Name: Russ Bainbridge
Occupation: Fire Protection Engineer
Bikes: Specialized Diverge (road, custom build), Specialized Allez Sprint DSW (road, custom build), Cannondale CAADX (cyclocross), Cannondale Trail 5 (mtb), and then I have two bikes in pieces waiting to be built up.
Q: When and how did you discover cycling?
A: I when I was a kid cycling was freedom. It allowed me to get to my friends’ houses without my parents and to 7-Eleven to get candy. Then I rediscovered it when I was sixteen and I was trying to loose weight. I was swimming for three to four hours a day but I was still overweight. So, I saved up some money and got a hybrid to ride after swim practice. Then after high school I did my first triathlon. I have been addicted to racing my bike since then.
Q: Has your inspiration to ride changed since then, and what is it now?
A: At the heart of it no. I still ride for the adventure and rush of going fast. That is why I concentrate on gravel now. But, now that I have children I also keep it up to show them you have to work hard to get what you want. It also models a healthy active lifestyle. It also allows us to bond more.
Q: How would you define your style of gravel riding?
A: Well, style would be putting it nicely. Since my background is in triathlon my handling skills are horrendous. But, I like to descend fast. Somehow I smash through it. I put on the biggest tires I can fit into my gravel frame and smash it. I’m told by riders how join my month Mellow Johnny’s Fort Worth gravel rides that I pick good lines and I make a good draft, so I must be doing something right.
Q: Describe an ideal day on the bike.
A: My ideal day on the bike would be any gravel ride to somewhere I haven’t been before. I love exploring and I don’t get to do that as much as I used to now that I work behind a desk. It would probably involve some donuts too.
Q: What are some notable trips you’ve done to enjoy cycling?
A: I just started racing gravel this year after riding it for adventure for several years. I was told I needed to enter a race by a few of the regulars at my gravel rides. So this year I raced Land Run 100 and Dirty Kanza. Those are amazing events! I also used to live in the mountains of Northern New Mexico, and I would ride up them just so I could see how fast I could go coming down. The view were amazing from 14,000 ft! I also lived in San Francisco for a summer, and I would ride all over the hills.
Q: You’re a Barnstormer Chapter Leader. What does that entail, and is there anything you hope to help other riders find within the club?
A: It entail building more community and that is what I am hoping to help other riders find. I was big into racing while in college and in my early 20s. I would get out there and smash myself only to miss the views and I didn’t take the time to build community. Now I realize that was a mistake. I want to help others enjoy the adventure? And, maybe sign up for a race, but not for time. Sign up for the races that will be an adventure and test your limits. That is when the fun begins.
Q: Everyone who rides has something unique to offer. Do you know what you might offer, in that regard?
A: I worked at a bike shop while in college as a “triathlon specialist,” and I have been racing in some form or fashion for as long as I can remember. I have lived the “racer” life and I can help people figure out how to slow down every once in awhile. I was also overweight, so I can empathize with people who are currently in that struggle. And, I basically have a bike shop in my garage, and I’m willing to teach people how to work on there bikes. I basically just work to support my bike habit. Being an engineer I just love everything about the bike, from the technology of aerodynamic to the mechanical efficiency.
Q: What role does cycling play in your current lifestyle?
A: Cycling is my antidepressant, my therapist, my creative outlet, my community, and everything in between. I teach my children if you take care of your bike it will take care of you. I could live without cycling, but it would be a pretty dull life.