The Silver Rush mountain bike race winner is in Winter Park training for the next race in Leadville and beyond
Although Jack Odron is from Denver and goes to school Fort Lewis College in Durango he decided to stay with a friend in Winter Park this summer. Ordron is a mountain bike racer and, like any endurance athlete, wanted to gain a competitive edge by training at altitude.
“Leadville is super high up,” Odron said. “If you don’t acclimate, it’s really tough. Even being from Denver, being at 5,000 feet doesn’t even help me that much personally. You have to climb higher.”
Odron’s victory came in his first participation in the Silver Rush and qualified him for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB on August 13, the focus of his summer training. Odron described the 105-mile race and its 47.3-mile counterpart as endurance mountain bike races, and while he’s enjoying success at one and looking forward to the other, they’re not the discipline he wants to focus on .
Odron’s first experience with mountain bike racing was in high school when he attended a National Interscholastic Cycling Federation team and started doing cross-country races, which Odron described as “shorter” because they only last an hour to an hour and a half. Odron enjoyed racing and decided to take it more seriously.
“I’ve gotten a little nicer off a bike,” said Odron. “I started racing a little bit more. I called a local development team from Lakewood, Colorado Wait perseverance.”
In Waite’s U23 cross-country team, Odron only rode parts of two seasons. Coronavirus cut short the 2020 season, and during a 2021 season that Odron says wasn’t going well, his trainer suggested moving to longer races.
“[Odron’s trainer]was racing at Leadville last year and asked me to train and try to race with him,” Odron said. “I drove Leadville and I loved it. It was my first 100m race but I was really lucky. I have no problems.”
Odron crossed the finish line with a time of almost seven hours 17th overall and first in his age group at last year’s Leadville 100-Miler. He said he qualified for the race through a lottery, which he doesn’t have to worry about this year thanks to his Silver Rush win.
The move to longer races meant Odron was unable to stay on Waite’s cross-country racing team, but the team’s coaches, husband and wife Cody and Kathy Waite, still coach him. Odron has had to assemble his own group of sponsors and says he currently has five.
“It’s definitely something I’ve never done before, reaching out to brands and trying to meet people and connect and stuff like that,” Odron said. “I think it’s like a really valuable skill and experience that I’ve had to learn how to do that.”
Having Waite Endurance train him isn’t Odron’s only connection to family. Their daughter Sofia and Odron are a couple.
Sofia competed in the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships at Winter Park in July, where she finished seventh in short track cross-country professional racing and second in which U23 cross country race. she will represent the United States In the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship 2022 End of August.
“She’s a lot more serious than me,” said Odron.
Odron said his future in racing will be focused on gravel races, which are similar in length to endurance mountain bike races but not in terms of surface or equipment. Gravel racing isn’t as rocky and has more pavement, Odron said, and racers use it Cycles with racing handlebars and studded tires.
With three gravel races so far this year, Odron wants to do a few more races before 2023. He said he could compete in a mountain bike stage race, dem Pikes Peak tip at Colorado Springs, September 22-25.
Depending on how his mountain bike and gravel schedule works, Odron could also be collegiate racing, but he said the collegiate league cross-country races are shorter than gravel or endurance mountain bike races , are not his preferred discipline.
“When you’re more specialized at certain distances, it’s really difficult to make that switch back,” Odron said.
Whatever the road (or trail) ahead of us, Odron said he wants to keep racing for as long as possible.
“It’s just what I love to do the most,” Odron said. “I would of course love it, hopefully getting paid or tweaking the support over the years and making it more sustainable. That would of course be really good.”