Gear West Supports

Sponsored Athletes

Alayna Sonnesyn

 

I was born and raised in Plymouth, Minnesota. My parents taught my siblings and me how to ski around the time we were learning to walk. I graduated from Wayzata High School where I was an active member of my high school Cross Country Running, Nordic Skiing, and Track & Field Team In 2014, I dug up my Midwestern roots and moved out East to attend the University of Vermont, one of the best decisions I think I have ever made. I began racing professionally for the Stratton Mountain School T2 Elite Ski Team in Southern Vermont in 2018. Gear West has been my main (headgear) sponsor since the beginning of my professional racing career & I am excited to continue our partnership into the future!
 
Notable Results:
American Birkebeiner Winner - 2019, 2021, 2022
Mora Vasaloppet  Winner 2022
Tour de Ski 2022

David Norris

AFTER GRADUATING WITH A BA IN ACCOUNTING FROM MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY I MADE THE DECISION TO CHASE MY ATHLETIC DREAMS. WHILE PURSUING THE 2022 OLYMPICS I HAVE EARNED A MASTERS DEGREE IN BUSINESS WHILE WORKING PART-TIME FOR GLOVER AND ASSOCIATES. IN OCTOBER 2018 I STARTED FRONT RANGE FINANCIAL LLC PROVIDING BOOKKEEPING SERVICES TO ALASKAN BUSINESSES. ALONG THE WAY I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE TO TEAM UP WITH LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS HEALTHY FUTURES AND FAIRBANKS JUNIOR NORDICS TO ENCOURAGE KIDS TO HAVE FUN WHILE BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE.
Notable Results:
Mount Marathon Winner (& Record Holder) 2016, 2018
American Birkebeiner Winner 2016
American Birkebeiner - First American 2022
Boulder Mountain Tour Winner - 2022
Tour of Anchorage Winner 2022

Bio (norrisnoridc.com)


Gear West Teams

PrettyFast 

Women's Cycling Team

Mission: Work hard. Go fast. Have fun. 

Why PrettyFast? Because racing bikes is fun that's why. It's more than safe to say everyone on this team is competitive. We all have goals that are important to us when it comes to our racing. Success is better when it's shared, and failure is less painful. Toeing the line with people that have your back on and off the racecourse - tarmac, dirt, gravel, or grass is what we're all about. We're in it to work hard, go fast, and most importantly - have fun. 

TEAM MEMBERS 

Name: Jenny Beckman 

Disciplines: Mountain, Road, CX 

Why Cycling? Because running hurts and all my friends are doing it. My athletic background is rooted in Nordic ski racing. In college, a coach encouraged me to find a summer cross-training activity that was truly enjoyable because I loathed our weekly trail running intervals in Wirth Park. In the spring of 2006, I found my way to Gear West and purchased a blue Felt F5C road bike (thanks Mom & Dad). After college, a mountain bike was added to the stable, and with a healthy amount of peer pressure and encouragement, I eventually got into racing it. Fast forward to the rainy spring/summer of 2019. Ali and her husband Corey invited me to the Bicycles Blues & BBQ Road Omnium in Clear Lake Iowa because the mountain bike race I was planning on doing had been canceled due to wet trails. I loved it. It was that experience that led me to this team. It's hard to beat the joy & camaraderie that comes from riding with friends. I'm excited to work hard, go fast, and have fun with these ladies this season! 

Name: Gabrielle Russell 

Disciplines: Road, CX 

Why Cycling: I grew up here in Minnesota doing Ballet from the time I was 3 until I was 19. At 19 I declined an apprenticeship with a local Ballet Company deciding instead to go to school for Dental Assisting and give some of my repetitive stress injuries some rest. In 2011 I was looking for ways to stay active and found indoor cycling. I really enjoyed it. After talking with my Dad about how much I enjoyed it he suggested I get a bike. So he helped me find a bike. We did a few rides together and then he suggested I join the bike team he was on so I could meet other people who were into cycling. He took me on my first group ride with the Birchwood bike team on May 20th, 2012. Honestly, I didn’t think I would like it that much but quickly realized how much fun it is. I got talked into racing in July of that same year while outputting fliers in mailboxes for the Birchwood road race and two weeks later did my first race which was the Southside Sprints Criterium. After the race, my mind was made up! I wanted to do more of that but actually, train for it. So in 2013, I started training for road racing. I have been racing since 2013, and I am currently a Cat 2 cyclist. I have been really fortunate, being able to do some Pro races and race with some extremely talented women. I am so excited to race with the Gear West Women’s Team this year, I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun, riding a lot, and putting in some hard work. 

Name: Ellie Thermansen 

Disciplines: 99% road, occasional CX dabbler 

Why Cycling? Because it’s fun to go fast! I started racing in 2017 as a cat 5 and found that I loved everything about the sport.  I love the discipline of training, the satisfaction of success, the creativity and adaptation it takes to succeed in a race, and most of all the sensation of flying around a corner or down a hill.  Riding and racing have opened so many doors for me.  The relationships and connections made have been life-changing and I always try to remember to celebrate how incredibly lucky I am to get to do this awesome thing with people I love! 

Name: Ali Towle 
 
Disciplines: Gravel, Road 
 
Why Cycling? As a kid, I was the last in my neighborhood to ditch my training wheels. I still vividly remember my dad running next to me as I teetered down the street, while I implored him not to let go of my handlebars (a few road rashes later, I finally became one of the cool kids). I started riding an indoor stationary bike to cross-train in college because I always ended up injured during the track and cross country seasons. During that time, I bought a steel hybrid Trek and was soon riding it everywhere - often without a helmet AND likely violating many cycling etiquette rules...and, err, traffic laws. I finally bought a road bike in 2012, and quickly realized I was better at cycling than running. I loved how exhilarating it felt to go fast, and I relished covering lots of ground while still feeling connected to the places I was passing through. I started road racing in 2017, and have met lots of cool people who have challenged me and helped me learn (and be patient with my cornering aversion). I'm excited to continue the fun this year! 

Name: Anna Zawadski 

Disciplines: Road, Fat Biker, and occasional MTB 

Why Cycling? In 2014 I competed in Ironman Boulder. I spent many weeks and months logging long hours on the bike. It wasn't until the bike portion of the race that I realized I loved cycling. As I handed my bike off to the transition volunteer, I knew at that moment that post Ironman I would continue to pursue my love for cycling!! Cycling gave me the ability to control something in my life. I could train as hard as I wanted, when I wanted, and push myself to limits I didn’t know existed. Once I began to see results from the hard effort I was putting forth, I became addicted. I was addicted to riding and definitely enjoyed the thrill of racing! Racing has shaped the female athlete that I am and gives me something to look forward to on a daily basis. Whether it's just a training ride or a race, I am always forcing myself to go the distance! 


Gear West Partners

Maplelag Resort

 
A Family Owned and Operated Destination Cross-Country Ski Resort and Conference Center

The American Birkebeiner

The American Birkebeiner is the largest cross-country skiing race in North America, and one of the longest. It debuted in 1973 and was a founding member of the Worldloppet federation of cross-country ski marathons. The two premier events are the 50 km skate and the 55 km classic races from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin.

Team Birkie

Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC), the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, and the Loppet Foundation are teaming up to create a high-performance racing team – so that the next Jessie Diggins can stay home to train, inspire future generations, and win Olympic medals.

The Loppet Foundation

We create a shared passion for year-round outdoor adventure in the Minneapolis area, focusing on underserved youth and families.

As the premiere Minnesota clinic for health & wellness, we diagnose, treat, and design personalized plans to help you get healthy and stay healthy.