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Getting to Know Jack Odron
8 Questions with the 20-year-old phenom set to take place in the 2023 Life Time Grand Prix.
Posted by: Ryan Cross
We first heard of Jack Odron last July, when the then 19-year-old rider from Denver took a commanding victory at the Silver Rush 50 MTB. His victory was impressive, riding with poise and control throughout the entirety of the race, and pacing to perfection.
A month later, Jack went on to claim an 18th overall spot at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, finishing in a remarkably fast time of 6:42 in the deepest field that the LT100 MTB has ever seen. Jack’s talent was on full display and we knew that we were witnessing an emerging talent in the sport.
Fast forward a few months and Jack Odron is excitedly looking ahead to a big year in 2023. He was recently accepted to the Life Time Grand Prix, where he’ll compete against the nation’s best cyclists for a chance at a chunk of the $250,000 prize purse in North America’s biggest off-road cycling events.
We caught up with Odron a few days after his selection in the LTGP and got to know him a bit.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, what’s your background and how did you get into MTB racing?
My name’s Jack Odron, I’m 20 years old and from Denver, Colorado. I wasn’t the most active kid growing up. I went through the motions with a bunch of team sports, and frankly did not enjoy any of them. I’m not great at ball sports, the ball usually ends up making contact with my face. Bikes have always been in the background growing up. My dad raced mountain bikes in college, so it’s been a part of his life for awhile. Freshman year of high school I heard about a mountain bike club and decided to get involved. I really enjoyed the group rides we had, instantly falling in love with the ability the bike gives you to explore. I decided to hop in a NICA race for fun with my team and had a blast. I started training with a few friends during the off season. We went on some big rides in Boulder that winter and from then on to race again sophomore year and perform a bit better. Since then it’s been all about bikes and training, seeing how hard I can push myself.
How did you first discover racing in Leadville?
I heard about Leadville for the first time at a NICA end-of-season party with my team. One of the dads was walking around wearing this shiny cowboy looking buckle. I asked about it, and he told me all about Leadville. That was the first time I had ever heard of it. That night I went home and Googled Leadville 100 MTB race and found the EF Gone Racing video on it. I watched it and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was obsessed, I probably watched that video 10 times that week. The terrain, the altitude, the racers, it was so badass. I knew I had to race it one day.
You won the Silver Rush 50 MTB in July and went on to show a great performance at the LT100 MTB in August. How did Silver Rush prepare you for the big show?
Silver Rush is no joke. It’s like all the hard parts of LT100 without the pavement and flat gravel in the middle. I had to walk three times during that race, and I’ve never had to during LT100. It toughened me up for sure. It’s also close enough to LT100 that I knew if I could put together a solid race I was on track for a good LT100 finish.
Who are a few of your MTB idols?
I think it’s safe to call Lachlan a mountain biker now? I’m a massive fan of the approach he takes to bike racing and life in general. All the crazy multi day efforts he’s done for various causes, super inspiring. I’ve also always been a Howard Grotts fan. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with him a few times down in Durango, super nice guy. There’s so many racers I look up to in this series.
Were you surprised to get selected in the Life Time Grand Prix?
Absolutely. The level of talent this series draws in is so high. I couldn’t sleep the night before the results were released, I wanted in so badly. Fortunately the LTGP decided to include some young racers, Ian, Isabella, and I. It’s such an amazing opportunity we have to represent the youth in the highest caliber off road race series in the country.
Will you be focusing solely on racing in 2023? Do you attend school or work full time?
I’m a sophomore in college at Fort Lewis in Durango, Colorado. I will continue to take classes but will be online for this coming spring semester so I can train down in Arizona for the winter. Racing is definitely my main focus, but I do have other things in my life I care about as well. Getting my degree is a priority.
Who will be out there supporting you in 2023? Sponsors, family, friends?
I am super fortunate to have found an awesome team to be a part of in 2023. Our partners include Flow Formulas, Fezzari, Industry Nine, Handup, Ignition Coaching, Lost Coffee, The Black Bibs, McQueen Athletes, and Maxxis. Aside from sponsors, my family and friends have always been my number one supporters. Ever since I told them I wanted to take cycling seriously they’ve been there for me every step of the way. My girlfriend Sofia is one of the top U23 XC MTB racers in the country. It’s been such a rewarding journey being there for each other as we both try and rise to the top of our discipline in the sport. I really have an amazing support system, super grateful.
If you had to pick between wearing Birks or Crocs for the rest of your life, which would it be? Birks no question. They’re a beautiful balance of comfort, style, and functionality. I even wear mine hiking sometimes. Highly recommend wearing socks with your birks, sockless is gross in my opinion.
Thanks to Jack Odron for taking the time to sit down with us and chat. We’re excited to watch his season unfold in 2023 and can’t wait to welcome him back to Leadville!