The riders of New Mexico are a big part of what makes riding here so rewarding! This series aims to capture the unique personality of NM riders and their bike set ups. Anyone who knows Ron will tell you he is crazy fast, has style for days, and always brings positive stoke to any riding session! Get to know Ron (and his bike!) in MTBNM’s first Locals Series Interview!
Ron’s Specialized S-Works Enduro “28er”
2014 S-Works Enduro 29, size medium. Weight: 30.4 pounds
Roval Traverse Fattie SL wheels 650b Rockshox Yari 160. 65 psi with 2 tokens and 3 clicks of compression. Fast rebound. Shimano 180mm RT-86 rotors 6 bolts Ti
SRAM Guide RS
Ergon GA2 grips
Ron hates wearing a backpack, so he rides with plenty of extras in case of emergency.
Shimano XT M8000 11spd derailleur and shifter
SRAM X01 (XG-1180) 10-42 cassette
XO DH cranks (wider Q factor)
Race Face NW 30t chainring
OneUp bash guard
Fox Performance Transfer dropper post 125mm
Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals
Fox Float x mounted to custom 650b yoke and Burgtec offset bushing. 240 psi w/2 clicks of rebound.
Specialized SWAT EMT tool, CO2 cartridge and lever, top cap chain tool. Easton Haven 35mm bar, 750mm wide, 20mm rise
Renthal Apex stem 40mm length with Ti bolts
Roval Traverse Fattie SL 650b
Maxxis High Roller II 2.8 front 17.5psi with Rekon 2.8 rear 18.5 psi
Rider’s Perspective: Ron Cura
Where are you from, where is home now, and how long have you been riding?
I was born in the Philippines and moved to the States when I was 5 years old. I live with my wife and two boys in Tijeras (Albuquerque), New Mexico.
I have been riding since 2006 after being a hater for a long period of my life. I used to make fun of cyclists because I was always one of the guys who played “regular” ball sports in high school, college and adult years. I did own and ride motorcycles since I was 18 and held a Colorado MRA sport bike racing license, but cycling never interested me. Then I had an ACL reconstruction due to a soccer injury, and of course spinner/road cycling was recommended for rehab. I tried spinning once and road cycling once and said “fuck this boring ass shit”. I’m an adrenaline junkie and fairly competitive. Being in Colorado, many of my friends were also cyclists and recommended I try mountain biking instead. I bought my first bike, a Specialized Rockhopper, straight out of the old-school newspaper classifieds, and from then on mountain biking became my favorite hobby. I’m still disinclined to call it a competitive sport, because I am not directly competing with other riders like in fourcross or road racing.
Age / Height / Weight
I was born in 1980, named after Ronald Reagan. Makes me 36 years old as of this interview.
I’m a featherweight at 140 lbs now that all I get to do is cycle in my spare time. No lifting weights for me anymore, which used to take up a vast majority of my spare time.
How do you make a living?
I work at Sandia National Labs as a Recycle Technician.
Why do you mountain bike?
For me, it is definitely adrenaline. I love pushing myself and being on the edge of control. Even before I raced or used Strava, I would always push myself harder every time through certain trail sections or features. Whether it be more speed, more air, or more steez, my goal was always more. Exploration is just as big of a factor. I’m proud to say that I rode as many trails as was possible in my area. In Colorado Springs and in the Albuquerque area, I was usually one of the few people who rode virtually every trail possible. To this day, I’m not sure anyone has actually ridden more trails than I have in the Sandia and Otero areas. I’m curious, I just have to know. Of course, with wife and kids, I don’t have much time to venture outside of my 15 minute driving window. If I did, I guarantee I’d be “that guy” who rode every trail around. I also take pride in being the fastest “blind” rider, I can go race down a trail very quick my first time through it.
Favorite Local Trail / Zone
Favorite trail is hard to pinpoint. I’ll go with my favorite local zone as the back/East side of the Sandias’. It has some secret DH trails that are on par with bike park speed. It also has Tree Spring, quite frankly the hardest rock trail that I’ve ever ridden. So for me, it’s the best zone because you need to bring your game face every time you ride there.
Best non-NM trails you have gotten to ride
Jones Park (Jones Downhill and Pipeline) in Colorado Springs, CO. Sometimes you just gotta go full Super D!
Dream Destination to ride tomorrow
Any time I get to ride is a dream.
Best Strength / Worst Weakness of your riding skill set
My weakness is slow right hand turns. I’m decent, but it’s definitely where I can lose some ground against someone who is really good.
