The Aventon Racing Team began in the Fall of 2014, with the goal of being one of the top fixed gear crit teams in the world. We had a late start for the 2015 season, but things quickly began coming together. We took our first major fixed gear win at the men’s Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center crit in downtown Los Angeles. The team continued the winning style in 2016 and 2017, taking numerous wins in multiple countries, and winning the men’s and women’s Red Hook Crit series team competition, as well as the women’s individual competition, cementing their place as the top team on the international stage.
Our team for 2018 national champions and world championship level athletes. Check out the bios below to learn more about our riders and get a look into their world via social media!
Team Director: SEAN BURKE
Sean Burke has ridden and raced just about every type of bike there is. He has coached riders from 7 to 70, including state and national champions. He loves long climbing rides but is a track racer at heart. And plans to lead Aventon Racing to a successful season in 2018. Sean is the founder and head coach at Crank Cycling as well as the co-founder of Appetite 4 Adventure.
Chris Tolley was born in Beverly Hills, but moved to Columbus, Ohio for high school and went to college at Northeastern University in Boston. He’s currently living in Austin, which is also where he would pick if he could live anywhere on earth.
Chris started racing at Red Hook Crit in 2014! We would love to say it was a baptism of fire but realistically it was a baptism of rain and cold! “I still remember almost backing out because I had no idea what I was doing. I had only ridden a few alley cats and generally just liked to smash on my pedals alone, never around 85 other racers.” Despite this, he finished an impressive 32nd. He has been taking risks in the rain ever since then. After the last Red Hook Crit in Barcelona, he decided to rent a road bike and ride up to Montserrat. On the way down in the mist, he came across 2 tour buses stuck in a hairpin and somehow managed to thread the gap between them at 40 MPH. “It was sick, and I always laugh because shit could've gone terribly. Life is tight”. Despite his ability to avoid crashing into them, Chris enjoys collecting rocks. He says he brings home some new rocks (along with coffee and sore IT bands) from every travel race.
Off the bike, Chris has more delicate tastes. He loves to bake “It's like a science but with food” and says he would bring Momufuku compost cookies from scratch if you invited him to a party (hint, hint, you should invite him to your party). If you run into him at a bar, he wants a drink that tastes He is “a big fan of floral drinks. I want to have a drink that reminds me of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles.” Alternatively, take “a really good whiskey.” Bear in mind that whatever you buy him you’ll never displace his love for animals, he says he “holds dogs in higher regard than most people I met. They’re honestly too good for this world”.
Chris grew up riding BMX. He says his whole left shim looks like one big scar from years of smashing pedals into it. His favorite photo of himself reflects his heritage. “This was taken around 2010-2011 by my friend Levi Marshall in Columbus, Ohio. I don't think anyone had ever barspun through the 0 before. One night on OSU campus we had all the camera gear set up and I went for it. I failed miserably the first time but got it on the second try. I wasn't just stoked on the trick, I was stoked that I had a great group of friends to ride with. It's sort of nostalgic because I miss that crew of riders. We're all scattered across the country now, and some of them stopped riding.”
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why?
That show! I Can't get into it. If I'm a TV show character its Rustin Cohle from True Detective.
Cheese of preference: Goat cheese, or the sharpest, saltiest cheddar in the fridge.
Tristan Uhl was born and raised in Smithville, Texas. But he dreams of the day when he can live the dream of traveling around Europe full time in an RV blaring out dirty techno music. It might be a challenge to fit his 10 bikes and his Labrador in there but, then again, nothing is impossible for a man with such a robust ‘stache. He’s been racing bikes since he was 4, but thankfully he has moved on from humiliating toddlers to crushing grown ass men.
Talking of manhood, Tristan regaled us with a story of the most painful moment of his life when a wasp stung him on a training ride. We’ll leave you to join the dots on that one, but it does not sound like fun.
Tristan is a fan of bitter drinks, he likes to bring back a bag of local coffee from races and loves a good IPA. We imagine he had quite a few of those after his last Red Hook crash, but this year he’s back at it complete with a well-sized lump on his collarbone.
If you were an animal, what would you be: a bird, so I could fly (perhaps he still wants to chase down that wasp)
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why? Dragon queen for sure.
Cheese of Preference: Easy (we told you he was from Texas)
Just like Aventon bikes, David Santos is SoCal born and raised even if his complexion might make you think otherwise*. He’s been racing bikes since 2009, in his first race, he dropped everyone and nearly won the race that started beforehand as well. Since then, he’s been dropping everyone on the road, mountain bike and now on his track bike. Dave picked up a fixed gear for the first time in 2015 as part of the Aventon factory team and promptly won his first race.
