Meet U23 Bear Athlete Calder Wood!
Every week we will introduce a new member of the Bear Development Team. This week, meet…
Racing Age: 19
Hometown: Anacortes, WA
Race Bike of Choice: Top Fuel 9.9
Favorite Training Song: Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
Favorite Post-Ride Snack: Haribo Gold Bears
My roundabout journey into the mountain biking world started in elementary school where my passion for cycling began with my morning commutes to school rain or shine (mostly rain) and burgeoned, with the support of my family and my teacher who was Sam Schultz’s aunt, into a desire to give competitive cycling a shot. I started racing in the vibrant cyclocross season around Washington and joined the Rad Racing NW program at the end of my first year through an unusual mix of coincidence and fortuitous ignorance. A kid in my band class, who is now one of my best friends, wore his RRNW cycling jacket to school all the time so I went to the tent to say hello and the team director Jim Brown recognized me from the 11-12 race earlier as the kid who was a good foot taller than anyone else. Unbeknownst to him, I was unaware of the way racing age worked in cyclocross and was racing down an age bracket and yet, I still don’t think I managed to crack the top five.
The next year I raced my first mountain bike race, but things didn’t click for me right away in XC the way they had in cyclocross and mountain biking played second fiddle in terms of preferred cycling discipline for several years until I entered the 17-18 ranks. The defining moment of that first season with Rad was winning the cyclocross national championships in Boulder at the end of the 2013-14 season. The race was two laps and less than twenty minutes long, but it opened doors to the next level that directly affected my aspirations and success in cycling. Prior to attending MontanaCrossCamp the next year as a result of that win, I’d never heard of Sven Nys (for XC racers, that would be like not have a clue who Nino Schurter is), I had no aspirations to race in Europe, I wasn’t even aware that was a possibility. If I hadn’t taken up the tuba, if the left lane on the first climb at Boulder nationals hadn’t been wide open, if I had known that racing age in cyclocross was your age as of December 31st of the next year, I might well have never discovered my love for cycling. So many things had to go right or wrong for me to find this sport and I am beyond thankful they did.
I would be hard-pressed to find a better place than the PNW to be an off-road cyclist. With access to fifty miles of singletrack just a few minutes out my door, Bellingham, where I have had many an epic ride with Eric Olsen (“UpChuckUnoDosTresDeathmarch2k16” and “The Christmas Eve Epic: Riding/Rappelling The Whatcom Ice Rink” to name a couple Strava titles), being a forty minute drive away, and having the ability to day trip up to Squamish, B.C., the riding in terms of quantity, quality, and diversity is simply unbeatable. As important as the riding is the incredibly supportive community of riders that have surrounded me every step of the way. I’ve met so many exceptional people through this sport and that keeps me coming back just as much as any other aspect. Getting to share the experience of traveling around the U.S., Canada, Europe, and elsewhere with other juniors has created memories and stories that I’ll be working into conversations for years to come.
Outside of the cycling realm (that exists!?), I enjoy writing, photography, videography, and camping when I can find the spare time at college. I’m currently attending Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA majoring in mechanical engineering, along with what seems like eighty percent of the CP Cycling Team, and hopefully working in a minor in environmental sustainability sciences. It’s been an unfamiliar, but welcome change having so many people to ride and train with here in SLO and learning an entirely new trail system has involved some serious Strava snooping, a good deal of Trailforks, and plenty of adventures (ex. discovering how dry trails react to 24-hours of rain the other day).
I’m super excited for this upcoming 2019 XC season with the Bear Pro Team and look forward to meeting new teammates and seeing what I can accomplish this season with such a high level of team support!