Meet Junior Rider Tai-Lee Smith

This Friday marks the fifth week of Bear Development Team’s Junior Series! We are honored to dedicate our weekly post to the introduction of one member of the Bear Development Team.
Check in every week to get the inside scoop on Bear’s Junior Team!
This week, meet…


Racing Age: 15
Hometown: Breckenridge, CO
Race Bike of Choice: Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL
Favorite Training Song: “Would You Ever” by Skrillex
Best Post-Ride Snack: Almond butter rice cake with chia seeds

I grew up in Breckenridge, Colorado, alpine skiing, nordic skiing, dirt biking, playing soccer, hiking, and biking. The first sport that I was really into was gymnastics. I did gymnastics for 6 years until 6th grade, when the time commitment and driving became too much. But with the growing biking community, there were lots of races and tons of trails to ride on.

Starting off, biking was always an activity to do with my family to have fun and get outside. But when I was seven I started to do competitive racing against my sisters in the local series. The series was something fun to do over the summer where I could hang out with friends and stay after for the prizes/food. This definitely started my interest in racing bikes.

As of two years ago, I started to race the bigger races outside of Colorado. Traveling with my family I went to nationals in Mammoth, California. Last fall I raced the Colorado High School League which was super fun. I got to race some of the fastest girls in CO and make tons of new friends. Finishing off the season by racing JV at states against my teammate Ruth Holcomb.

Tai-Lee and her Bear Dev teammate Ruth!

When I’m not biking, I love to be outside with my family, friends, and dogs. In the summer, hiking 14ers and dirt biking on the jeep roads are some of my favorite things, as well as paddle boarding on Lake Dillon. When it starts to snow again, I ski the mountains/ski resorts and snow bike for fun.

Competitively, I nordic ski for SNSC in the Rocky Mountain League, and this season I got to race at nationals in Soldier Hollow, Utah. As of now, nordic and biking are my main sports and great cross-training for each other. Over the school year, I play soccer for SHS and ski for the high school nordic team as well. Roller skiing and nordic training over the summer is something I have to balance out with my bike training. But I only really get back into skiing after the fall high school cycling season is over. When I’m not doing some type of physical activity, I enjoy going out to eat with my friends, as well as trying out new recipes.

Meet Junior Rider Maddie Jo Robbins

This Friday marks the fourth week of Bear Development Team’s Junior Series! We are honored to dedicate our weekly post to the introduction of one member of the Bear Development Team.
Check in every week to get the inside scoop on Bear’s Junior Team!
This week, meet…


Racing Age: 17
Hometown: Durango, CO
Race Bike of Choice: Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL
Favorite Training Song: “Believer” by Imagine Dragons
Best Post-Ride Snack: Nachos w/ cannellini beans & extra sharp white cheddar cheese

I have been fortunate enough to grow up in Durango, Colorado. A small town full of hard working and determined, yet adventurous people. Nestled amidst mountain biking trails galore, Durango is a hot spot for pros such as Howard Grotts, Todd Wells, Ned Overend and many more. This has allowed me to see what hard work and determination can do, as well as the pure joy of riding a bike for a living.

I first started biking when I was around five years old. My brother was learning and I did not want to him to be able to do something I could not. As a young kid I rode family rides with my parents as well as with Durango Devo, the local bike program. Every year my family and three other families would ride the White Rim, a 100 mile loop in Canyonlands National Park. This is where I fell in love with biking, as the three day trip kept us away from civilization in a beautiful and magical place, where we were free to ride, play and just enjoy life. Every year I would try to conquer something new and ride a little bit further.  After riding 30 miles (into the dark of night) on a single speed 16” bike when I was 7, I completed the whole thing in three days at the age of nine. At this point I just enjoyed the challenges mountain biking posed, as well as the ability to be outside. It wasn’t until my brother broke his arm, making him unable to compete at a bike race, that I took his spot and fell in love with the racing aspect of cycling.

