Meet U23 Member Eli Kranefuss

Every week for the next month, we will be introducing a member of the Bear Development Pro Team!
Check in to get the inside scoop on Bear Dev’s U23 Riders!
This week, meet…


Racing Age: 21
Hometown: Mill Valley, CA
Race Bike of Choice: Trek Top Fuel
Favorite Training Song: “The Little Things” by Big Gigantic
Best Post-Ride Snack: Peanut butter, banana, and vanilla GU Recovery drink smoothie

Eli was raised in Mill Valley, CA, and attended high school in Marin. He is now living in Colorado Springs studying economics at Colorado College. When not studying or training, you can find Eli exploring Colorado. In the fall, Eli strives to spend weekends away from campus, exploring the front range, camping, and trail riding with friends. Other than riding, Eli enjoys skiing. In the winter, you can find Eli around Colorado with a pair of skis enjoying (and sometimes dreading) the fact that Colorado has actual seasons.

During the summer, when Eli is out of school, he enjoys driving the Bear Dev van and exploring the world through racing his bike.

Eli’s mom Nina is super supportive of his riding & volunteers at races and team camps! We love you Nina!

Eli started riding a bike when he was very young. When he was 8 he realized that he didn’t enjoy ball sports very much and he joined his first team, Team Swift, looking to find people to ride with. After a few years of racing on the bike path, he entered his first road race. After a few years of middle-of-the-pack finishes, Eli took a break from racing and turned to the mountain bike to ride the local trails in Marin County.

When Eli started high school, he joined his school team and raced in the NorCal MTB league. After a few high school races, Eli realized he was much more successful on the dirt and shifted his focus totally away from the road.

The following season, Eli joined Bear Development in order to pursue racing at a higher level than the few local races offered. Needless to say, racing with Bear on a national level was very different than the annual Tamarancho Dirt Classic. After a few seasons of lesson after lesson and lots of encouragement from Julia Violich, Eli had a turning point and finished third at the US National Championships in his final year as a junior. He then went on to represent the USA at the World Championships that fall.

The following year, he took a gap year to pursue racing in the under-23 category with Bear Development’s inaugural U23 Team. This season ended with an eighth place finish at US Nationals and a start spot at his first World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne. That fall, Eli started his freshman year at Colorado College. While balancing school and racing, Eli saw very similar results in his second year as a U23, managing to acquire UCI points and land on the UCI world rankings. Eli is now starting his fifth season with Bear Development.


Eli and his two sisters, Phoebe and Eva. They make amazing chocolate chip cookies.