• Posted Dec 1, 2006

Paul Varnum and Bruce Brown

BIKEIOWA is proud to present the twelfth profile for 2006. Each profile will consist of fifteen base questions and answers with a gallery of pictures. This month's profile features Paul Varnum and Bruce Brown. They are each $100 winners of the 1st annual Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series (IMBCS) most improved new rider(s) of the year' award.
  • Home Turf

    Paul - My home turf is Peterson’s Pits, McFarland Park, Sophers’ Mill, and Anderson’s in Story County, and Seven Oaks in Boone County. Bruce - Indianola. Do most of my off road riding at Seven Oaks (best trails in Iowa), Science Center Trails and Lake Ahquabi.
  • The Scoop

    Paul - I did the Iowa Games mountain bike race a few years ago because it was in my back yard. I had a mountain bike, and I knew the local trails, so I figured “why not”? I found that being fit enough for trail riding wasn’t enough to be competitive at racing. This year I stepped up my training, joined Team 14, and raced in the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series races. I ended up in first place in the +45 Sport class. Bruce - I ride like I sing - solo. Not sure I am what you would call "team material".
  • Who's Who

    Paul - Thad Neil and Team 14 have played a huge role in getting me started in mountain bike racing. My wife Christy, and my son Keaton have also been very supportive, both at the races and at home. Bruce - Me myself and I. Any training or coaching advice I receive are from reading the blog of Team MWC, FTJ, NGT (Married With Children, Full Time Job, No Generic Talent). Now that sounds like my kind of "team".
  • Recent News

    Paul - I took my winnings from the “IMBCS most Improved Rider of the Year” award, bought tickets in the Cyclocross bike lottery at the Cyclocross state championship in Newton, and won a Specialized Cyclocross bike. It’s not really recent news anymore, but it’s still a fun story. Bruce - Shared the IMBCS journey with Paul Varnum this year which led to both of us being selected as IMBCS Most Improved Riders of the Year. Finished the IMBCS Sport Masters 35+ category in 2nd place for the season.
  • Did You Know?

    Paul - I used to race motocross, and rode a mountain bike during the week to stay in shape for motocross. Motocross was fun, but I wasn’t very good at it. This spring I sold my dirt bikes and gear, and mountain biking racing became my main hobby. Bruce - May or may not be of interest, but I sang professional opera for 20 years before taking my current job of teaching voice at Simpson College. Not sure how many opera singers are out there mountain biking in the world, let alone Iowa! I commuted 7 miles each way to work at the opera house in Vienna, Austria for 8 years on my bike before moving to Indianola where I commute 2 miles each way on my bike. Doing my part to combat global warming...
  • Our History

    Paul - I played in a band (The Bottled Blues Band) during the ’90s. We played in clubs around central Iowa. I wasn't very good (notice a theme here). I also brewed some kick-ass beer during that same time. Playing in a band and brewing beer were two hobbies that went well together. Bruce - Did my 1st ever mountain bike race the summer I moved to Iowa in 2003. It was the Sugar Bottom Scramble and I had to DNF after the first lap because the mud was so greasy I could not keep the bike on the trail as my wheels gummed up with enough peanut butter clay they wouldn't roll any more. Tried the Scramble again the summer of 2004 for my 2nd mountain bike race and went OTB, broke my helmet in half and got a Grade 2 concussion. Confused, nauseous and rather dizzy I managed to finish the race! Tried 3 races in 2005 as a beginner at Camp Ingawanis, Seven Oaks and Andy's Rodeo at Washington. Finished all three and was hooked enough to try this year's series.
  • Mission Statement

    Paul - Go as fast as you can for as long as you can, and try to stay in front of as many people as you can. Oh, yeah, and have fun! Bruce - I guess at my age - just turned 45 - it is strictly to have fun out there and keep the dial on survival mode to avoid serious injury during a race.
  • What's Hot?

    Paul - My good friend Cory Heintz is planning a Duathlon at McFarland Park in Ames. The goal of this event is to raise money for the purchase of bicycles for kids for the holidays. These bikes will be distributed to suitable candidates through Youth and Shelter Services of Ames. All of the event fees will go toward this goal. Mark you calendars (Saturday December 9th, 10:00 AM). Bruce - Although almost all the races were new to me this year, I thought the Dirty Duathlon was pretty "hot". I don't think I had run that far in about 10 years.
  • What's Not?

    Paul - People who run over bikers with impunity. There should be a law that protects bikers in the same way that construction workers and cops are protected. Bruce - Mountain bike races that start too early in the morning (anything before 11 a.m. is too early for me).
  • Favorite Iowa Event?

    Paul - The Boone 24 hour race. It is a religious experience. It is Mecca for an Iowa mountain bike racer. Bruce - Sticking to mountain bike races, I think I enjoyed Andy Lueck's race down at Sockum Ridge as my favorite event this year. Why? I love that death figure 8 we all do in the grassy area as the trails crisscross each other. That and Andy's Mom provided the best food spread of all the races this year.
  • Favorite Quote

    Paul - “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”- Lance Armstrong Bruce - Never having met Squirrel before in my life when I asked him a question at the Kanesville Krusher (IMBCS #4) in May, my favorite racing quote comes from him. Just as I arrived at Lewis & Clark for the race the clouds started to dump what seemed like a ton of rain on us. Immediately concerned about my Nanoraptors being the wrong tire choice for what was guaranteed to be a muddy race course and thinking I should change my tires before the race started in 15 minutes, I saw this guy with a Karate Monkey with a "2 Drunk 2 Shift" decal on the top tube and mounted up with Nanoraptors. So I go over with my Salsa Dos Niner and ask him what he thought about our tire choice for the now muddy and wet conditions we were about to race for several laps on in the slop. He takes a swig of pre-race beer, looks at me and says with sage wisdom "Ah, it doesn't really matter. In the end it all comes down to rider skill." He followed this up with another swig of beer. I walked away wondering who the heck that guy was (now I know). In the end he was right and I realized I've got some serious skills to work on going forward after that first lap reminded me of skiing on ice.
  • What's Next?

    Paul - In the spring I will race the IMBCS again, and dip my toe into some criterium/road bike racing. I also want to do more Cyclocross racing next fall. Bruce - I'm looking forward to the new trails at Banner Pits and I also look forward to next year's IMBCS season, but my crystal ball isn't clear enough to make any sort of prediction.
  • Sponsors

    Paul - Team 14 Productions, Rasmussen Bike Shop, Oakley, Giga-Bike, Maharry Photography, Crank Brothers, ClifBar, Mavic, Adidas, Panaracer, Thomson, Sigma, and Champion Systems. Bruce - Me, myself and I. I tinker on my own bikes and wear mismatched clothing. When I get stuck or can't figure something out, I take my bike to Rasmussen's and watch Sterling bang and pull on it for a few minutes and pronounce it fixed. The guy is worth his weight in gold and they've won my business!
  • Accepting new members?

    Paul - If you are interested in Team 14, contact Team Manager Thad Neil Phone: (515) 297-1314 Email: Bruce - The wife says no more kids as our "team" of 2 children and 2 Labrador Retrievers is enough for now.
  • Dues/Benefits

    Paul - See Above Bruce - n/a
  • Contact Information

    Paul - If you really want to contact me, it’s time for you to re-examine your life. Bruce - Bruce Brown, Instructor of Music at Simpson College, Indianola, IA
  • Website

    Paul - My personal blog is at I write it mostly for my own amusement, am surprised when anyone else reads it, and pleased when they get something out of it. The Team 14 blog is at Bruce -

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