My life isn’t all bikes, though. I enjoy almost everything to do with the outdoors. When I was young I tried almost every sport and loved them all! From baseball to golf, soccer and tennis, and even swim team, I was there. Though my favorite was and still is, ski racing. I have ski raced competitively since I was five. I love having the ability to fly down the mountain at unimaginable speeds as well as the team camaraderie that goes along with the sport. This year was my first year not competing on a high level, rather, I just competed for my high school. It was hard to let go, but the time had come, and being able to still race for my school was super sweet. The stress levels were very low, and I was able to just have fun and rediscover the magic of the sport.

When I’m not competing, I enjoy coaching the young shredders of Durango Devo. Seeing the beaming smiles on their faces as they ride their bikes, is one of the best sights in the world! I have coached kindergarten to middle school aged riders, and have loved every ride. It is super fun to be able to pass on the joy of the sport I love and to watch as the generations below me improve every year, tackling the same challenges I did.

Along with coaching, I love to travel, camp and be with my family wherever that may be! When I was ten, my family and I went to New Zealand. That trip was something special. To this day, I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about the freedoms we had, the generosity of the people, and the amazing sights we saw. Along with the fact that I was on a month long adventure. A dream come true.

My family consists of me, my mom, Denise, my dad, Jeff, my brother, Lucas, my fluffy poodle, Ponga and a turtle named Squirt. My family is tight. Whenever possible we travel to races together.  We are there for each other, and we’d rather be together than alone. I owe my love for biking to my family. At a young age my parents introduced both me and my brother to the sport, and rode, very slowly, by our sides as we learned the sport. But, I owe my love of racing to my brother. If it were not for him, I would not be doing what I am now, I would not have gotten the incredible opportunity to be on such an amazing team as Bear, and I would not have had the opportunity to complete one of my biggest dreams and race for Team USA at an international race. Lucas was the one who pushed me into the sport, told me I could be better, had me apply for Bear and race at races outside of our little community. I owe all my biking success and love that I have had, and all that may come in the future to him. Lucas continues to  push me and tell me I can do it from afar, as he is now attending the University of Colorado in Boulder as he pursues a career in Engineering, and competes on CU’s Ultimate Frisbee team.


Meet Junior Rider Paul Fabian

This Friday marks the third week of Bear Development Team’s Junior Series! We are honored to dedicate our weekly post to the introduction of one member of the Bear Development Team.
Check in every week to get the inside scoop on Bear’s Junior Team!
This week, meet…


Racing Age: 18
Hometown: Prescott, AZ
Race Bike of Choice: Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL
Favorite Training Song: “Slow Ride” by Foghat
Best Post-Ride Snack: Peanut Butter and Banana Toast w/ Pumpkin Pie Spice

I have grown up in a handful of places across the country, including California, New Mexico, and Ohio, but have spent the largest percentage of time in Arizona. My two younger brothers and I have grown up playing all sorts of sports: baseball and basketball at a younger age, and swimming in middle school. My first real mountain bike riding was in my freshmen year of high school. After purchasing a used bike from my friend, I started riding on the weekends around Prescott’s extensive trail network. My very first race was in April of that same year at the Whiskey Off Road, and I have been hooked ever since. At this point I was still pretty out of shape, but I was determined to stick with it.

In the following years I was lucky to get involved with an excellent NICA program that really helped my development. Prescott’s mountain biking community is filled with a lot of great people, all of whom are excited to see more kids on bikes! In 2016, I was able to travel out of state to race with the Arizona Devo program and surprised myself with strong races late in the year at Angel Fire and MTB Nationals. This was also my final season in NICA, where I was able to cap things off with a State Championship in the Varsity field.

I have an oatmeal obsession…

2017 was my first year in the UCI category. February brought a two-month setback with a knee injury that was only noticeable when riding. Although at the time it seemed like the end of the world, the lessons learned about what it takes to stay healthy on the bike were super important, and I have devoted more time to stretching, rolling, and strength training this year. I was able to find some form for the April races, and was lucky enough to be selected for the Team USA camp in Canada. Racing in Canada provided for a dramatically new experience, with new challenges in the mud and roots. I was happy to head to Switzerland in June with the team, which was an eye-opening experience, and left me even more motivated for this year.

With just one year left in the junior field, I am dedicating a large chunk of my time to training and am going to try to take it as far as I can. I am also really excited to be racing the Whiskey Off Road Pro race this year, just five years after my first race!