Do you have any racing experience? How has that effected your riding?
I got into XC racing pretty soon after I got into mountain biking almost 10 years ago now. There was only DH or XC to choose from then. DH seemed like Formula 1, you couldn’t do it unless you were rich because you needed a specialty bike (rare back then) and time and money to use lift access. So I did one XC season at Trestle Bike Park. It really burnt me out, XC was so lame. It was just a battle of the guys who got to eat healthier and work out all the time. A race of the fittest and fastest up the hill. And trust me, I could out-ride 99% of those guys up the technical sections. But it didn’t matter, I didn’t have the saddle time or the watts of the other racers. I stopped riding for awhile, maybe riding once a month and with lacking enthusiasm. My wife got me into rock climbing too, and I took a solid year off the bike to have fun rock climbing. I maybe rode a total of 50 miles that year.
Then my old riding buddy along with my wife convinced me to try lift accessed riding. The rest is history. Downhill riding wasn’t all about going fast for me initially. I was ALL about jumping everything and sending all the extra credit features. Very much the slow way down. Then one day at Keystone Bike Park I realized I was smoking all my buddies going downhill on my 120mm travel Stumpjumper FSR. At this point I thought I might have some better than average descending skills. 6 years after my last XC race, I raced my Specialized SX Trail on Trestle’s premier flow trail, Rainmaker. I finished 9th place, which was about mid pack, but it reinforced my bike career towards fun PLUS fast. Now all my riding is descent biased. Whether it be for air miles, or fast miles, it’s all about the down!
Funny you should ask, I used to never crash. Or at least very rarely, and it never hurt when I did, and I never had to see a doctor. My three worst crashes all happened this year, and all resulted in doctor or ER visits. I’m still in the process of analyzing what is causing all this havoc. There is the distinct ironic possibility that I am crashing more because I’ve consciously tried to push my limits LESS this year. I digress, what is the definition of “worst”? Longest rehab time? Most expensive? Most painful?
The worst at the moment is my crash at Trestle Bike Park this September. It was the last run of the day, the lifts were closed, and rain was dumping. It had been an all-time day with my best friend. We were just finishing up riding Rainmaker, which dumps out onto a short wooden bridge that crosses a creek. I was fairly pinned coming into this bridge. I realized that the wet bridge was going to be bad news, so I tried to slow down. I was too late on the brakes when I hit my all-too-powerful Saints. The brakes must have locked up, but I don’t know, I hit the deck so fast. Thank God I was wearing a full face helmet because I ended up smashing my lip and chin into the ground. As soon as I tried to move my right hand… nothing. I couldn’t move my wrist at all and it looked like it got run over by a truck. The next two days my hand was a club. Today, 3 months later, I still cannot put enough of my weight on it to do a push-up. I claim that is worse than my torn meniscus and a dislocated finger because those both had “real” diagnoses, and I was given tangible options (or lack thereof) for recovery. This one sucked because it was “just a sprained wrist”, and the recommendation was just to take it easy. There was no time frame for full recovery. It is this muddy, grey area that I do not like to be in. Plus, this wrist injury forced us to cut our Colorado vacation short.
Favorite bike you have ever owned
2014 Specialized Enduro 29
Ha, the one mentioned above. I’m just torn between wheel sizes…
Inspirations / Favorite Riders
My friends and local riders. Don’t get me wrong, I love following pro athletes. I’m a pro athlete fanatic. Most people follow teams, but I follow individual athletes. I’m probably the biggest fanboy. I definitely spend a lot of time following my favorite athletes and riders. But, they don’t necessarily inspire me to become a better rider. My friends inspire me. I’m inspired when I have to try to keep up with my buddies, and I’m inspired when I turn my head back and see my buddy is catching me. Those moments are what keeps it fresh for me.
When you aren’t biking you are …
Most of my spare time is spent with my wife and two young boys who also love the outdoors and biking.
Favorite Pre-ride food, Post-ride food
Sausage, eggs over easy, and rice before a ride (just by chance, because I bile a lot in the early morning). Any fast food after a big ride is satisfying as fuck.
Best place to get a burrito? Red or Green?
Favorite Tunes at the moment? Do you listen while you ride?
Map of the Prolematique by Muse is my favorite song of all time and never ceases to amp. But no, I don’t listen to must when I ride.
What makes New Mexico a great place to live and ride?
It is a nice combination of good trails without all the crowdedness of Colorado or California.
Words to Live By
Ride Naked (no strings attached and leave it all on the trail).