For the third installment in the “A Few Good Questions” series, we check in with North Country Cycle Sport-Derailed’s Chad Wells. One of the most well-known and well-like gents on the mountain bike scene, Chad has brought together some of the best junior racers in the state and given them a team to grow with. Along with “Gentleman” John Cowan, Wells is one of the best mountain bikers in the state, but also one of the most polite, positive and encouraging. He’s also becoming known as the best bunny-hopper on the planet.
1. First off, who are you? That’s asked in a philosophical sense, sure, but where are you from, what do you do, who do you care about and what do you enjoy?
I was born in Holland, Mi, but moved to Petoskey when I was 2. After High School I went out West to Fort Lewis College to learn a little, but mostly to ride and race. During that time I turned Pro on MTB and CX bike and stayed out there for another 4 or 5 years after I graduated college. Once I got sick of the bum lifestyle of an aspiring professional cyclist I moved back to P-town to help Bo get the NCCS store up and running and manage the store.
I’m MTB and CX all the way all though I did dabble in road early on in college. My claim to fame is I haven’t owned a road bike since 2005 and there’s only been one summer since then that I had a CX bike thru out the summer that could double as a road machine.
I’m part of the absolutely massive North Country Cycle Sport/Derailed team. The range of this team is impressive of itself and the fact that we can bring a mobile party is the best part of going to races. Plus… we are all really good at bowling.
2. What got you into biking? What got you into racing? What is your proudest two-wheeled achievement?
A girlfriend in high school’s parents got me into biking. They where pretty big into biking and had a few bikes laying around and let me come out with them one day and that was that. I went out and put a bike layaway, which unfortunately took all summer to pay off!
I started racing about 2 years later and I think it was just a natural progression due to running cross country in high school and I was also competing all over the place with snowboarding. I can’t say anyone got me into it, I just enjoy good competition.
3. What kind of bike(s) are you riding? Do they have names?
I just got the Yeti Big Top and I must say (not being a huge fan of 29er’s) this bike actually rides like a 26er in it’s flick ability. Her name is Shaniqua. Don’t ask, it just felt right. My other whip is the Trek Cronus Ultimate. My sweet sweet CX machine and I don’t have a name for this one, not really sure why.
4. What are your big goals for 2013? Who do you want to beat this year?
My goals this year are little different then they ever have with racing. I’m going to be focusing on cross this year. I’ve always done cross, but it’s been more of a hold on to fitness deal. So, this year it just fits with being a bike shop guy and the busy season is in the dead of summer and well, simply put, I love cross.
I, of course, want to beat John Cowan at every race! No, I’m just kidding I don’t really look at it like that anymore. If I get 20th at some race and feel like a gave what I had to give then I’ll be happy.
5. What is your favorite place to ride in the world? In Michigan?
This a really tough one to answer because everyplace has it’s own unique flavor, but if I have to answer it’s probably Durango and that’s probably more nostalgia then anything. I can’t say they have the best trails I’ve ever ridden, but they have so many in town it’s crazy. The ability to ride from your door anywhere in town and be on 75ish miles of single track gives me goose bumps right now and thats just the trails you don’t have to drive to.
In Michigan it’s got to be Boyne Mtn for me, with Marquette Mountain a very very close second. I’m going with Boyne only because it’s how I cut my teeth on the mountain bike. Both though are true mountain biking, big ups and big downs, with technical parts in-between.
6. If you had to compare yourself to a pro, who would you pick?
I would have to say Adam Craig although he can kick the crap out of me at any given time, but I like that he is a true mountain biker and not the dirt roadie that seems to be coming of age now. Mostly I’m just jealous of what he’s doing now… Enduro’s all summer and Cross in the fall….. Not Fair!!!
7. Who is your favorite person to ride with?
I have to say John Cowan now that I’m back here. He is a really strong climber, so it pushes me over the top. Adam Snyder has to take credit for pushing me on the down hills out West. Dude can rip!
8. If you could design a bike race in Michigan, where would the finish line be? Who would you have as podium girls? (Celebrities are in play)
Boyne Mtn because it’s in my back yard and is just a good time.
Podium Girls: Todd Freidinger and Bill Gallagher
9. Thank somebody:
Thanks to the Mother Unit for helping me out all those years with moral support, Lisa (my fiancee) for driving around to all these races with me, and last to Bo for all the help over the years… even the years I was in Durango.
10. Any last words?
Going along with everyone else I think Kolo T.C. is doing some really great stuff for the sport and gives potential sponsors the answer to “what would I get for sponsoring you or your team.”
(Editor’s Note: You’re all quite welcome. Thanks for being good humans.)