I am currently a freshman at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and am pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. When I am not riding my bike, I enjoy hiking, swimming, cooking, reading, drawing, and hanging out with friends. Riding gives me a strong sense of freedom, and nothing quite matches the thrill of exploring new roads and trails on two wheels…

THREE ProXCT Races in April!

While BEAR’s racing results and development track record is impressive, this team believes that relationships make good things happen. We feel a strong sense of gratitude towards our teammates, sponsors, directors and supporters. BEAR maintains a focus on fun, awareness of other and personal growth driven by values and goals.


Fontana City National ProXCT, Fontana, CA, April 7-8, 2018

Pro Men XC

7th Luke Vrouwenvelder
13th Jerry Dufour
16th Carson Beckett
18th Daniel Johnson
20th Sandy Floren

Pro Men STXC

14th Carson Beckett
15th Sandy Floren
19th Daniel Johnson
20th Jerry Dufour

Junior Men XC

3rd Paul Fabian
12th Dylan Fryer

Junior Men U16 XC

4th Devin DeBruhl
5th Ryder Uetrecht
8th Wren Powers

Junior Men STXC

4th Paul Fabian
12th Noah Hayes
14th Ethan Moyer

Junior Women XC

4th Maddie Jo Robbins
9th Mina Ricci

Junior Women 15-18 XC

2nd Ruth Holcomb
5th Tai-Lee Smith

Junior Women STXC

1st Maddie Jo Robbins
3rd Mina Ricci
10th Ruth Holcomb
11th Tai-Lee Smith

Fontana Race Report

by Devin DeBruhl

This was my first national race, I knew the competition was going to be fast and I have to give it my all. Once camp was set up I was anxious to ride the course! The climbs were long, steep, and technical. I knew racing on the course would be hard. The downhills were very technical which I loved!Saturday was race day and I was prepared for the race. My warmup was done and I headed to staging. I was in second row next to Skye. Once it started it was chaos. I was towards the back of the group and stayed in that position until the asphalt climb and I moved up to top ten. By the end of the first lap I was sitting in fifth with Ryder. We both caught up to third and had some good battles. Last lap me and third went back and forth. I made some sketchy passes on the downhills and gained some seconds but was slowly getting hunted on the climbs. The last major climb we sprinted to the top but he beat me and lappers in front of me made me lose major time on the downhill. I worked my hardest on the last flat section to catch up but the race ended and came in fourth. Definitely a great first national and had lots of fun!Thank you Bear Development Team for all of the support! Huge thank you to Julia for all the help and unbelievable support! Including Trek, Bontrager, SRAM, Castelli, Fox, Oakley, Gu Energy, K edge, DZ Nuts, Rocktape, Camelbak, ESI, Crash Tag, and Scicon Bags!

SoCal Race #3 Cruise the Keys, Lake Isabella, CA, April 7-8 2018

Varsity Boys

3rd Devin DeBruhl

SoCal Race #3 Report

by Devin DeBruhl

Keyesville was my favorite course last year and still is one of my favorites. Has long climbs and very fun downhills! My legs were very tired after racing Fontana the day before but I was ready for a good race!The first lap was me and seven of the fastest riders in the field all as a tight group. Second lap on the major fire road climb Seth and Turner made an attack up it and me and Jonah followed them a little behind. Me and Jonah caught up on the downhill. Now our group of four had a big gap. In the third lap Turner went down so it left me, Seth, and Jonah to battle out the last lap. The last lap Jonah and Seth were making attacks on the top of every climb. My legs were just not there for the attacks. I knew I could make up some time on the downhills which I did. Just not enough to get onto their back wheel again. I kept the same pace as them until the finish. Definitely a fun race and it’s always good with racing such great riders!Thank you Bear Development Team for all of the support this year! Also many thanks to my coach Stephen Ettinger and my awesome high school coach Tony Gamberutti! Including Trek, Bontrager, SRAM, Castelli, Fox, Oakley, Gu Energy, K edge, DZ Nuts, Rocktape, Camelbak, ESI, Crash Tag, and Scicon Bags!!!


