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Photo of Russell Finsterwald

Russell Finsterwald


Team: SRAM / TLD Racing

Sponsors: SRAM, Troy Lee Designs, RockShox, Avid, Truvativ, Trek, Bontrager, Honey Stinger

147 lbs.
Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs, CO
How did you get into Mountain Biking?
I’ve always had a passion for mountain biking. My family would go camping almost every weekend and I would wake up early to ride my bike for a bit. I got into racing once my Aunt helped me get a bike that I could race. From then on, I’ve been hooked on racing!

How old were you when you started riding?
I first started riding in races when I was 12.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are so lucky to having trails less than 5 minutes from my door.

How did you first get introduced to TLD and/or Troy?
I first heard about Troy Lee Designs this fall when I started riding moto’s. Everyone talks of them as the top of the line product, so I am excited to be a part of the family on the mountain bike side.

How long have you been riding for TLD?
2014 will be my first season in Troy Lee Designs gear. I’m excited to see how the XC line develops!

Which TLD products are you using?
I am primarily riding the new ACE gear at the moment. They are awesome for XC riding and look pretty stylish too!

Do any athletes/riders influence or inspire your style?
I look up to the guys who have been around the XC scene for a while and have helped the sport grow. Todd Wells, Sam Schultz, John Tomac are just a few.

What do you like to do when you're not riding?
I’m really passionate about being outdoors. In the off season I enjoy hiking in the mountains, riding my dirt bike, camping and just relaxing!

What bands/music are you into?
I have such a wide range of music I am into. It varies from some good ol Fleetwood Mac to Avicii to Eminem. Mostly when riding I am into Electronic music.

What are some of your favorite foods?
It’s hard to nail down one piece of food as favorite! I love Mexican food.. Italian food.. cookies.. mangos! I really like just about anything. Except tomatoes!

List 3 goals you have for the upcoming season:
1. Podium in the Pro XCT race series
2. Top 40 in World Cups
3. Top 5 US National Championships

List a few highlights of your career:
- U23 Pan American Champion
- U23 National Champion
- 4 Pro XCT Podiums

What's your favorite race/event and why?
I really love Mont Sainte Anne because the course is demanding both technically and physically. The conditions also vary year by year so you never know what is in store for you until race day. I like the element of surprise.

What's your idea of an epic day riding?
An epic day for me involves a few of your closest buddies and heading out for a long day on either new trails or a ride that you don’t do that often. There’s no set time to ride or how hard you have to ride.. you just head out with the goal of being adventurous!

Where’s your favorite place to travel to?
Being at home is great but I love exploring new areas in Colorado. I also love being in Kirchzarten, Germany. I’ve trained there the last 5 years so it has become to feel like a second home to me. Awesome trails and even better coffee over there!

What's the best thing about being a professional athlete?
I love the lifestyle of being able to ride my bike as much as I please as well as travel the world. There are places I would never have been able to see if it wasn’t for being a bike racer. It’s a lot of hard work but there is just as much reward.

If you weren't a professional athlete, how would you want to spend your time?
This is a tough one. I’d like to think I would remain active. Perhaps I’d have a few other hobbies other than riding bikes such as backpacking and skiing.

If you were running things, what would you change about the industry?
I’d give more emphasis on the up and coming generation of riders. Of course I am bias, as I am more on the younger side of “up and comers” but there are young guys who have an excellent work ethic and are beating guys with factory sponsorships yet they are still barely covering expenses to get to these races.

Who would you like to thank?
My family for one. Without them loading up the RV to get me to races as a junior I don’t think I would be racing anywhere close to the level I am able to today. My sponsors for allowing me to pursue my dream as well as my friends for the support along the way!

Any words of wisdom?
Keep it fun! Results are important but they aren’t everything.