Todd Wells recently announced his retirement from professional mountain bike racing. While I’m not going to fact check this statement, I don’t know of any professional mountain bike racer who has enjoyed a longer or more successful career than Todd except for Ned Overend and Tinker Juarez. He has been at the top of cross-country mountain bike racing in the U.S. so long that it is hard to remember a time when he wasn’t there.
I saw a Todd Wells performance at Mammoth Mountain that still brings a smile and a headshake of disbelief every time I think of it. It was a cross-country national and the Men’s Pro race was starting the final lap. The altitude and pace had turned the race into survival mode. You could see in their faces that the racers were done or just wanted to get done. But not Todd. He was in 8th place (don’t fact check me!) on the last lap and somehow dug deep enough to move past five riders. Friends, that is unheard of. It might happen on the first lap, but it just doesn’t happen on the last lap.
I found Todd after the race recovering and asked him how he did it. He cracked a smile and claimed he had no idea how he did it. Well, I’ll tell you…he didn’t give up.
Stay in the sport
I hope that Todd doesn’t stray too far from mountain biking. He was an inspiration to a new generation of rider and I know he still has a lot to offer our sport.