|Mike Wellborn is a local single speed rider who regularly crushes the guys with gears. He is the mtb captain of the Capitol Bicycling Club and a strong advocate for
Capitol Forest trail maintenance. He has led the Saturday CBC Capitol Forest mtb ride without fail for the last couple years. And here's Monkey....
Current city of residence?
What is "Monkey" all about?
Long story involving a monkey-skin rug and a lot of champagne. Suffice it to say
it’s more than just a moniker these days. Even my girlfriend calls me monkey.
How long have you been mountain biking and where did you start?
A little over 5 years. I started up on Green Mountain up in Bremerton.
What got you interested in mountain biking?
I was recovering from a back injury and needed exercise. I used to be a pack and a
half per day smoker and needed a lifestyle change as well. My chiropractor told me
cycling would be okay. I don’t think he envisioned my current regimen of self-abuse
You ride SS (single speed), when did you make the switch and what motivated you at the time?
I was sick and tired of performing maintenance every weekend during the winter.
It sucks constantly having to overhaul your drive train. At the time one of my good
buddies had been doing it for a year or so and seemed to love it. I figured, why not?
What is it about SS that keeps you interested?
My singlespeed is simple, quiet, and clean looking. I’m more aggressive on it than I
ever was on a full suspension geared rig. It makes me a more solid rider by improving my
handling skills, and on the right course I’m faster than a I would be on a geared bike.
The only geared bikes I own are road bikes at this point. Even my ‘cross bike for racing is a SS.
Any advice to anyone who wants to transition for gears to SS?
Don’t throw a lot of money into it. Several companies sell kits for converting a
geared drive train into a SS. All you really need is a cog
(preferably a wide one from Surly, King, or Boone), some cassette spacers and
tensioning device. My first SS was an existing hardtail that I turned into a SS for
a whopping $40. I can’t tell you how many SS rigs I see on ebay that people
buy and realize it’s not for them.
How long have you been mountain bike racing?
Last year was my first serious year of racing. Due to a lack of mountain bike
racing in the area, I tend to only do a few races locally and then go
out of town for some big stuff.
What disciplines do you race in?
I race SS mountain, SS ‘cross, and long distance/24 hour racing.
Usually anything that hurts.
What have your race results been since you started racing?
Never won a race. But I’ve taken several top 4 finishes. My focus has never
been winning. I go out to prove something to myself and mix it up with some
other riders. After all, a race is a just a really fast ride. If I’m not having a
good time (that’s a VERY loose interpretation) I’m not going to kill myself
for it. Everyone has their off-days. This winter I had a ‘cross race where
I had to sprint for 13th place. Not a very happy moment.
What would you say has contributed the most to your success as a mountain bike racer?
A love of pain. It’s always a sick little thrill to be out in the worst conditions and know everyone else hates life too…. But seriously, just go out and have fun. When you
stop having fun, it’s time to find something else.
You are the mountain bike captain of the Capital Bicycling Club, what attracted you to this position and why do you dot it?
My best friend used to do it and I took over when he left to travel. I do it because without volunteers to lead, a lot of people would never come out to ride.
Any plugs you want to give the CBC?
Newly revised website, monthly trail maintenance parties (next one is Feb 12th) and a bike swap coming up in March.
How many bikes do you now own?
5 (2 MTB, 2 cross, 1 road)
How many of them have knobby tires?
One sentence description of Capitol Forest:
A perpetual love/hate relationship punctuated with of joy, camaraderie and epiphanies about what really matters!
Which of your bikes is your favorite for riding in Capitol Forest and why?
Right now it’s my 26” SS. Quick and dirty, and it takes a beating. Pretty funny watching a guy with a SS using 5” of travel down the backside of The Peak! Once I get
my 29er SS set up with some different components, that may be my new favorite CF rig.
Besides Capitol Forest where do you ride?
Depending on the season: Green Mountain, Banner Forest, Ft Lewis, the Crystal Mountain Area, Devil’s Gulch/Mission Ridge and several sweet spots in Montana during
my summer getaway.
What do you like most about Capitol Forest?
The fact that you can have epic rides and great times without driving 8 hours and spending a ton of dough.
If you could change anything about Capitol Forest what would it be (besides the logging)?
Trying to get more people involved with trail maintenance and trail building.
What would you tell or recommend to someone coming to ride here who had never ridden here before?
Go with a local. Conditions, routes, and weather change year-round. You don’t want to get lost in bad weather. Been there, done that, and have the funny stories to tell…
Climb on singletrack or dirt road?
Steak or ribs?
Hard tail or full suspension?
Berm or air?
Spandex or baggies?
Metallica or Ministry?
Old Metallica (pre-Black album)
Ride or race?
Gears or no gears?
Any family, friends, teams or sponsors you would like to recognize, say hello to or thank?
Mr. E! Pete, Tom, John, and Ben. And my Mom for not worrying anymore! My girlfriend for understanding.