Vanbassador...that's essentially taking the incredible role of being an ambassador for a passionate company and combining it with a van to ensure the adventure never stops rolling. When van life isn't enough, become a vanbassador. That's exactly what Jordan Carr and Lani Bruntz have done and it's made the rest of us incredibly jealous. We considered creating a Rad Couples Who Send It post, but realized it would certainly create too much envy.
The duo recently spent two years traveling the country spreading the good word of mountain biking as the IMBA Trail Care Crew and although the IMBA Subaru has now been traded in for the Kitsbow Sprinter, their mission is still the same. Sharing good times, great rides and inspirational practices with the biking community they've come to love. For example...while the rest of us were bunkered down to get through the recent snowpocalype, they were checking out the -12 degree temps in Crested Butte, Colorado for the Fat Bike World Championships.
Be sure to give their Instagram a follow at @kitsbow.venture if you have even an inkling of interest in high fives, van life, outrageous adventures, inspirational couple goals or seeing the US through a life of bikes.
Home Shop and City:
Jordan: Double Shot Cyclery, Gunnison, CO
Lani: Since I've been on the road for the past three years, Absolute Bikes in Salida has been my go-to shop. I can't make it that often, but I make sure to go through and stop in whenever I'm back in Colorado. They're great!
Notable passions, feats of accomplishment, interests, goals, phobias and unusual experiences:
Jordan: Finished the Colorado Trail Race, Vapor Trail 125, 12 Hour downhill race, Breck Epic. I like suffering but love to have fun.
Lani: I must say, my biggest feat to date was living out of a Subaru for two years with my partner, Jordan Carr. We traveled the US working for IMBA as the Trail Care Crew, delivering presentations on trail development and leading trail building schools in nearly every state. Everything we needed for those two years fit on the bike racks or inside the car and we were able to ride trails all over the country and meet amazing and inspiring people nearly every day. This experience transformed into a lifestyle for us, and now we get to travel the West, working for Kitsbow, leading the charge on the ground as the "Van Team" (and, yes, that means we get to travel out of a van now!).
Favorite WTB product:
Jordan: Vigilante tires.
Lani: The Vigilante!
Jordan: Oh there are so many. I'd have to say the Monarch Crest or Canyon Creek. High country rides with amazing descents are my absolute favorite. But really the ride I'm on at the moment is my favorite.
Lani: Canyon Creek off of Monarch Pass in Colorado. You can't beat the alpine views and ripping descent.
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
Jordan: Was exposed to the community. Chequamegon Fat Tire Fest in Wisconsin was the first big event I attended, which turned me on to riding. I then ended up working at a bike shop at 14 and the rest is history.
Lani: My dad! Well, it actually started with an ad in the Denver Post for Ride the Rockies, a 6-day supported bike tour around Colorado. It caught my eye on the way home from a camping trip to Fruita with my family. I had borrowed my mom's friend's bike for the weekend, and despite two bad crashes due to not knowing how to use clipless pedals, the idea of a 400-mile bike ride around Colorado sounded great. My dad suggested we try a century, and we did. By the next summer, I was 13, and we signed up for Ride the Rockies. Every summer through college we carved out that week and toured all over the state of Colorado. It wasn't until after college that I started mountain biking. After a rough start, where I admittedly decided I despised riding off road (that is a story for another time), something clicked (another story for another time), and I've been hooked ever since. The constant challenges of the sport, whether technically, physically or mentally, keep me going. I just love the challenge, the adrenaline, the endorphins, and most of all, the exploration and freedom I get on a bike.
Tube or tubeless, why?
Jordan: Tubeless for sure. Sealant makes everything better.
Lani: Tubeless for sure. I'm know for slamming into things.
3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
Jordan: Candy, Cold Brew, safety kit.
Lani: Snacks, water and layers. I need snacks to look forward to, and without adequate food, hydration and warmth, I don't get the same enjoyment out of my rides.
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
Jordan: Amazing storms both above me and in the distance. One of my favorite parts of riding in the mountains.
Lani: Hmmm. I'll probably think of something crazier, but the most memorable thing that comes to mind is wolf prints. I was riding with a close friend in Idaho, on trails that we've sadly lost to forest fires four summers ago, and sure enough, we spotted a handful of what we later identified as foot prints of a wolf! They looked fresh and it was awesome!
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Jordan: Have fun and be nice. Give them the tools to enjoy each and every day and be grateful for every opportunity they have. Especially on the trail.
Lani: Of course we need to show them the fun and freedom that comes with the sport, but it is also incredibly important to expose them to the importance of action and advocacy. Being a steward of the sport, trail and land is of utmost important during this day and age.
Left my wallet in… (fill it in):
Jordan: Hard not to say El Segundo. But I have left my wallet in a lot of random places. Most recently it was stashed in one of my secret spots under my floor mat and I went months before finding it.
Lani: The van.
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
Jordan: Check out Kitsbow. Get out and ride your bike.
Lani: Keep your eyes out for the Kitsbow van this summer. We will be traveling to events all over the west, racing when we can and hosting and attending group rides. Be sure to stop by for a beer and get out for a ride with us! Find us at @kitsbow.venture on Instagram. It going to be a great season and we love riding with new and old friends alike!