On April 1 1980, 25 year old Ned Overend was on the move from sunny San Diego to Durango in his 1965 Datsun pickup. Middle of the night and pulling a homemade trailer that he says was "just like the Clampetts" he was forced to turn back because of a blizzard. After an overnight in Aztec New Mexico, he forged on through the mountains to discover his Taj Mahal: a rented 8X35 foot single-wide in Junction Creek Trailer Park. To pay rent, Ned wrenched on VW dashers, Squarebacks, and beetles. To adjust his Chi he did epic road and trail runs on the old Elmore Elmore Store Loop. Within a few years he started road racing, going from a nobody to racing the Coors Classic on the best team in America in just over a year. In the days just after the 1983 Coors, a trio of Durango locals including "Bicycle" Bob Gregorio introduced Ned to their five-speed clunkers. He was hooked. "It was like being a kid in the Sandlot," he says.
"I knew right away there was something to this."
Within a handful of years Ned had the best resume in the fat-tire world: four NORBA National Championships, the NORBA World Championships, the European World Championships and the first-ever UCI World Championships.
Simply put, Ned is the man. His contributions to Specialized and the sport of cycling span three decades. Ned "retired" from full-time mtn bike racing in the mid-90's, only to go on to win two triathlon world championships. "Deadly Nedly" is now a vital member of our R&D team, captains the XC squad, and personifies what Specialized aspires to be.
Favorite food? Pasta with a simple tomato, basil sauce
Any Hobbies? Hanging out with my wife and kids, yard work, pulling weeds etc.
If you weren't a pro mountain biker what would you be? Motorcycle mechanic.
Favorite Place to Ride? Moab
Best Racing Experience? Lago de Garda, Italy Bike race. 4000 people on the start line!
Worst Racing Experience? Flats in the days before tubless tires.
Favorite music/pre-race tunes? I listen to everything from Motown to Nine Inch Nails (not much rap)
Strengths on a bike? Climbing , endurance.
Weakness on a bike? Slow starter in races
If you were a part on a bike what would it be and why? Oh wow, the person who thought of this question did alot of LSD in high school.
What is in your refrigerator? Yogurt, pasta sauce, eggs, bacon, veggies, everything!
How about your garage? Ford Expedition, Volvo wagon and a lot of bikes.
Why ride for Specialized? The people who work there are passionate about cycling and creating great products.
|Nickname||Deadly Nedly, The Lung|
|UCI Masters Cyclocross World Champion [Men 55-59] (2012)|
|UCI World Mountain Biking Champion (Gold, 1990; Bronze 1991)|
|NORBA National Mountain Biking Champion (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)|
|NORBA National Point Series Champion (1987)|
|XTERRA World Champion (1998, 1999, 2nd 1997)|
|United States National Winter Triathlon Champion (2000)|
|United States National XTRERRA Series Champion (2001, 2002)|
|Colorado Road Champion (2004)|
|Road Apple Rally Champion (2004, 2009)|
|Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb (1st, 1985-1986; 2nd, 2006; 4th, 2005; 5th, 2008; 2nd, 2010)|
|Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb (1st 2011; 2nd, 2006, 2009)|
|Teva Mountain Games Hillclimb (1st, 2007)|
Going back to FranceMay 29, 2012
In June I will be travelling to France for the 25th anniversary of the “Championnat Du Monde VTT”
In 1987 there were two World Mtn Bike Championships, one in the US at Mammoth California and one in Europe at Villard de Lans France. That French race was my first experience bike racing in Europe. The promoter of the event paid for myself, Joe Murray, Jacquie Phelan and Mary Lee Atkins to travel to Villard de Lans, he put us up in a small house complete with a chef and a spectacular view of the French Alps.
The course was one big loop, with long stretches of narrow rocky single track. I remember one exposed single track section had netting rigged up below the trail to keep riders from falling down a cliff if they should happen to ride off the trail on the downhill side.
One thing that was a little unnerving was the start which was on a futbol field in the center of town, the start line stretched all the way across the center of it, virtually everyone was on the front row, (200 in the senior men’s class) . It was a mad dash to get out of the stadium, through town and on to the single track.
