Team lands top step in overall Pro Men and Pro Women categories
By Patrick D. Rosso
Dutch banking giant Rabobank’s unbridled enthusiasm, dedication to the California Enduro Series, and its KOM/QOM challenge made the series’ sponsor a standout in this year’s competition. With additional support from NorCal-based Marin Bikes, their team – Marin/Rabobank – took second in the overall series and its riders pocketed multiple first places.
“It’s been exciting to watch the team do as well as they have this year. The goal that we set two years ago when we started the team was to win the Pro Men and Pro Women categories,” explained Anker Fanoe, the chief retail banking operator for Rabobank’s North American operation. “Rabobank has a deep history in cycling. The Marin/Rabobank team is our first big interest in mountain biking. With the great weather and varied terrain in the state, mountain biking is a big and growing sport.”
The team’s riders had the support they needed to obtain high standings, including the overall KOM/QOM title in Pro Men and Pro Women as well as first and fifth in the overall for Pro Men and first and second in Pro Women.
Besides pulling in the big prizes, Marin/Rabobank earned a reputation as the hardest working team in the series, acknowledging its riders’ dedication to fast speeds and laser concentration.
“It’s been exciting to watch the team do as well as they have this year, said Fanoe. “Managing Marin/Rabobank was a lot more work than I thought it would be. But the ultimate reward is watching the riders grow as both athletes and as professionals.”
The support from its sponsor also allowed the athletes to concentrate on racing and not worry about where the green would come from.
“The support of the team when going to both CES and non-CES races is important from many aspects,” commented Amy Morrison, who took the overall in Pro Women. “Having teammates to travel with, share a condo, and eat with adds to the racing experience. Knowing that you have teammates who can help you not only figure out the race course, day logistics, etc., but also share pre- and post-race experiences is a great aspect of the team.”
Morrison who is known for pushing her bike to the limit and picking the hardest lines said that management and the camaraderie are what really pushed the team to first and its riders to work hard.
“We are very fortunate to have Anker Fanoe lead the team. He is my go to when I have questions or ideas to throw around. He is the glue to keeping our team together,” said Morrison. “I think the team has a very positive future and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Geankoplis, who absolutely crushed the competition, claiming the overall for Pro Men by over 30 points, shared many of Morrison’s thoughts. He emphasized the advantage of working with teammates to analyze the course and with Fanoe to support the team and promote its philosophy.
“The camaraderie on the team was great, but I don’t know if I would call it one big party, ha ha. We are normally pretty busy throughout the race weekend and besides dinner, we are all running around,” commented Geankoplis. “The team has had tremendous support from both Rabobank and Marin. We all share a similar passion for the sport and the progression of the team.”
Geankoplis added a bit more about Fanoe, complimenting his enthusiasm for the sport.
“A big beginner mountain biker rider is our team manager Anker Fanoe. I’m usually fixing his broken bike parts and helping him with Band-Aids. It’s great working with someone who has a true passion for all things two wheeled,” added Geankoplis.
Essence Barton, who took second in the overall for Pro Women, had nothing but praise for the sponsored team.
“This was my first year on the team,” explained Barton. “There’s definitely an advantage racing for a team. You get to stay together and that’s a really fun aspect. The community is great. You always have someone to talk to about the course and you always have someone to work with.”
With the title secured, riders are planning for the future. The next season is just a year away and the riders have off-season training waiting for them. Lifting weights and riding wet trails offer plenty of opportunities for riders to get rowdy and pick up some new techniques and tricks.
But the team’s mantra goes past just racing with each other. The format, the riders, and the social aspect of the sport, not just with teammates, but all the riders pedaling up and down the mountain is a big motivator.
“Everyone works very differently,” quipped Barton. “There are so many great people out here, beyond just our teammates, that it’s just a really good time.”
From its riders making quick work of the trails to its support of the series, Rabobank has made its name know and its riders the ones to beat.
“The enduro format is the best in mountain biking. It is the closest discipline to a ride with your friends, with the seriousness of pro racing,” said Fanoe, who explained that the team and Rabobank’s overall company ethos play well with the sport. “It’s particularly rewarding to watch the riders achieve their goals and to know that the team and sponsors are giving them the chance to live their dreams of racing bikes at the highest levels.”