It’s not just Dave’s taste in bike races that is eclectic: He’s a big fan of his wife’s chocolate chip Nutella cookies, but he’s not a salad dodger, his potluck go-to is a plate of hummus and veggies. That’s the kind of balance that keeps him going around corners at 30 MPH.
Dave’s spirit animal is his ridiculously cute little dog Sprocket and if you catch him at the bar, by him an old-fashioned (but not with a cherry in, Dave is a man of principle and he doesn’t stand for any of that fruit in booze nonsense). If you manage to buy him a couple of drinks, he might tell you about the crash that gave him the scars on his ass cheeks or the fact that he was such a messy kid that his parents used to hose him down before they let him come inside. Come to think of it, we can see why Dave gets on so well with his fluffy white dog!
Cheese of Preference: A French Camembert
Number of bikes currently owned: A round dozen
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why? John Snow: He’s a badass fighter and can come back from the dead. He also had a pet wolf.
*Dave embraces his role as a spokesman for the ginger community and wants young gingers to grow up with healthy role models.
Olivier brings some international flair to the Aventon team. He doesn’t have any pets, but he shares his house in Dijon with Eleonore and the collection of cycling caps he likes to bring home from races. If you want to trade him for a jar, bring a 6 pack of Corona, that is his beer of choice after a hard race. Don’t let him have too many though, he admits to being “an awful singer”
Is a strong rider with a love for strong cheese, indeed he says that if we hosted a potluck he would bring along a hunk of his local specialty, Epoisses. Much like his fromage of choice, Olivier hits hard from the outset and has been doing so since he won his first bike race at 2 years old.
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why? “what is this? I have never seen this series” (maybe the series got guillotined along with the French Monarchy?)
Number of bikes owned: 7, one for every day of the week.
Cheese of Preference: Epoisses, duh
Isaac Howe has considered a life as a lumberjack, as he lived in Burlington Vermont for over a decade. However, he’s recently been given cause to retire all snow pants and plaid shirts because he’s living in San Diego CA. He says he’ll go back, we say the beach and the sunshine will win him over.
Isaac began bike racing at 10 years old, he came 3rd and is still upset about it. So upset was he at the time that he immediately began training and racing and has not stopped since. Isaac had a great pro career with teams such as Smart Stop and Kenda/ 5 Hour Energy. Isaac attributes his success to hard work, dedication and homemade Grilled Pizza. “If you think "pizza legs" leads to anything but raised arms over a finish line then you’ve just not had good pizza.”
Isaac has matured in some ways since those junior racing days though. He recalls racing in Ireland and living in a second story apartment. “Our coach made us do 20 minutes of yoga every morning and we thought it was hilarious to wear only socks over our privates and leave the windows and blinds completely open to give an entertaining show to the tourists driving by on the top levels of double-decker buses”. He maintains that “I wouldn’t do it again but the memory of being a stupid kid thinking that was the funniest thing on earth always makes me laugh”. Just to be safe, steer clear of the second floor of the Aventon riders’ hostel if you find yourself at Red Hook races this year.
Isaac might leave behind some scared tourists, but he likes to come home with a coffee mug from every travel race to remind himself of all the cool places he has been as he starts every day. Later in the day, Isaac enjoys the occasional dry extra dirty Hendricks martini. Unless he is feeling healthy, in which case he claims to “really enjoy beet juice with ginger and blended spinach, or the chicken broth that comes with ramen noodles.” You can find him enjoying his martini with his cat Stevie, who is named after a weed eating mountain lion form a show called Trailer Park Boys. Isaac wants you to know that you should watch this show past the first few episodes, he feels very strongly about this.
Isaac had a pretty great pro road career but it wasn’t all good times. He recalls crashing so hard in a sprint in 2015 that his “elbow bone was visible, and my hip looked almost as bad.” He rode the “last 45 miles solo with two broken shifters… I was very angry at myself that day and looking at those scars is a constant reminder to not do that ever again!”. Along with the scars from this crash, Isaac likes to keep a photo of himself riding a stationary bike after breaking his collarbone handy. He says, “that was the most emotional and physically painful thing I’ve ever experienced, this photo serves as a reminder that I can withstand anything as long as I keep my head up and my mindset focused on the road ahead.”
