If you haven’t yet heard of Felix Burke, read on. The up-and-coming, 21-year-old Rocky Mountain Factory Team rider is in his fifth season of racing. Last year, he raced to a third place podium spot in the Under 23 cross country mountain bike race at the Canadian National Championships. Burke splits his time between Victoria, British Columbia - where he has just finished up his second year studying economics at the University of Victoria - and Mont Tremblant, Quebec - where his family lives.
Stan’s NoTubes: What Stan’s wheels do you ride and race?
Felix Burke: I typically ride my Crest MK3s when training, and I race on my carbon Valors.
NT: Tell us a bit more about your setup.
FB: I run Maxxis Ikon or Ardent tires on both wheelsets - the latter are better for when it’s muddier or gnarlier. I tend to train with my tires at a high pressure (28 and 30 psi) because it’s less forgiving and helps me with my skills. For racing, I drop the pressure to 22 or 23 psi depending on the trail. That’s for better traction because the contact patch is bigger. If it’s really bumpy but there aren’t super sharp rocks, I’ll drop it to 21 or 22 psi, but I’ll bring it up a bit if it’s faster rolling. NT: What do you like about your Stan’s wheels?
FB: I love the reliability of my Crest MK3s because I can push so hard on those wheels. And I love the performance of my Valors. They are super stiff so that when I put power into the pedals, the bike just wants to roll forward. The Valors accelerate so quickly.
NT: How did you get into riding and racing?
FB: When my family, who are all skiers, moved out to Whistler when I was 13, I got into riding. It’s when I discovered bikes. My dad had a bike, and I started following him. I wouldn’t have gotten into it if it weren’t for my dad. I started racing when I was 17 and moved back to the East Coast. This is my fifth season of racing, and now I primarily race cross country. When I first started riding, most of my friends were into downhill; there wasn’t enduro at the time. But back on the East Coast, downhill wasn’t as big, and there was more cross country. I was competitive and wanted to race. I fell in love with the training side and pushing my physical limits, and I even started doing some marathon racing. NT: You had a great top three finish at Canadian cross country nationals last year. What other career results stand out in your mind?
FB: I was second one year racing cross country nationals in the junior category, and last year I raced to a third place in the Under 23 category at the US Pro XCT in Windham, New York.
NT: Based on your experience using NoTubes wheels, do you have any advice for others?
FB: Setting up wheels with any tubeless tire is super easy. I can do it with a hand pump. That takes so much stress away when I’m traveling because I don’t have to find a floor pump or a compressor. It’s so easy.
NT: Which Stan’s sealant do you use and how often do you check it?
FB: I use Stan’s Race Sealant, and while I’m sometimes not so good about checking my sealant on my training wheels, I always check my sealant before I travel and before I race.NT: What are your goals for this 2017 season?
FB: I want to finish in the top three of the Canada Cup - I just have to make it happen in the elite races. I want to try to win the Under 23 Canadian Cross Country Nationals in Canmore, Alberta. The week after that are the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It’s an Olympic-style event, and my goal is to win. Then in the Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec round of the UCI World Cup, I want to finish in the top 15 of the Under 23 race.
NT: When you are not riding a bike, what do you like to do?
FB: I started a bike day camp for kids four years ago, so I’m working hard on that. When I started, it was just a fun project, but it’s grown quickly, and I have coaches on board. It’s cool to see how big it’s getting. This year there are three camps, and each is three days long. Check out Trail Trybe at trailtrybe.com.