US Cup #2 Bonelli Park XC, San Dimas, CA, April 14-15, 2018

Pro Men XC

10th Luke Vrouwenvelder
15th Jerry Dufour
20th Carson Beckett

Pro Men STXC

4th Luke Vrouwenvelder
13th Daniel Johnson
20th Sandy Floren

Junior Men XC 17-18

4th Paul Fabian
7th Dylan Fryer
13th Noah Hayes
16th Ethan Moyer

Junior Men XC 15-16

1st Devin DeBruhl
4th Ryder Uetrecht
6th Wren Powers

Junior Men STXC

3rd Paul Fabian
7th Noah Hayes
9th Harrison Klapheke

Junior Women XC 17-18

7th Maddie Jo Robbins
10th Mina Ricci
11th Clodagh Mellett

Junior Women XC 15-16

3rd Ruth Holcomb

Junior Women STXC

3rd Maddie Jo Robbins

SoCal Race #4 Victory at Vail, Vail Lake Resort, CA, April 14-15, 2018

Varsity Boys

3rd Devin DeBruhl

SoCal Race #4 Report

by Devin DeBruhl

After taking the win at Bonelli I couldn’t wait to keep that speed into Vail Lake. I did a short warm up before call ups. It was in the 80s, humid, and with wind. I like racing in the heat but not so much in the wind. I knew there was gonna be some drafting on the climbs and more strategy to take place. I was second call up and lined up eager for the race to start.From front row to about 5th place to the first climb, I was sitting on wheels till we broke up the pack. On the fire road we split the group up to about 8 riders all drafting off each other. I needed to put in my share of the pull early so I lead the group up until the top of the climb and let others sprint past me. I made sure to rest on the downhill but not leave this group. Still during second lap I was with the group and did some more pulling so my share would be done. For a lap and a half I sat in the train resting, eating, and drinking. Varsity had a varsity loop which had an extra fire road climb which was steep to a very technical decent. Last lap that climb would mean the race. The climb was toward the middle of the lap. Came in about sixth into the extra varsity climb to being third right behind second. First gained a lot from the sprint. Me and second worked hard the rest of the lap giving it our all to catch first. First was in the distance down the last decent. He was just out of reach for us to catch up and I had to take the second place spot. The plan was to take second place into the up and out horseshoe to the finish. I came out of the sharp corner before it slowly up hammer out. Pushed my hard gear and sprinted to get in front put was off to getting in front of second in the horseshoe. Now the plan came to a sprint finish. Gain moment from the corner. Once again grabbed some gears and put in a sprint to the finish. 0.30 off from one step higher on podium. So close to second place but was stoked to get third.Thank you Bear Development Team for all of the support this year! Also many thanks to my coach Stephen Ettinger and my awesome high school coach Tony Gamberutti! Including Trek, Bontrager, SRAM, Castelli, Fox, Oakley, Gu Energy, K edge, DZ Nuts, Rocktape, Camelbak, ESI, Crash Tag, and Scicon Bags!!!


Ringwood Rumble, Ringwood, NJ, April 15, 2018

Pro Men

4th Jonah Vasquez

Sea Otter Classic, Monterey, CA, April 21-22, 2018

17-18 Boys

1st Dylan Fryer
6th Noah Hayes
8th Ethan Moyer
9th Sebastian Dow
11th Harrison Klapheke

15-16 Boys

2nd Dylan Fryer
5th Ryder Utrecht

15-18 Girls

2nd Mina Ricci
5th Clodagh Mellett

The Whiskey Off-Road, Prescott, AZ, April 27-29, 2018

Pro Men Crit

8th Sandy Floren
23rd Paul Fabian (Junior)

Pro Men’s Backcountry

8th Jerry Dufour
10th Luke Vrouwenvelder
17th Sandy Floren
23rd Paul Fabian (Junior)

Gu Energy Labs Product Report by Eli Kranefuss

Over the years, I have worked with my coach to nail my nutrition to make sure that I can train and race to my fullest potential. With Gu’s extensive product range, I know that I have some of the best product to help me out along the way. Most importantly, through their many flavors and products, I almost always have something new in my back pocket helping to make sure I don’t get burnt out of one flavor as well as making sure I am using the right product for the right goal.

