Nathan Williard

Age: 23 | Vitals: 6’’0” 165 lbs | Years (seriously) biking: 7 | Current Residence: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Background:

I have always been drawn to (or rather, obsessed with) sports, mountains, and exploring. Whether it was hiking, skating, skiing, or backpacking with my dad, the best memories in my life stem from these sorts of activities. I was drawn to biking at a young age since my dad was a mountain biker and used to be a BMX racer.

Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a big yard allowed me to first start exploring on bikes, and I was soon obsessed with bikes at a super young age. Building BMX tracks with my dad and riding a BMX bike with markers taped to the front to emulate a TT bike during the Tour de France are definitely some memories that stick out.

I jumped around a lot as a kid between different activities (soccer, skating, and skiing), but then in high school, my dad let me borrow his Specialized hardtail, and I was hooked on bikes again. Mountain Biking was rad.

Nathan Williard reviews the Ibis Ripley LS for Blister
Nathan Williard, Santa Fe, NM. (photo by Eric Cook)

I got a 160mm-travel 26” bike and that was my do-it-all machine. With Enduro on the rise, I started my racing career with Enduro races and also rode a lot in the bike park. Enduro racing was fun, but I still found myself blazing up climbs pretty fast on the 160 mm rig, and I loved to throw down after-class laps on the local XC Strava segments in Albuquerque, NM, on my big bike.

I then lived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, every summer during college, working as the bike-shop kid, cleaning bikes and coaching the local bike team. This is where I started XC racing. Now with a 150 mm 27.5” bike, I was out-racing all the locals with my long-travel bike again, but this time, up and down.

I always got comments about racing my long-travel bike in short XC races, but it was more fun on the down, right? I still dabbled in a couple Enduro races, but was never a huge fan of the prices and the waiting.

Thanks to my friend, Alex, I eventually got hooked on endurance races. At first I thought he was crazy for inviting me to ride a 100+ mile self-supported backcountry loop race with 13,000 feet of climbing. But finishing that race still sticks out in my mind, and little did I know that it would change my riding for good.

Nathan Williard reviews the Ibis Ripley LS for Blister
Nathan Williard, Santa Fe, NM. (photo by Eric Cook)

I have a weird style of riding that not many people seem to get, and I credit that to my years of riding multiple disciplines. I have figured out what I like to do most: cover as much ground as possible in as little time as possible — all with my own leg power and own support. Not only burying myself on the uphill, but also clicking my shifter into high gear and pinning the descent as fast as I can.

I now find myself seeking out the biggest rides and routes possible, such as the Vapor Trail 125 and the Colorado Trail Race. These ultra-endurance events have consumed me, and I am inspired to constantly try to improve my times on all the races I have entered. The mental strength, pre-race preparation, and bike skills that are necessary to complete these rides are what draw me toward them. Of course, it’s all about reaching the next big descent, but it’s also about earning it and seeing how many of them you can link up in the day (and sometimes even at night).

I now spend all my time scheming up huge routes to ride and finding the longest, roughest descents to destroy some side knobs on.

Some Favorite Bike Gear:

Dropper posts (Just need to have one); Maxxis Minion DHF; Maxxis Ikons; ESI grips; Shimano XT brakes

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