young to ride at Nationals last year, she spent the summer spinning her wheels at Billy Olsen’s Road and Dirt Kids Mountain Bike Camps in Hailey and competing in the Wednesday night races. But keep your eyes open for a little spitfire on a pink Scott bike racing at this summer’s Nationals Lola is coming to compete.

“It’s a lifetime sport,” Chopper says of his family’s passion. “For me, I’d be a basket case if I couldn’t ride or ski every day but watching Luma and Lola ride is bigger than that. They are learning about being people. If they can see something hard on a mountain bike and can overcome it, it transcends all other challenges that life might bring.” -Katie Matteson

7. Brooke Hovey, 39-year-old endurance athlete, says becoming a champion mountain bike racer has come about in a natural way—natural for her, that is.

Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, it was natural that the nearby rugged Wasatch Mountains became her favorite playground. Mountain trail running, extreme hiking and skiing were passions in Brooke’s family. As a youngster, her active parents enabled her and her siblings to discover and find their place in the mountains, encouraging them to become physically strong, independent and self-reliant. “I am a product of growing up and living in the West,” explains Brooke.” I learned to be comfortable in the mountains, how to push the limits, to never be afraid and to find a solace there.” Strength and endurance are in her DNA and, as she puts it, “I learned early on how to ‘go into the pain cave.’ I just always knew I could do it.”

As a freshman at the University of Utah, Brooke was a natural, perfect fit for the cross-country running team; she later transferred on a scholarship to run middle distance (800 to 300 meters) and cross country (5 km) for the University of Colorado. She left college in her senior year to kayak expert white-water all over the world, but after visiting Sun Valley to alpine ski, she made it her home in 1998.

Looking for cardio-intensive endurance sports to add to her extreme trail running, she met Muffy Ritz (well-known for her excellence in cross-country racing, biking, and mountain adventures) and immersed herself in Nordic skiing, eventually racing very successfully nationally with Ritz for Rossignol as a Nordic pro. “I liked the lower impact of Nordic,” says Brooke.” It was not as hard as running on my knees and hips, and I loved the endurance factor.”

After a few years of hard racing Brooke decided to take time off to get married and is now raising two tow-headed kids (Taylor and Tommy, ages 4 and 3) with her husband, Will. A part-time working mom and athlete, she seems to have found a natural balance in her life. “You become so self-centered as an athlete,” Brooke admits, “and competition has taught me some of life’s lessons. I know I take better care of myself now as an athlete. Looking back I think I was myopic in training and wasn’t balanced with the food intake I needed for fuel.”

She seems to have found more of an understanding of what she needs to be a healthy competitor, a real understanding of ‘food as fuel.’ Now running the kitchen at GLOW (Ketchum’s popular live food café), she smiles, “I’m a cooker!” And by many accounts, Brooke is becoming an expert on creating ‘clean’ foods. “It’s so important to raise my family with good health and fitness and to do so by example. Will and I feel lucky to be part of an amazing, supportive community whose common thread is taking care of health, families, the community and wild environment,” she says.

But strength and endurance are still seriously in her DNA, and she has proven that once again by becoming an impressive mountain bike competitor. When she began mountain bike riding it was often with good friend and fellow competitor Erin Zell who says, “now Brooke mostly competes with herself; she can push so hard on her own!” She laughs, “11 years and many bike adventures later, I just try and keep her in sight … she keeps getting faster and faster!” Muffy Ritz adds, “Brooke is a hard-charger; she has so much innate talent as an athlete in so many sports and she excels at them all, but she can ‘outpower’ most everyone I know on a mountain bike.”

Last July, on Bald Mountain, Brooke was impressive in her first big mountain bike competition. She won the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country Women’s Amateur National Championship. Her immediate goal is to race well again this July in her first year in the Pro category when the U.S. Nationals are again hosted in Sun Valley. Prior to the July 5th-8th competition she will compete in a handful of early Idaho regional and local races, tuning up. Sponsored by The Elephant’s Perch, Brooke also rides for the Mud Honeys, a local women’s bike club. Bob Rosso, owner of The Perch and known for his own multi-sports accomplishments, has been very supportive of Brooke. “She is a very tenacious athlete, always pushing the edge with solid, natural athletic skill. Whether she gets on a pair of skis or on her bike, her vision seems to focus tighter and she can give it absolutely everything,” he says, adding, “If you’re competing against her, good luck, you’ll need it!”

Hovey’s mountain bike time and training is dictated by her family and her work. Once or twice a week in the spring, summer and fall she usually does a solitary 2-3 hour all-out hard ride, using natural terrain intervals and climbs. “I feel much healthier having more free-form in my training now,” she says. “It’s much more enjoyable and peaceful. No heart monitors, just me out there on the bike in early morning, feelin’ free!” -Julie Gallagher

This article appears in the Summer 2012 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.