Team WTB - Ben Cruz
14 July, 2011
Hometown: Novato, California, USA
Team: WTB/Cannondale/Shimano/Fox Racing Shox
Discipline: Downhill, Endurance DH, Super D, XC
Ben Cruz is the most recent addition to Team WTB – Wilderness Trail Bike’s factory squad, joining Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler on the WTB//Fox Racing Shox/Cannondale/Shimano Team in 2010 and the Cannondale Over Mountain crew in 2011.
Ben Cruz featured at The Ranch along with the rest of the Cannondale Over Mountain Crew.
Over the course of a year, Cruz has competed in the 2010 and 2011 Trans-Sylvania Epic seven-day mountain bike stage races, the Whiskey Offroad 50 miler in Prescott, Arizona—choosing to face the stacked field of stiff, XC competition on his Cannondale Jekyll all-mountain machine instead of the more popular 29er option.
Later that spring, Cruz joined Weir on the podium in Ashland, Oregon for the Ashland Spring Thaw and put in a solid effort in the Ashland Mountain Challenge event. He also just completed the Downieville Classic, placing fifth in the downhill and top 20 in the XC, a significant accomplishment given the complexity of the course. Thanks to substantial snow levels, race organizers were forced to redirect the course while elevated snow melt made the infamous waterfall section both treacherous and fun for those who could charge it without hesitation, something Cruz had no problem doing!
According to the July 2011 Decline Magazine profile on Cruz, it was Cruz’s lethal combination of endurance and being wicked fast on a trail bike that caught his neighbor, Mark Weir’s, eye. Living just a few blocks from Cruz in Novato, California, they would often ride the same local trails, where it became evident that his friend’s fitness and skills would be ideal for enduro events.
To train for the enduro season, Ben puts in at least 10 to 15 hours of trail riding a week with some additional time spent on the road bike to build fitness. “A big part of my core workout is digging,” Cruz explains. “I dig lots of trail and not only is it a good (physical) workout it’s a mental one too!” With a goal to climb a million feet of elevation this year, Cruz will make every race and workout count. “It’s really hard and I’m off the back right now but I’m gonna keep goin’ for it,” adding that he is just stoked to be riding every day. “When I graduated from high school, I told myself I didn’t want to do anything not bike related so every day that I ride is another goal achieved.”
The summer race season will provide ample opportunity for Cruz to continue on his quest to climb a million feet and to meet his goals on the bike as he puts his rigorous training to the test, joining Weir in the High Race in Valloire, France for the closing event in the French Enduro Series. After which, he and Weir will join fellow Cannondale Over Mountain teammate, Chris Van Dine, to represent the USA as a three-man team in the Enduro de Nation in Sauze d’Oulx, Italy. And in October, Cruz and Weir will compete as a duo team in the Trans-Provence seven-day stage race.
2011 is shaping up to be an exciting race season for this young, NorCal talent! Season race results below.
• Sea Otter Classic Downhill Competition- 41st Place
• Whiskey Offroad XC - 45th Place
• Napa Valley Dirt Classic - 15th Place
• Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic, 7-day stage race - 15th Place
• Ashland Spring Thaw Pro Downhill – 4th Place
• Ashland Spring Thaw Cat 1 XC – 1st Place
• Downieville Classic Pro Downhill – 5th Place
• Downieville Classic Pro XC – 17th Place