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No stranger to cycling, Rabobank charts new territory in the California Enduro Series
With a long history in cycling, Rabobank is known for pursuing new challenges. This time is no different. A newcomer to the rapidly growing Enduro discipline, the community bank has gone “all in,” sponsoring and fielding a top-performing team in the 2015 California Enduro Series (CES).
Anker Fanoe, who works for Rabobank, is currently 1st in the CES’ Beginner Men category. He said the California-based bank was drawn to the series because of its strong ties to the state. It also liked the series’ commitment to developing and showcasing Enduro riders of all levels.
“CES is amazing for riders who want to experience a pro-like setting and the ability to grow,” says Anker. “And the opportunity to do it in a team setting is awesome. Our team’s camaraderie and ability to train together has brought us closer and made us better.”
Rabobank’s inaugural CES season has been anything but disappointing.
Currently 2nd in points, the Marin Rabobank team featuring Evan Geankoplis, Brianne Spiersch and Anker Fanoe has been impressive. The three riders are at or near the top of their respective categories, thanks to strings of podium finishes including some wins along the way. Recently, Rabobank also jumped in to support leading CES riders Amy Morrison and Brian Butler.
The first rider to join the team was Evan, who trails only Marco Osborne in the Pro/Open Men category as he heads to Mammoth for the Kamikaze Bike Games Enduro — the series’ finale Sept. 24-27. Dubbed “The Natural” for being one of the West Coast’s fastest pros on two wheels, the Sacramento native is drawing on his past experience in downhill, road, BMX, dual slalom, cross country and pump track.
“I was excited to get the backing of one of the largest banks in the world whose history in cycling is unreal,” says Evan. “But I was also pumped about being part of an up-and-coming team. It’s rad to have your teammates cheering for you at the start of the stages and celebrating your podiums.”
In the Pro/Open Women’s category, friends-teammates Amy and Brianne are currently 1st and 2nd respectively. A pole vaulter while attending Clemson University, Amy has no fear. She is known for being a little crazy and willing to send it on the biggest jumps.
“I love being part of the team,” Amy says. “The financial support is obviously great, but our team dinners and practice sessions make it awesome.”
On Morrison’s heals is Brianne, or “Worker Bri,” who caught the eye of the team on a ride in Salinas before the season. “Bri was attacking the trail,” said Anker, “and was by far faster than everyone else that day.”
Brianne is widely respected by her peers as a prominent Northern California rider and coach, and relentless promoter of MTB to people of all ages. As a former race promoter and current cycling coach for the successful Salinas High School Mountain Bike Team, her endeavors have grown the sport. Perhaps most notably, she is director of the California chapter of Little Bellas, a development program for girls started by Olympic Mountain Biker Lea Davison and sister Sabra Davison.
“I had a lot of fun last year, but racing for and representing a CES team adds a new element,” says Brianne. “It’s exciting. When the results are updated I’m as interested in how the team is doing in the overall standings as much as how people are doing individually.”
Atop the Expert Men 30-39 category is Brian, Rabobank’s newest member. Nicknamed “The Scientist” by his teammates, he analyzes everything from the course stages to suspension settings, nutrition and bike geometry. His intensity and laser-like approach is working. He is undefeated and has already clinched the CES title for his category this season.
“Everyone brings something unique to the team,” Brian says, “and it makes us stronger collectively. It’s pretty awesome to see so many Rabobank jerseys on the podium this year.”
For Anker, 2015 is just the beginning. “I had no idea what to expect when getting involved in CES. Now, as I look back to the beginning of the season, I am blown away by the incredible friendships and competition the series offers. It has been an great experience for me, our team and Rabobank.”
CES encourages the formation of teams as it adds to the camaraderie that is an inherent component of Enduro. CES offers a team points series, in addition to the individual points series, with team awards at the end of the season. Series Director Steve Gemelos says, “Having a group of riders form a team and come to the events in support of each other, encouraging each other, adds to the fun of the Enduro experience for many riders.”
Team competition has been a positive for the series, and the Marin/Rabobank team has been one of the highlights of the 2015 season. Steve notes, “They really embraced the team competition – training, racing, and supporting each other.”
Photos courtesy Rabobank.
Adventure Sports Journal is a proud sponsor of the California Enduro Series. Learn more at www.californiaenduroseries.com.