When discussing modern endurance mountain bike racing, you can't have a conversation without the name of Mike Curiak popping up somewhere along the way. Mike has not only performed at the highest level in this sport, he has led the way in defining its very nature, as well as documented its emerging history in the media.
Mike started out like many of us--noodling around in the woods on a mountain bike. That noodling morphed into XC racing in 1989, DH racing in 1993, then to 24 hour and 100 mile races in 1995. "In 1997, Mike discovered the Alaskan Iditasport races, and his race distances increased to 350 miles, from there to 1,100 miles, and then to over 2,500 miles.” That’s more mileage than most mountain bikers compile in a year worth of riding, all in one event.
As race mileages increased, Mike's race results improved dramatically. In the relatively short 100 mile or 24 hour races Mike had infrequent success, but the longer distances seemed to inspire him to ride at a level beyond what many (including Mike!) thought possible. His palmares includes winning and setting course records at the most difficult and challenging races yet known: Iditasport Impossible (1,100 miles), Iditarod Trail Invitational (350 and 1,100 miles), Grand Loop Race (340 miles) Great Divide Race (2500 miles), and Kokopelli Trail Race (142 miles).
Inspired by the longer distances and increased challenges, Mike organized and participated in the last three above (GLR, GDR, and KTR, as well as The Mesa Race) and in so doing helped to mold the way these events are organized and raced. Mike set up a framework for grassroots self-supported racing that has been successfully applied to events ranging from 50 to 2,700 miles, specifically dealing with the unique challenges nonstop multi-day events present. Mike has always stressed a self-supported ethic and in that style has promoted the discovery, riding and mapping of numerous ultra light bike packing/racing routes.
Finally, Mike's journalism and photographic records of his races and adventures have inspired thousands of racers and serious riders to ride longer, race farther, or to simply dream bigger. Directly and indirectly Mike's passion, enthusiasm, and genuine interest in exploring the world by mountain bike have inspired other grassroots events like the Arizona Trail 300, Trans Iowa, Colorado Trail Race, Arrowhead 135, Dirty Kanza, and Trans Utah. These events and others like them draw more enthusiastic mountain bikers into the sport every year.
Mike Curiak crosses many of the boundaries the MBHoF has set up for nomination. His riding and racing accomplishments cross many of the boundaries of mountain biking as a sport. His influences have crossed the boundaries of cycling to other related activities. For all of this I believe Mike Curiak deserves to be in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
Mike Curiak says of his current status: “Participating frequently in unscheduled recreational pleasure riding”.
Nomination by Mark Stevenson aka Guitar Ted