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Interview with Santa-Fe Brewing/Pivot Racer Macky Franklin

Posted by: Matt Williams |March 23, 2013 8:43 PM
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Though a relative newcomer to the national racing scene, Sante-Fe Brewing racer Macky Franklin has proven himself to be one of the more versitle riders on the circuit. In 2012 he took podiums in singlespeed races, stage races, cross country, and enduro.

For 2013 Franklin has a new team and a similarly diverse schedule. He was gracious enough to take some time after the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo to check in with MTBRacenews about his new team, his goals for 2013, and what it's like to try to make it as a pro in a sport with limited sponsorship dollars.

MTBRacenews.com: Can you introduce yourself to readers who maybe haven't heard much about you? Where are you from? How'd you get into mountain biking?

Macky Franklin: I consider myself a TaoseŮo even though my family didn't move to Taos, NM until I was thirteen. Shortly after that my mom signed me up for the Field Institute of Taosís afterschool mountain bike program and I learned to ride off-road. A few years later I raced my first race, the 2003 Angel Fire Chile Challenge. I got second in the Junior Beginner category and promptly moved up to Junior Expert, barely survived my second race (Junior Experts raced the same distance as the Pros) and fell in love with racing. I got my Pro cross country license at the end of 2006 and have been racing seriously ever since.

More recently, I graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 2011 with a degree in Computer Science and am now figuring out how to make a living while doing what I love to do. In the last few years I have begun to explore other disciplines of mountain bike racing like single speed, Enduro, and stage racing, and this has kept me excited about racing and done a lot to improve my bike handling skills.

MTBRacenews.com: You competed in a diverse array of races in 2012. Can you pick out a highlight?

Macky Franklin: I raced so many cool races last year that it is almost impossible to choose a single highlight. The Downieville Classic had an awesome course and a really cool vibe and Iím looking forward to racing there again this year. The Whiskey Off-Road was really well run and had great media coverage and should, in my opinion, be an example of what mountain bike races can be. And Single Speed World Championships in South Africa was, well, Single Speed World Championships.

But if I had to pick one, it would be the Breck Epic. It was my third time racing that race, but my first time racing it on a single speed and there was a rainbow jersey up for grabs (the 2012 Breck Epic was the inaugural Single Speed Stage Race World Championships). As always, Mike McCormack and the crew put on an incredible race and I didnít miss a single turn, a great improvement over the 2011 race where I missed turns five of the six days due to my inability to see large black and yellow arrows. After six hard days of racing I came out on top and got my first (and hopefully not my last) World Championship jersey. The trails were as incredible as ever, the weather was great and my girlfriend and her parents were there to support me.

MTBRacenews.com: What prompted your move to the Santa Fe Brewing - Pivot Cycles team this year?

Macky Franklin: I had a great time racing for Orbea - Tuff Shed last year, but it wasnít the right fit for me so I decided to build my own team. I got in touch with Steve Thompson and Karen Jarchow and together we created the Santa Fe Brewing - Pivot team. Building the team has been a great learning experience and it has given me the opportunity to work with companies who I respect and really want to represent. It has also given me the freedom to make my own schedule and set my own goals for the season.

MTBRacenews.com: What are your goals for 2013?

Macky Franklin: Win everything. Just kidding. My long-term goal is to make the 2016 Olympic team and that has helped me set smaller goals for the intervening years. This year my focus is domestic races and Iím splitting my time between Cross Country and Enduro. Iím racing most of the Pro XCT series and National Championships to get UCI points and most of the Big Mountain Enduro series because Enduro races are awesome. Iím also attending some of the biggest races around the US including Sea Otter, Whiskey Off-Road, Colorado Freeride Festival, Downieville Classic and Breck Epic.

My specific goals are to win the Downieville Classic and Super D National Championships and finish in the top 5 at Cross Country National Championships. Towards the end of the season, Iím hoping to get selected for the XC World Championships team and, if I have the budget, race (and win) Single Speed World Championships in Italy.

MTBRacenews.com: As someone who does singlespeed, xc, stage races, and enduros, what bike(s) will you be racing next season?

