Pro-Adventure Racer Mike Kloser Interview

Mike Kloser suspended in mid air whilst doing rope work.
Mike Kloser never stops training. This is his idea of just hanging around!

Mike Kloser is one of the world’s top endurance athletes. He is an Adventure Racing and Mountain Biking World Champion. Among his many achievements, Mike has won the AR World Championships 5 times, Eco Challenge 3 times and Primal Quest 5 times. Before taking up Adventure Racing, Mike Kloser was a dedicated Mountain Biker and won a gold and two silvers at the MTB World Championships. With a whole host of championship titles for endurance sport events, Mike Kloser is an outstanding athlete with a passion for competing in, and winning, epic races.

One of Mike Kloser’s team mates was 6 times AR World Champion Ian Adamson, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us back in March. He says that:

Mike Kloser’s an amazing individual, he’s a winner. The Guy knows how to win. We it call the Kloser Factor or the Mike Factor. We have the Mike Factor. Its a good factor to have…Mike is a motivator, he’s a positive thinker. We may be days behind the competition, or hours in a short race, and in his mind we’ve got the race won. Ian Adamson.

Mike Kloser Interview

CheapTents have teamed up with Kraig Becker at The Adventure Blog to quiz Mike Kloser about his outstanding career and his thoughts on Adventure Racing…

CheapTents: What inspired you to get into Adventure Racing?

Mike Kloser: I would have to say that I was lured into the sport through a close friend who lives here in Vail, Billy Mattison. Billy had raced in the Eco Challenge in British Columbia. He was planning on doing the Eco Challenge in Australia in 1997 and he was looking for a few teammates to race with him. I had just retired from racing on the World Cup mountain bike circuit and thought I’d give Adventure Racing a go as I had heard a lot of talk about what an experience something like the Eco Challenge would be.

CheapTents: When did you feel like you ‘made it’ as an Adventure Racer? And do you feel like you’ve satisfied your goals?

Mike Kloser: Our team, Team Vail, had won the Eco in Morocco in 1998, but it wasn’t until I got invited onto on the Elite level team Eco Internet for the 2000 Eco Challenge in Borneo, that I felt I had made it as an elite level Adventure Racer. I feel like I have had a very successful career in Adventure Racing, but having finished 2nd the past 3 years in the AR World Championships, I feel like I have left a win or two out there.

CheapTents: What has been your biggest sporting achievement?

Mike Kloser: In looking back, I think this might have to be winning the Mountain Bike World Championships in Switzerland back in 1998! I think this set the stage for my future successes.

Adventure Racer Mike Kloser Mountain Biking

CheapTents: What are your favourite and least favourite disciplines in Adventure Racing?

Mike Kloser: My favourite might have to be the Rope disciplines, I like the adrenaline aspect of ropes and the fact that it’s a bit of a break from the other aerobic disciplines of trekking, biking and paddling that we so accustomed to. As for my least favourite, I would have to say swimming with a pack on in open water might take honours here!

CheapTents: What has been your worst injury from outdoors sports and how did it happen?

Mike Kloser: My worst happened in the summer of 2009, I had the front wheel of my mountain bike slip off the trail and I went over the handlebars. In an instant, I crashed on my head, shoulder, and ribs. I couldn’t breath for a minute or more and knew I had messed myself up pretty bad. I sorted myself out and managed to mount my bike for a ¼ mile ride home. I ended up in the hospital for 5 nights with a shattered collarbone, 5 broken ribs and a punctured lung. I had to call off our bid for a 6th Primal Quest victory, which was to start 10 days after my crash.

CheapTents: You’ve been the captain of Team Nike for years. How did Team Nike become Team Blackwater?

Mike Kloser: Nike sponsored our team for 6 years, after the Summer Olympics in China Nike changed their marketing direction with our sport and were terminating their relationship with our team. The owner of Blackwater is an outdoor adventurer and friend of mine. He was looking for a way to promote a new computer video game and felt that supporting us at the AR Worlds in Spain would be a good means of doing so.

CheapTents: If you were assembling a completely new team from the ground up and could have any three racers in the world join you, who would you select?

