We caught up with Tom Morgan and Scot Nicol and asked them about Ibis’s relationship with Anne-Caroline.
Mtbr: How did Ibis come to sponsor Anne-Caroline Chausson? What is she like as a person?
Tom Morgan of Ibis: To an outsider, Ibis’s relationships with Anne-Caro and Brian Lopes might appear like some sort clinically thought out marketing strategy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. That said, the truth is far more interesting and satisfying – to us at least. Though the stories of how Ibis came to sponsor both Anne-Caro and Brian are totally separate, the tales are very similar. In both cases, they found themselves at a transitional point in their careers, looking to do something different, riding for their love of the sport instead of a paycheck, and without a bike sponsor. Both connected with Ibis through friends who loaned them their personal bikes to try, and both enjoyed the bikes enough to pursue riding for this crazy little company out of Santa Cruz, CA.
In the case of Anne-Caro, we only knew her through reputation, and what a reputation! It does her a disservice to say that she is just the greatest female downhiller of all time. In my opinion, she should be part of the discussion when talking about the greatest cyclists of all time. Her palmares is simply ridiculous.
Needless to say, the first time I met her I was more than a little star struck and anxious. However, in person she is incredibly shy and unassuming. The first time we got to spend and extended period of time with Anne-Caro was last year while we were shooting some videos in Southern California. For the first day or so, I think Anne-Caro was trying to get figure out how she got holed up with these weirdos from California, but I think once she realized that we were harmless she started to open up. In her comfort zone, Anne-Caro was sweet, thoughtful, and surprisingly funny.
Working with Anne-Caro and Brian over these past few years has personally been a revelation in what it means to be a champion. That is, what separates them from everyone else. Spend any time with either of them and their focus and their professionalism comes through crystal clear. They both like to have a good time, but when it comes to riding they are very serious about what they do. I think that their approach goes a long way to explaining why they’re still racing and still winning after so many years.
Mtbr: What are your goals with Anne-Caroline for 2013?
Tom Morgan of Ibis: Obviously, several years ago Anne-Caro switched to racing enduros and mass start downhills like the Mega-Avalanche. For 2013 she plans to contest the Enduro World Series races, and this will be her primary focus. We were hoping that the UCI would make enduro a World Championship event this year, but given what’s going on with the UCI right now we’re more than happy that Chris Ball took the initiative to start the Enduro World Series. Also, she’ll be contesting the Avalanche Cup series, which she has dominated for the past couple of years.
One last note, Anne-Caro is a truly special rider. Anyone who has seen her ride knows that she is not just ‘good for a girl’, she’s just good. And one of the greatest oversights has been the failure of the cycling media to give her more coverage. There is never going to be another like her, and we should enjoy watching her while we can.