When it comes to training, their Stroopwafels and drink Tabs are my absolute favorite. The Stroopwafels taste like real food, as well as have the most important macronutrients for a long day in the saddle. The drink Tabs have a light flavor and provide enough electrolytes to make sure that you’re properly hydrated. When it comes to racing, you need a bit more to keep the glycogen levels and electrolytes topped off.

When I line up for a race, I always have Roctane Gels in my pocket and hydration mix in my bottles. The Roctane gels have a bit more sodium, added branch chain amino acids, and caffeine making them much more powerful in a race scenario than the standard gels. The drink

mix has the same electrolytes as the Tabs, but includes carbohydrates to make sure that you stay on top of nutrition. Since switching to these two products, I haven’t cramped or bonked in a race making sure that I pass the finish line at my full potential.

Finally, whether I just finished a race, a long training day, or just an easy recovery ride, I always finish the ride with Gu’s recovery mix. Protein, carbohydrates and sodium (as well as a great taste) ensure that I am ready to train the following day, no matter what. If you blend the

recovery drink with a banana and almond milk, it tastes even better. A little treat to look forward to after a long training day!

Racing involves a lot of travel. Races never seem to be close to home and unfortunately, planes aren’t the most conducive to health and hydration. Whenever I head to the airport I throw a Gu Tab in my (empty) water bottle, and a Stroopwafel or two in my backpack. This allows me to stay hydrated, even with the dry airplane air as well as make sure that I don’t get to my destination hangry if my flight happens to get delayed and all I can find is a vending machine.

TREK Product Report by Daniel Johnson

For the past three weekends of racing I have been racing on Treks Procaliber hardtail. I really love this bike for the racing in California! The Isospeed technology takes the edge off when it gets rough and theres no better feeling than climbing and shredding on a super light hardtail thats a blast to ride. In between the races I trained on the dual suspension Trek Top Fuel which I will be using at more technical races on the east coast and Canada where that bike really shines.The Sea Otter Classic was the last of three back to back race weekends in California. It was another fast and furious race with lots of top European and American Pros. As always the pace was full gas up every climb and decent. I made my way into a pack of 6 or so riders that stayed together pretty much the whole race. At the end it came down to a sprint with two of my teammates and Cypress Gorry.

At a race like Sea Otter it is awesome to see all the different sponsors, brands, and teams like Trek Factory in person. Then toe the starting line with them! The support that Trek gives to our whole team is truly awesome, I’m so thankful to be riding on these top notch rigs day in and day out!


Meet Junior Rider Devin DeBruhl

This Friday marks the second week of Bear Development Team’s Junior Series! We are honored to dedicate our weekly post to the introduction of one member of the Bear Development Team.
Check in every week to get the inside scoop on Bear’s Junior Team!
This week, meet…


Racing Age: 16
Hometown: Santa Maria, CA
Race Bike of Choice: Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL
Favorite Training Song: “Whiplash” by Metallica
Best Post-Ride Snack: Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich

Since I was 3 years old, all I’ve ever wanted to do is ride my bike. I started BMX racing at age 5 and I was instantly hooked on racing. Those years of racing were very successful winning many State and Regional races. Also, raced on a Factory team and competed in Nationals. The plan was to get a mountain bike to cross train for BMX, but turned out the Mountain Biking was way more fun! Since I was 13 I have been racing mountain bikes and loving it!

When I’m off the bike I like going to the beach and skimboarding. It’s always just so relaxing and fun! I’m always looking forward going to the river or lake to go wakesurf and wakeboard. My favorite thing to do is go camping! Anywhere with lots of sweet trails, trees, and good views. To have the best time I bring my best friend. Just messing around on trails and not worrying about time is the best part. After riding all day, ending it around the campfire is the only way to end an epic day!

Half way through this school year I decided to be homeschooled. It was definitely a good decision. I am ahead of all my work and hoping to keep this rate up to graduate early. With being homeschooled I can have lots of time to train and ride. I have learned so much from my awesome coach Stephen Ettinger, he is definitely making me a better rider and racer! I am very excited about starting this year with a great team and team members there to help.