Macky Franklin: This year Iíll be racing the Pivot Les and the Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon. The Pivot Les is a carbon hardtail 29er that Iíll be racing for the Pro XCT series and Single Speed World Championships. Fully built it weighs 23 pounds and is one of the stiffest bikes Iíve ever ridden. It also has a switchable dropout (called the Swinger System) so converting it to single speed will be nice and easy.

The Mach 5.7 Carbon is a full suspension 26er with 145mm (5.7 inches) of rear suspension and a 150mm (5.9-inch) front fork. It uses a DW-link suspension design that is the most efficient suspension Iíve ever ridden and it climbs like a hardtail. Iíve got it built up with an X-Fusion Hilo adjustable seatpost, 710mm bars and the Shimano Shadow Plus rear derailleur so it descends even better than it climbs.

Both bikes are built up with Shimano brakes, wheels and drivetrains (XTR on the Les and XT on the Mach 5.7), X-Fusion suspension, Loaded Precision Components bars and stems, Xpedo pedals, Ergon saddles and grips, and Geax tires.

MTBRacenews.com: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of being a pro mountain bike racer?

Macky Franklin: Traveling all the time, training and racing are all hard, but the hardest part is making ends meet. One of the things I love about mountain bike racing is that there isnít a lot of money in the sport. It keeps the sport clean and ensures that people are racing for the right reason, specifically, because they love it. The downside is that very few Pro racers are able to do it as their only job. Most have at least one other source of income from hairdressing to carbon repair to web design. Racing is frequently more of an expensive hobby than a paying job. But, itís what I love to do and Iím willing to sacrifice the stability of a steady income to pursue a career as a Pro racer.

MTBRacenews.com: What about singlespeed riding do you like so much? Do you make the choice to ride and race singlespeed based more on the terrain you'll be riding or your mood?

Macky Franklin: I decided to try single speed for the first time last year because I wanted to try something new and I wanted to go to Single Speed World Championships. I liked the simplicity of one gear and wanted to see how it differed from riding with gears. At the moment, I havenít been riding single speed because my Les is built up with gears for the upcoming Pro XCTs. Iím not sure when Iíll swap it over, but I am looking forward to doing some single speeding this year.

MTBRacenews.com: How do you see mountain bike racing evolving in the next 10 years?

Macky Franklin: Weíre already seeing it, but I think Enduro will see the biggest growth in the coming years. As bikes continue to get lighter, more efficient and better at descending, more and more people will be buying 5-6 inch travel bikes. And Enduro caters perfectly to that type of bike. It also mimics the way people ride with their friends (spin to the top, race to the bottom) so I think it attracts a lot of people who otherwise might not be interested in racing.

MTBRacenews.com: You work a little bit as a web developer as well right? How do you balance that work with bike racing?

Macky Franklin: Bike racing isnít paying the bills yet, so I have been supplementing with freelance web design. Itís a good fit for my lifestyle because all I need is my computer and an Internet connection. And now that I finally got a "smartĒ phone, I can use it as a wireless hotspot and work from almost anywhere. From a training perspective it works well too because I can finish a ride and get some work done while I recover. That being said, Iím hoping to transition more and more towards focusing solely on training and racing and being able to spend more time creating promotional material for my sponsors.

MTBRacenews.com: You put in a fair number of miles getting to races. What's on your iPod these days?

Macky Franklin: My secret to long drives by myself is listening to podcasts. Iíve recently been listening to the NPR TED Talks, where NPR brings TED speakers onto the air to discuss their TED presentations. My favorites are the talks about technology, food and education. Iíve also been listening to the Mountain Bike Radio podcasts and definitely recommend them.

When Iím traveling with my girlfriend, Syd, we take turns reading out loud. Favorite titles include Bonk, The Happiness ProjectRoad Fever, Stiff, and the entire Hunger Games series. Most recently we have been reading Scott Jurekís Eat and Run. Jurekís story is fascinating and he includes some great-sounding plant-based recipes. The only downside is that it always makes me hungryÖ



anonymous 03/15/2013 9:50 AM
Nice job Macky
Daniel Dunn 02/27/2013 8:13 AM
nice article, Macky is a stand up dude. Good job, I enjoyed it!
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