Number of bikes owned:
4, it was 7 but some lucky storage unit thief struck gold when he discovered my carbon stash shortly after moving. I’m keeping busy with one road, track, cross, and mountain bike.
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why?
I wouldn’t wish that life for anyone, not even the UHC crit team (JK I like those guys but seriously they won too much). If there is any fact that can be taken from that show, other than the fact that people from this fantasy renaissance era are all extremely attractive, it’s that death lurks around every corner and winter is always coming. No Bueno.
Cheese of Preference: Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar. Real cheddar cheese is white and must be well aged. If the cheese is orange, then is not worth eating and it did not come from Vermont. (We’d like to insert here that Chedda Cheese comes from England, not New England, but I guess Vermont is closer than San Diego, so we will let it pass)
Kym is a long-term Aventon rider, she’s been with the team since the start and embodies a lot of what we love about the fixed gear culture. She got her start racing in the Bronx, taking part in an Alleycat that rewarded her messenger skills and which she only entered to win the new bag that she needed!
Kym is a big fan of “killer box wine” which she feels pairs well with kale. This might explain why her favorite souvenir from a race is said to be “a terrible hangover”. So if you happen to see her on a plane, it might not be the best time to say hi as she probably wants to remain undisturbed. Kym is so serious about avoiding the unnecessary attention that, as a child, she used to change her name every season at school. She hated Kym and “My parents said I could change it so I did. So in first grade, I introduced myself as Autumn. Then at the next school (same year- we moved a lot), I chose Summer. Then Spring, then Winter”. Despite this, Kym doesn’t watch Game of Thrones, probably because the whole “Winter is coming” thing got a bit much.
Kym splits her time between New York and Cape Town and despite her three cats, eight bikes, frequent travels, and a scar on her knee that “looks like a mouth”, she is “miraculously” not single.
What is your favorite photo of yourself? All of them, I’m adorable.
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why? “People told me I looked like Kalisi when my hair was white, so her? I don’t really watch it”
Cheese of Preference: Dad jokes
Esther Walker lives in San Diego California but hails from North Dakota. It wasn’t until she made it out to the best coast that she started racing bikes). Esther has started 2018 well with a win at the Mission Crit in San Francisco and hoped to repeat that performance at Red Hook.
Despite her early showing of climbing prowess, Esther “absolutely loves cheese” and makes a mean vegetarian lasagna. If you run into Esther in a bar, she likes to drink gin and tonic. Perhaps after several of these, you might get her to tell you why her spirit animal is an octopus.
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why? Not Joffrey, I hate Joffrey (Esther admits to not making it past season 1)
Cheese of Preference: “Do I have to pick, cheese is great, there are so many”
Eleonore Saravia, 2017 Red Hook Series champion comes from Verdun, which you might have learned about in history class due to its pivotal role in World War 1. Now, she lives with Olivier in Dijon, which you probably heard about last time you ordered a fancy hot dog. She’s been racing since she was 6, mainly because she won some chocolate in her first ever race and has been motivated by this success ever since.
Her spirit animal is the raccoon from Pocahontas, and she shares its sweet tooth. She likes to bring home honey from races and makes some mean French dessert when given the chance. She says she would love to live in Montreal, but her drink of choice is a Mojito, which might be hard to come by in the land of maple syrup and Crown Royal. When nobody is looking, she likes to sing songs by Adele, so do us all a favor and keep your eyes on her at the races this year!
Cheese of Preference: Comté, it is made in the Jura Mountains of France and it comes in flat circular discs making it the most aerodynamic choice for cheese enthusiasts.
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why? Arya Stark of course! I love her tomboy side and her adventurous, curious character.
Number of Bikes owned: a paltry 5, maybe she can win a few races this year and add to that tally.
Lisa comes to us from the Amsterdam and earned her athletic chops in the world of rowing, where she is an under 23 world champion, and represented the gold medal-winning Dutch team as an alternate at the Rio Olympics. Soon after the 2016 games, she turned her attention to cycling. In a town known for bike paths as well as canals, cycling seemed like the obvious transition, and Lisa quickly became a fixture on the fixed gear scene.
Lisa can ride for hours fueled only by stroopwafel, and bitterballen, and his ready to help the team ride to victory in 2018
Cheese of Preference: Gouda of course, just be sure to age it for 18 months or more. Stop by the Amsterdam Cheese Museum and learn all about it.
Which Game of Thrones character would you be and why? Brienne of Tarth is a tough woman who doesn’t let anything get in her way.
Number of Bikes owned: only 3, but there is always room for more.