Wednesday, October 22, 2008

- BLOGGER APP #13: Jen Hanks

NAME: Jen Hanks
SPONSOR/TEAM: Revolution/ PowerBar/
HOMETOWN: Salt Lake City, UT
Where are you from? I’m a good ol’ Midwestern gal from Illinois. At least I thought I was (good) until I found out my home state is corrupt (Thank you Governor Blagojevic)! I currently reside in Salt Lake City, UT. It helps me redeem my ‘good girl’ status.
What kind of bike do you ride? Giant Anthem.
What do you love about it? It’s red and although it been ridden a ton and is getting a bit old it still runs great!
Solo or team competitor? Why? Solo. I’ve done two ultra-endurance races with my husband and although I enjoy his company on long rides I want to find out if I can do this on my own.
Done any ultra-endurance stuff before? TransAlp 2007 and TransRockies 2008. Both of these races were the most epic events of my life, but for very different reasons.
Favorite food? I don’t have one particular favorite food. I’m a bit of a quirky (or picky depending on how you look at it) eater. There are about 30 things I like and I eat a lot of them
Movie? Any indie flick that I can download for free and is about 90 minutes…the perfect time for a ride on the trainer.
Book? I’ve read a lot of good books, but can’t think of a ‘favorite’. I think it is because I have a short memory. Perhaps that is why I keep signing up for these races!
Worst experience on a bike? How about worst experience with my bike riding me? Transrockies 2008 Stage 2. The stage called for almost 4000 meters of climbing over 74 kilometers. My teammate and I were having a phenomenal day. I survived the flat terrain at the beginning of the stage and was climbing strong. We were racing with some of the strongest teams in our category. About 40 km into the stage me and about 300 other racers missed a turn and ended up hiking straight up a scree-covered avalanche chute for 90 minutes with my bike on my back. I was prepared to ride all day, but I hadn’t done a lick of hiking all year! This was probably the hardest 90 minutes of my life, but I kept my race face on and kept plugging along. The missed turn added at least 2 hours to the stage and by the time we realized our mistake we were following 400 other racers into singletrack.
Best experience on a bike? TransAlp 2007 was an epic experience with many notable memories; however there is one in particular that stands out as my ‘best moment on a bike’. Going into the race I was fit, however I had virtually no endurance racing experience. I really questioned whether I would be able to finish the race, and had no plans to do anything strategic. I started the race conservatively and really suffered on Stage 2. By stage 4, I felt like I had a better understanding of how my body responded to stage racing and felt pretty good. Actually, the more we climbed I realized that I felt really good. I started to have one of those out of body experiences where your mind is only focused on one thing….going hard. And we were going pretty fast too! These are the types of days that bike racers train a whole year for! We finished the stage in 5th place in our category.
Tell us about your LBS (Local Bike Shop): Revolution Mountain Sports in Sandy, Utah. I have known the gang at Revolution since the shop opened. Not only do they carry awesome product and support one of the largest clubs in the state, they have the best mechanic EVER. He’s a mechanical genius but you also may find inappropriate pictures taped to your bike after it has been worked on!
Tell us about your favorite ‘local’ ride: Like I mentioned before I am a Midwest girl. I started mountain biking at the University of Iowa and was immediately smitten with the sport. This was despite there only being one mountain bike trail in all of Iowa City. I rode that same trail, and only that trail, every day for a year! Now that I live in Utah and there are hours and hours of quality mountain bike trails that can be mixed and matched to however you are feeling on a particular day, it’s hard to choose a ‘favorite’ ride. My favorite ‘type’ of ride is one that starts at my house. It seems silly to drive to a trailhead when you have a bike to ride there. I like to ride up one of our canyons (on mostly dirt of course) and hook up onto the Park City trail system. You can ride for hours up there and of course you have to stop for lunch. Then it’s all downhill and back to my place in Salt Lake City.
Who will play you in the Breck Epic movie and why? Jennifer Garner from “Alias” and “Elektra”. She’s comes across as sweet and maybe a bit shy, but she’s not afraid to go out and kick a little ass when she needs to. I would also demand they write in a scene where I play myself and fly around on wires and throw down a little kung-fu action!! Hi-Yah!!
What do you hope to get out of this experience? Expectations/goals/etc. I have never ridden in Breckenridge before…or even visited. What better way to visit the area and ride the trails than to do a multi-day stage race. I also look forward to getting to know all the other crazy folks who think riding their bikes in the mountains all day for a week is the best time of their life. Oh yeah, and no matter how I do in the race, rest assured I will have raced my ass off every single day
Tell us about your history as a cyclist or in the industry: I bought my first mountain bike while attending the University of Iowa in 1994. It was a fully-rigid Univega. Sure, it helped me commute to classes, but really I wanted to ride the mountain bike trails at Sugarbottom! Since then, mountain biking has shaped my life. I met my husband at a bike race and moved to Utah for bigger mountains and fewer cornfields. When I was finally finished with school I started ‘training’ for racing and somehow was able to progress through the ranks. I am now fitter, healthier, and happier than ever and I owe that to cycling.
Feel free to blatantly self-promote here. A quote you like, a direct appeal to the voters, some hateful vitriolic slander for your political opponents (see: Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter…) This is your space. Decorate it however you’d like. Each year at about this time, when the local bike trails are covered with a few feet of snow, I daydream about the epic rides and races of summer. Right now, I’m daydreaming about 5 incredibly long, hard, and beautiful days of racing in Breckenridge. These are memories that shape who you are…and who you become. I’d love to share my story.
Links to your work: (go to the TransAlp race reports)

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