I won the race, Joe Murray was second and Jacques Devi was third. Here is a classic podium shot. (I’m the one not wearing ‘hot pants”)
Mary Lee Atkins won the women’s race. Mary Lee and I both rode for the Schwinn team that year, I started with Specialized in 1988.
Here is an example of the vintage iron I was riding that day.
I was recently reading through the results and I noticed Silvia Furst was 7th in the women’s race. Silvia was on the Specialized team for several years and won the World Championships in Bromont Canada 1993.
The day after the race the promoter arranged for me to be on a morning news show in Paris. He had chartered a flight for the journalists and I joined them on the flight back to Paris. It was an old prop plane with poor ventilation and about 40 passengers. As soon as the plane was in the air every single passenger except me, fired up a cigarette, the smoke was so thick you couldnt see down the aisle to the front of the plane. I tried to roll down my window.
In 1987 I was fortunate to win the US Worlds in Mammoth along with the French Worlds, then in 79 I won the Mammoth Worlds and was second to Mike Kloser at the Euro worlds in Switzerland so it was hard for either of us to truly be World champ. In 1990 the UCI sanctioned the sport of Mtn Bike racing and took over the scheduling of the World Championships.
Bend!May 1, 2012
I spent the last week riding some world class single track in Bend Oregon. The mtn bike product team brought in a handful of journalists from around the globe to ride some of our 2013 trail bikes. I've been to Bend for CX racing and a winter triathlon at Mt Bachelor but this is the first time I have had a chance to really explore their trail system. The guys at Cog Wild tours guided us to some great single track - Lev , Russ , Seth and Ryan (who's wife gave birth last Saturday – congrats Ryan!) We rode Smith Rock, Horse Ridge, Mrazek and Whoops. It was a great mix of terrain for previewing the new bikes and the redesigned Purgatory tire.
We took a tour of the Deschutes Brewery and learned about the raw ingredients that go into making my favorite beverage.
Hop flowers that give India Pale Ale’s their flavor.
At a downtown coffee shop I ran into my old (and I do mean old! ) team mate Paul Thomasberg,
Paul was with another member of the Central Oregon Trail Alliance www.cotamtb.com they were meeting with staff from the State representatives office to discuss their latest trail project. The kind of quality trails Bend has does not come without a dedicated, well supported trail group and thousands of hours of trail work.
Winter Riding and STRAVAApril 9, 2012
I spent the month of February in Santa Cruz, commuting over the hill to Specialized headquarters in Morgan Hill and riding a variety of cool new prototype product. Nor Cal was having a wicked drought and it made for some great winter riding weather.
While I was in the office Sean and Alex in the USA sports marketing dept turned me on to Strava and now I’m hooked. Strava is a free APP that maps your ride via GPS from your smart phone or Garmin. Whats unique about Strava is it ranks you based on your time for specific segments in the ride. It shows you how you stack up against everyone who has ridden those segments and how your time compares with your own past times. The segments can be hill climbs, downhills or technical trail sections for both road and mountain bike. Its been a great motivator for me when I’m trying to do a hard training day, almost like having a coach in your GPS reminding you “this effort is being recorded”.
After you push finish then save the app downloads your ride and you can go to the Strava website and see all the details.
Another great thing has been when I follow other riders I can see all the different roads and trails they have been riding. It’s especially helpful when I’m travelling and I don’t know the local trails.
My Strava name is Ned O.
Captured the stars and stripes jerseyDecember 10, 2010
I'm happy to say I captured the stars and stripes jersey in my age group at the Cyclocross National Championships in Bend OR yesterday.
It rained and snowed all week making the course very challenging with lots of mud, slippery run ups, tricky corners and deep puddles. I had a front row start but it still wasn't enough to keep me out of trouble as I collided with a guy on the first lap and nearly had his rear derailer in my front wheel.
The first lap is the most important in cross because of the chaos created by a pack of riders fighting for position through tight corners. On the second lap I bridged up to the early leader, Norm Kreiss . We both ride for the Cal Strawberry's team. Norm and I put a gap on the rest of the field and then halfway through the 40 minute race I got away for the win. I was riding the
Crux pro with our new Terra mud tire. My equipment performed flawlessly.
Thanks to the race support staff and the guys in the tire group!