Team CLIF Bar MTB
The Team CLIF Bar MTB squad has a busy 2018 season planned, including sharing a few stories about the team’s mountain bike adventures (in partnership with Peloton magazine & Niner bikes). The United States of Dirt project launched in 2017 and will continue with three new stories this season.
In 2017, the project followed the team to:
Troy's been with Team CLIF Bar for the last ten seasons, competing in Mountain Bike and Cyclocross disciplines. Troy started racing BMX as a child and hasn't looked back. Race highlights include 2015 Iceman Cometh champ and U-23 national cyclocross title. Troy's favorite place to ride is high up in San Juan mountains outside of his adopted home in Durango, CO.
Ben Sonntag is now starting his tenth season competing on the North American MTB racing circuit. Born into a cross-country skiing family, Ben’s desire to compete didn't appear until his late junior years. He then developed quickly into one of the top Nordic Skiers in Germany; and also competed in Wintertriathlon, a sport which had Olympic potential at that time. Wintertriathlon's 2nd discipline is mountain biking. That's how Ben fell in love with the sport. After achieving significant success at Wintertriathlon, including 2 Elite World Championship titles, Ben skied collegiately in the US for three seasons, earning three All-American Honors and a runner-up at the NCAA Championships before finally following his love for the mountain bike. Career MTB highlights include stage race overall victories at the La Ruta de los Conquistadors, Transandes Challenge & the Breck Epic. He also won the 1st Epic Rides Grand Junction Off-Road and three individual collegiate national titles on the MTB. Ben's consistency is his strength so keep an eye out for Ben in his Team CLIF kit on the 2018 podiums!
Over the past ten years, Russell has been working to achieve one goal - to successfully race at the highest level of mountain biking. Russell has been consistently climbing his way to the top of the sport. Russell believes that the life experiences and the enjoyment cycling provides has shaped him into who he is today. Russell started racing at the age of 13 and has been hooked ever since. Racing has taken him all over the world, to places he would have never seen otherwise. “Every day I head out on the bike, I still feel the same amount of enjoyment as my 13-year-old self” explains Russell. When not racing a mountain bike, Russell enjoys backpacking, photography, dirt biking and just being outdoors!
Menso de Jong
Menso has raced everything from crits to 'cross, ProXCT to marathon MTB, and endurance gravel events in his five (going on six) years with Team CLIF. Menso tailors his season around new and exciting events in interesting places, hitting up festival mountain bike events such as Downieville and the Off Road 50 series. He also travels near and far for adventurous gravel and mixed-terrain races. His results from the past several years reflect the variety of cycling he enjoys, including podium appearances at Downieville, in the Whiskey fat-tire crit, at both the crit and Off-Road at Grand Junction, top tens at USAC National Championships in XC and Marathon XC, and third at the 2017 Dirty Kanza 200 and 1st at the inaugural Wisconsin Coast to Coast 200 gravel events. If you are putting on a crazy new race across interesting terrain, give Menso a call!