I love bike zines, I think I have subscriptions to ALL of them. One of my favorite regular columns is “Meet the Riders and Their Rides” because I get to drool over components most of us never touch and you get a feel for what it takes to excel in that genre of biking. However, most of the pro cyclists I meet are doing their best to balance a non-bike career and family with racing at the top level. It is more accessible than you think! So I proposed to Mountain Bike Action last fall to feature a “regular” pro cyclist to hopefully inspire a rider who is ready to up their game to do it; and secretly I want more women to race with. I was asked to write up a mock article featuring myself. I never heard back from MTB Action but thought you might get a kick out of reading my submission, so here it is:
November 11, 2015
Name: Emma Maaranen
Birthdate: March 4, 1977
Shoe Size: 8.5
Helmet Size: Small
Marital Status: Yes.
Current Home: Bend, OR (just moved from Salt Lake City)
House: Just bought one!
Car: VW Jetta TDI – yes one of the recalled ones, but the gas mileage is outrageous
Started Racing: 2012
Turned Pro: 2 months before nationals
Riding Specialty: Cross Country, especially technical courses
Favorite Riding Area (North America): Gooseberry Mesa, UT
Favorite Riding Area (Europe): never biked outside of the US (yet)
Favorite Food: Netarts oysters on the half shell
Goals: To inspire more women to race mountain bikes and encourage those who do to upgrade when they are ready. I dream of being on a startline where the women field is as big as the men.
Favorite Recording Artist: Santigold
Favorite Movie: Zoolander (the files are in the computer….)
Hobby: being busy, bothering my husband, cooking delicious food and doing even more excercise whatever that takes
Jobs Held: Sports Massage and Movement Therapist, Anatomy Instructor, Studio Owner, Equestrian
Most embarrassing moment: missing the finish and running my bike after ducking the tape and barely not losing. Note to self – pay attention!
Always takes on a trip: AeroPress
What would you be if not a racer: Racing is my job? I wish! See jobs held.
Sponsors: Fezzari, SOAS, Sunnyside Sports
MTB What was your first bike?
EM Old school price point Diamond Back that my dad bought me when I went to college. Don’t miss that one.
MTB When did you start riding?
EM A long time ago but not for real until after getting life flighted out of a gnarly MTB crash. From there it just sort of happened.
MTB Any advice to other riders who want to race?
EM Do it! It’s not about the gear it’s about getting after it (OK the gear helps a little), it’s never too late.
MTB There is a big jump up to racing with the pros. What did you have to learn?
EM The pros are fast, really fast. XC is legit and those ladies can shred so don’t talk shit. The bike industry is full of really awesome people that want you to do well but don’t want to give you stuff.
MTB Does anybody stand out who deserves a shout out?
EM Chris Zieger of Fox and David Meredith of CrankBrothers who made time to help me. Last season’s training weight is next season’s weight loss program (so long dropper seat post). Full suspension is the shit but there is a time and place for a really really fast hardtail race whip. Guys hate being passed by hot fast girls.
MTB What are your plans/goals for next season?
EM Better than 12th at nationals, ditch all the training weight and get after it even harder, ride more (not sure if that’s possible), eat more bacon! Entourage – get one (especially an umbrella boy… possibly steal away from Specialized team?) Feel like a pro but be nicer, earn free stuff, share the stoke with others and get more folks out riding. Improve trail building karma – build more trails. Don’t take self too seriously, be nice to the new girls, pay back husband for being best sponsor ever (OK this may take more than 1 year).
Fezzari Timp Peak – the “Ultimate All Mtn/Long Travel Full Carbon bike”. Maybe not the lightest or most efficient ride to chase Georgia Gould on, but I try. It’s really fun on an Enduro course.
150mm Full Suspension – way more squish than the other girls hard tails, I’m pretty sure I had more fun descending at XC Nationals.
RockShock Pike fork – Overkill for XC, but I can plow through anything when I’m too hypoxic to watch the trail.
Fox Float CTD rear suspension – at least it is easy to lock out for the climbs. Fox has taught me to dial in my suspension for given courses, deluxe!
Reynolds 27.5 AM Carbon wheels – so fancy.
Maxxis Ardent Race EXO 27.5 Tires
Race Face 1×11 drive train with a 34 tooth front ring
Race Face Next SL cranks
Sram X1 Shifter
CrankBrothers Eggbeaters – maybe my fourth season on these. If you keep rebuilding them, they last.
Rock Shox reverb dropper Seat Post – this is my one and only bike, so worth the weight penalty.
SQ labs saddle active 611 saddle
Race Face 760mm Handlebars – gives you space at the start line and an obstacle for anyone who wants to make a tight pass.
Shimano Deore XT Brakes, levers and 160mm ice technology rotors
SQ Labs grips
Race Face Stem
SOAS kit – this triathlon company was generous to put me in a pretty kit. Looking pro helps the confidence when Team Specialized riders have an umbrella boy at the line-up.
POC Helmet – matches my kit; so pro!
Garmin 510 – “coach”
Hydration Pack – Probably the only racer in the pro category rocking a hydration pack, but it works and I haven’t crashed trying to do a hand off.
Dirty bike – I’m riding every day to stay fit enough to do this and I work too; no time to wash the bike. WD-40 has cleaned my bike pre-race at a few events, which is really cool.
Soccer Ball Bike Stand – use what you can get your hands on. Improvising is key to racing pro.
That was 2015. My winter has involved following up with amazing people in the bike industry and finding my niche. I am SO EXCITED to be a member of Rolf Prima Elite Team, zooming around on a Trek bike kept in top shape by the great mechanics at Sunnyside Sports here in Bend, OR, and promoting women in cycling with VanderKitten. I think I’ll make an annual mock “Meet the Riders and Their Rides” at the end of each season to watch my evolution.