Mason Bacso is a member of the KÜHL Cycling Team. A collegiate cross country skier, Mason started cycling after college as a way to fill the competitive void. His first race was a low key weekday race in the intermediate category. He crashed 9 times and finished second to last, but the people in the sport were so nice and easy going that he decided to keep at it. A few years later he found himself on the podium of an elite race and realized he'd fallen in love with the sport of mountain biking. He finished his 2016 season by continuing his long-running streak of finishing 5th or higher in major races and series.
Mountain bike racing each summer has become a staple for my wife and me. We love being able to compete and push ourselves, but more importantly we love the people and the sport.
Last summer was no exception. My wife and I traveled throughout the Midwest for riding and racing opportunities. We were blessed with great weather, amazing new trails, and a top notch community.
Last year was a banner year for Duluth, MN. The construction of new trails added more than 20 miles within city limits, including one that is about a block from our house. The majority of the new trails are considered green or easy in difficulty, but they're still fun for all skill levels. With all of the new additions, it was amazing to see families and individuals on the trails who wouldn't have been previously. The mountain bike community is gaining momentum, and members make Duluth an exciting place to be. This led to some awesome rides and adventures with fellow KÜHL cyclist Scott Kylander-Johnson.
The race season was also a great success with solid performances and consistent results. I continued my 2.5 year streak of finishing 5th place or higher. The majority of my summer races were part of the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series. The series offers a great environment, and athletes range from first time racers to past Olympic hopefuls. Each event drew up to 450 racers, making it another year of record attendance.
I made many additional connections and friends, rode my bike fast, and enjoyed each and every race. I finished the series 3rd overall with all my results between 2nd and 5th place. Series highlights included another fabulous weekend racing at Maplelag resort, getting edged out in a sprint finish with my little brother, and suffering up and down Spirit Mountain in Duluth, MN five times. I'm excited to go at it again in 2017!
I also competed in the Mt. Borah Epic race and the Lutsen 99er. The Mt. Borah Epic took place in Cable, WI on the CAMBA trail system. With constant rain coming down, the race quickly turned into a slip and slide. I was able to attack my group with a few miles remaining and finished 5th and covered in mud.
Lutsen 99er is a 99-mile mountain bike race on gravel roads, four wheel trails, and single track. It had everything: a chilly start, high winds, downpours, and warm sun. At the half way point I was dropped by another rider, but I was still able to hold on for 4th place overall. My wife took the victory in the woman’s race so Lutsen was a particularly memorable race.
My participation in the Duluth Enduro Series was another season highlight. The Duluth Enduro Series is a free 6-race series consisting of mostly technical downhills and good times. Each week brought around 75 individuals to the event. I rocked my hard tail and occasional rigid and was able to hold my own against the full-on endure folks. I finished 5th overall in the series with several podium places on the more pedaling courses and some further back on the more extreme courses. Downhill speedster Scott Kylander-Johnson took the overall victory in the series.
The mountain bike season was another great success, and I can't thank KÜHL enough for their amazing support and commitment to the sport! I'm proud to represent a company that epitomizes a way of life that all outdoor enthusiasts can embrace.