North Californian Ben Cruz began racing downhill at the age of 12, and was inspired to take his skills to the next level by mountain biking legend Mark Weir. He turned professional as a 20-year-old in 2010, and, a year later was signed to the Cannondale Overmountain team alongside riders such as his hero Weir and Jerome Clementz.
His professional career didn’t start too well, as he broke his ankle in the 2011 Trans Provence race, but he picked himself up, dusted himself off and came back strongly in the same event the following year to finish in a creditable 13th place. He also beat Clementz to take the 2012 National Enduro Race in Valdivia, Chile.
In 2013, his first full-time season on the circuit, he finished third in the Spanish Big Ride national enduro in Tui and followed that result up with a fourth-placed finish in the Enduro des Hautes Vosges in la Bresse, France. He also featured in the inaugural Enduro World Series, with a best result of sixth in the first race at Punta Ala, and an overall ranking of 53rd.
Ben may not be the smoothest rider around, but he has an amazing set of bike riding skills, and an unrivalled ability to push a bike as far as it can go. Expect him to move up a gear in 2014, making the transition from product tester to professional trained athlete in the second edition of the Enduro World Series as well as the California Enduro Series and other international races.