This week’s Race to the top of Vermont Spotlight is on Kip Roberts. Kip is a regular on the Vermont mountain biking scene. He first participated in the Race to the Top bike category in 2009. Of the 5 years he’s raced, Kip has consistently been a top contender, pulling in 4th, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes. How does he consistently crush the climb? I think his smiley #1 fan has a lot to do with it.
Name: Kip Roberts
Hometown: Lexington, MI
Occupation: General Manager at Onion River Sports
CTA: What first got you involved in the Race to the Top of Vermont?
KR: I don’t exactly recall why I signed up for the first race! Probably ’cause it seemed a little nuts. Our daughter was born just 7 or 8 days before my first race in 2009, so I suppose I was looking for some motivation to get out and ride hard when I had the chance. These days, I mostly race cyclocross in the fall and then a few gravel grinders throughout the year. Maybe a fat bike race or two in the winter.
KR: Backcountry skiing and fat biking.
KR: The first year I did it in 2009 was certainly kind of an eye-opener. I hadn’t realized before this that I had an affinity for climbing (by bike). On the upper sections of the race, I remember hugging the rock cliffs in the hopes of staying out of sight of the nearest competitor behind me, aided by the the thick fog that year. I surprised my well-wishers at the top and beat expectations, certainly my own. Cuddling my daughter after that race and every subsequent race has certainly been memorable. Other highlights have been racing with exceptional champions such as Jamey Driscoll and Leah Davidson, seeing young kids pushing their limits and finishing strong and especially giving Patrick Standen an cheer of encouragement as I passed him one year as he cranked his handcycle up the loose, steep final climbs. That was true suffering and perseverance. The view out the window on the drive home after the 2011 race of the crimson evening sky as Hurricane Irene approached was certainly surreal.
KR: I must be a little touched in the head? Seems like I have kindred spirits!
KR: I’ve always amused myself with rather foolish gear choices, including racing a singlespeed three times (a dumpter-picked Specialized Hardrock from the mid-90s and a late-90s Merlin Ti 26er) and two Specialized Hardrock 69ers (29″wheel up front, 26″ in the rear) with cobbled 5-speed drivetrains. With all the superbikes out there these days, it’s nice to step back and remember that the engine has a lot more to do with the performance of a bike. Regarding riding a singlespeed, it’s just you versus the climb: you either have it or you don’t. I like that simplicity.
Every August the North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont draws as many as 800 hikers, bikers, and runners from across the U.S. and Canada to climb Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. The course climbs up the historic Mansfield Toll Road, is 4.3 miles in length, and climbs 2564 ft. For some it’s all about trying to achieve a fast time up this tough 4.3 mile course. For others… they come to test themselves, and to enjoy the spectacular views.
No matter why you came, for everyone the North Face Race To The Top Of Vermont is about supporting the Catamount Trail Association and all of the good work they do. This event is their largest fundraising event of the year. So, while you’re out there challenging yourself, know that 100% of the money raised at this event goes to support the Catamount Trail and backcountry skiing and riding here in Vermont!
Hurry, registration prices will jump another $10 on August 1st! What are YOU waiting for? Get yourself registered for the race at www.rtttovt.com.
Interested in helping out behind the scenes? Volunteer at the RTTOVT to help us get all of our ducks in a row.