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A World of potential for Wells

Todd Wells (GT Bicycles) claimed his strongest result

Todd Wells (GT Bicycles) claimed his strongest result (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

By Luke Webber

Todd Wells turned in his best ever international cross country result in Houffalize, Belgium, finishing 11th and riding as high as seventh, within seconds of the greatest names in mountain bike racing. The American pro talked about BMX, golf and living the European lifestyle as well as his new role as one of the favorites for the race for a spot on the American Olympic Games team.

If you don't succeed at first, try again. This is a phrase that GT-Mongoose mountain bike and cyclo-cross racer Todd Wells must be all too familiar with, considering his story so far in bike racing - and probably golf, too. Finally after six years on the European World Cup circuit, something which by his own admission is the toughest around, Wells realised a lifelong dream. Getting there has been anything but the traditional route however and can only be explained as a labour of love.

From the age of five, Wells raced BMX locally and then nationally during an 11-year period, but never reached the top grade. Disillusioned with the racing scene, the usual teenage distractions of parties, girls and cars took over, and BMX was left behind for two years. After his break mountain biking was starting to boom and Wells was back on two wheels having fun, wondering why he had stopped his involvement with cycling.

"Originally I thought I'd race dual slalom because a lot of the BMX guys were making that switch back then, like Brian Lopes and Eric Carter," said Wells. "But then all my friends started to race cross country and I lived in the woods where there were a lot of mountain bike trails, so I followed them to the first race in New Jersey."

Like everyone's first race it was a baptism of fire after the starting stampede. "It was so rocky and back then I rode a rigid bike," said Wells. "Looking back it's amazing I actually kept going after that experience. Since I was an Expert in BMX I thought I would enter the expert class in cross country , which was a bad move. I started out fast and I faded even faster, finishing dead last. [I] laid down on the grass and when I got home I slept for 16 hours straight."

This would be enough to discourage most novice mountain bikers for life, but for Wells it was the turning point from mountain biking for fun to aspirations for the podium. "I was still having fun and every day I rode I got stronger," said Wells. "Even when I finished dead last it was faster than I ever rode before."

Read the complete interview.

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