Mary Monroe Interview

Durango DEVO is all about singletrack mountain bike trails. We ride them, race them and help maintain them. Durango is lucky to have such a sweet trail network, thanks to the hard work from the Trails 2000 family. The non-profit which began in the 90’s, is headed by executive director Mary Monroe. Mary moved here in 2006 and took over the non stop job from Bill Manning. Mary likes racing it appears from her appearances at the local cyclocross, short track and mtb races. Lately she has been seen shredding some pretty burly endurance high country races. Here are some things from our superstar friend.

Q: You recently competed in the Brek Epic. What was it like racing everyday at altitude? Did it feel impossible at any point?

A: Altitude offers many challenges and the biggest obstacle is looking up at a 12,000 plus peak and knowing you have to go over, around and then some to the finish. I was most intimidated by one stage named the Circumnavigation of Mt. Giyot (gee-oh)…we reached the snow field in the top and the views were amazing.  Everyone was euphoric (or in complete oxygen deprivation) and even happier to stop pushing their bikes! I crashed super hard on Stage 4 and didn’t think I could start the next day. It felt impossible but I thought of all of my friends in Durango who believed in me and got right back on the saddle.


Q: Whats it like racing as a duo in that event? Is it hard to stick together?

A: Like any good partnership, you have to choose your mates wisely. My teammate Heather has one of the best attitudes of anyone I know. That is a secret to racing together. She’s positive, happy, encouraging and courageous. She certainly had to coax me up a few steep mining road climbs but we had so many laughs racing together.


Q: Was there any interesting trail design stuff you noticed? Anything to incorporate in DGO’d trail network?

A: Most of the trail network in Summit County is a result of old mining roads that still operate as gravel roads. Durango is blessed with so much high country and urban interface singletrack that is really hard to leave and go someplace else to ride. My teammate used to work at IMBA while I was on the board of directors so we had several conversations about trail conditions and design. I have a hard time turning my ‘trail eyes’ off but I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.


Q: You also competed in that burly Purg race that was like 8 hours of mtn biking. That sounded like a hard race, what got you through that?

A: My friend Katri is a superstud. The wonderful volunteers at the bottom of Jones Creek were more than happy to take me back up to my car but she wasn’t having it and we continued up Hermosa to the finish at the bottom of the World’s course. It was cold, rainy and challenging but like anything else in life that’s difficult, your attitude and behavior are all that you can control. So we persevered:).


Q: The Raider Ridge extension went through this week, nice work, what advice would you give people looking to ride up there for the first time.

A: Like Mr. Dalla says, you may want to take a sandwich and just go for a hike the first time you experience the trail. It’s very rocky and technical like Extended Ridge used to be when trail users first started riding it. We all need to remember that this trail and all the trails we use are on private property and respecting that and other trail users we encounter will help the greater good.


Q: Who is your favorite mountain bike racer of all time and why? (besides your hubby Travis)

A: Juli Furtado. She always was and still is a super stud athlete. She’s overcome so much in her life and continues to pursue her passions. We actually worked together to start her company, Juliana and had so much fun testing that first bike in Lake Tahoe.


Q: If you could only have one bike for the next 5 years, what would that be?

A: One bike, really? Why? It would be a carbon fiber, singlespeed 29er built into a detachable ‘bakfiets’ style cargo bike. Complete with slicks for commuting and knobby tires for trail rides.


Q: Any cycling tips for the young ladies of DEVO?

A: They are already inspiring all of us. I think the only tip is to appreciate their amazing coaches (props to Annie, Sarah, Kricket and Jess) and I’m so proud to see them riding around on the trails and making such healthy, positive choices in their lives. GO DEVAS!


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