Mike Kloser: If Michael Tobin were still racing, it would be a hard decision to pick between Michael and Nathan, but as it stands, I probably wouldn’t change a thing from the team we raced the Worlds in Spain with. I have all the respect in the world for the talents of my old teammates like Michael, Ian Adamson, and Danelle, but they have all moved on now and athletes with the skills and experience that Chris Forne and Monique Merrill have are tough to beat.

CheapTents: Of all the exotic and remote locations that you’ve raced in over the years, which one stands out as your favourite and why?

Patagonian mountains view from across the plains
The pristene beauty of Patagonia. Source: Flickr by thejourney1972

Mike Kloser: I often say that my favourite race was the Expedition BVI [British Virgin Islands], for several reasons, but as for exotic and remote locations, I would have to say Argentina is my favourite location. I have raced there twice and just the shear, simple pristine beauty of the Patagonia region, stand out as the most spectacular to me.

CheapTents: Do you think that Adventure Racing is inaccessible to the public and if so, what could be done to make it more mainstream?

Mike Kloser: I would say pretty much the opposite of that, I think it’s very accessible, but the racing maybe a bit too much for many people to comprehend. Racing non-stop for up to a week straight, with at best a couple hours of sleep a day, make for a serious and daunting challenge.

CheapTents: What are your favourite bits of gear, and why?

Mike Kloser: Our gear is always changing and evolving, there’s ever improving LED light technology, lighter and more efficient climbing gear, new light weight carbon fiber in bikes, trekking poles, paddles, shoes, etc. and the list could go on and on. But to be very honest with you and not trying to be biased, my favourite gear item at this time is the new backpack I’ve designed under the brand name of OutThere! After years of working with companies like Go Lite and Nike helping them design and produce packs and other gear, I feel I’ve come up with the best pack out there, designed with Adventure Racing in mind!

CheapTents: Any people or sponsors that you’d like thank?

Mike Kloser: There are a number of sponsors like Oakley, Princeton Tec, Giro and Rockshox who have pretty much supported me/us since I began competing in this sport, over a dozen years ago. But the people I would like to thank most are my wife Emily and children Heidi and Christian, who have always supported me through the good and the bad. Without their encouragement and support, I couldn’t have accomplished near that of what I have over the years!

CheapTents: Anything else you would like to say?

Mike Kloser: It’s been a great adventure, it’s almost sad to see it coming to an end!!!


Thank you Mike for answering our questions!

If this interview has inspired you and you’re interested in taking part in Adventure Racing in the UK then the Sleep Monsters website would be a good place to find out about events that are taking place. Two of the main UK events are the Nokia Coast to Coast and the Adidas Terrex Adventure Race, but there are many more. Updates about Adventure Racing and many other awesome adventures that are happening across the globe can be found on The Adventure Blog.

To see Mike in Adventure Racing action have a look at the YouTube film below.

Mike Kloser Biog – Adventure Racing and Mountain Biking

  • World Mountain Bike Champion
  • Inducted into Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
  • 5 time Adventure Racing World Champion
  • 3 time Eco Challenge Champion
  • 5 time Primal Quest Champion
  • Multiple National Adventure Racing Series Champion
  • World Long Distance Orienteering Champion
  • 10 time Steamboat Pentathlon Champion
  • 2 time National Winter Triathlon Champion
  • 7 time Breckenridge Imperial Champion
  • 3 time Teva Games Champion
  • 3 time Aspen Highlands Inferno Champion
  • 2 time Iditabike Champion
  • Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon Champion
  • Moab 24 Hour Champion
  • 5 time Elk Mountain Traverse Champion
  • 2 time America’s Uphill Champion
  • National Off-road Duathlon Champion
  • Ultra 100 Mountain Bike Champion
  • Colorado State Snowshoe Champion
  • Jackson Hole Open Mogul Skiing Champion
  • Dearborn Mogul Skiing Champion
  • Everest Award Winner
  • Competitor Magazine Adventure Athlete of the Year

Endurance Athlete Interviews

If you’re interested in reading about endurance athletes then we have plenty more for you! There’s our interview with Mike’s AR team mate Ian Adamson or how about ultra-marathon runner Sam Thompson who ran 51 marathons in just 50 days!


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