Russell Finsterwald has been one of the top riders in the U.S. for several years. America’s top short-track rider in 2016, he’s now USA Cycling’s marathon national champion for 2019. “Finsty,” as he’s also known, is versatile, to say the least. He’s also an impressively good photographer on the side. His specialty is scenic photos of the mountains and landscapes of the places where he likes to ride, but he’s also good at action photography. Some of his photos of his former teammate Todd Wells have graced our magazine’s pages in the past. On the following pages, you can take a look at this multi-talented rider, his bike and his life.
MBA: Where did you grow up?
Russell Finsterwald: Colorado Springs, Colorado.
MBA: What kind of work do your father and mother do?
RF: My dad owns his own landscaping / irrigation business, and my mom works in a law office.
MBA: When did you first start riding a bicycle?
RF: Probably around the age of 5.
MBA: When did you first start competing in events on a bike?
RF: When I was 13, I discovered the competition side of cycling. I entered the middle school state championships.
MBA: How did you finish?
RF: Mid-pack. I remember Ned Overend’s son winning.
MBA: What have been your best national and international results?
RF: —2019 Marathon National Champion
—2019 Grand Junction Off-Road Winner
—2016 Short Track National Champion
—U23 National Champion
—2X Junior National Champion
—U23 Pan American Champion
MBA: Did you go to college? If so, what was your major field of study?
RF: Yes, business administration.
MBA: Do you have any other kind of career training?
MBA: Did you earn any awards, in sports or academics, while in school?
RF: Not that I can remember.
MBA: What other sports do you like to do now?
RF: In the off-season, I enjoy hiking and climbing Colorado’s many peaks. My goal is to climb the 100 highest peaks in Colorado, and I am a little over halfway there. I also enjoy riding my dirt bike.
MBA: Can you tell us something interesting or unusual about yourself or your family that is not widely known?
RF: Both my grandfather and great grandfather were professional athletes. My grandpa, Dow Finsterwald, is a golfer who won the PGA Championships in 1958, played in the Ryder Cup and was a Ryder Cup team captain. My great grandfather, Russell Finsterwald, played in what is now the NFL in its first year of existence.
Estimated value of bike: $8000
1. Frame: Orbea Oiz, size large, 100mm, carbon.
“I’ve really been enjoying my time on the all-new Orbea Oiz and love the ability to carry two water bottles with me while training!”
2. Shock: Fox DPS, two-position remote, 137 psi.
3. Fork: Fox Step Cast 32, 100mm, two air-volume spacers, 81 psi.
4. Tires: Maxxis Aspen 170, 29×2.25, 21 psi front, 23 psi rear.
5. Inner tubes or tubeless system: Stan’s NoTubes tubeless system with race sealant.
“I’ve trusted Stan’s exclusively in my tires for nearly 15 years now!”
6. Rims: Stan’s Podium SRD carbon.
7. Spokes: Sapim Laser, stainless steel, double-butted, 2.0 / 1.5 / 2.0.
8. Front hub: Shimano M9100 Series XTR.
9. Rear hub: Shimano M9100 Series XTR.
10. Brakes: Shimano M9100 Series XTR Dual Piston, 160mm rotors.
“The Shimano M9100 Series brakes have been a game-changer for me. I enjoy the consistent feel of them, as well as the stiffness felt in the levers.”
11. Handlebars: Race Face Next, 720mm, carbon, 1/4-inch rise, 8-degree backsweep.
12. Grips: ESI Chunky.
13. Cranks: Shimano XTR M9100 with Stages Powermeter, 175mm.
14. Chainring: Shimano XTR M9100 36t.
“I use the 36t primarily, but for training and some courses I will switch to a 34.”
15. Pedals: Shimano XTR M9100.
16. Chain: Shimano XTR M9100.
“Change every three months.”
17. Rear derailleur: Shimano Shadow RD+.
18. Stem: Race Face Turbine 90mm.
19. Shifters: Shimano RAPID FIRE PLUS shifting lever.
“I like the ability to shift down the cassette from the front and the back.”
20. Brake levers: Same as brake.
21. Rear cassette: Shimano M9100, 10-45T.
22. Saddle: Prologo Scratch 2 PAS 134 saddle.
23. Seatpost: Fox Transfer dropper post, 100mm travel.
24. Cables and housing: Shimano OPTISLIK inner cable, Shimano SP41 housing.
25. Headset: Orbea Cros.
26. Water bottle cage: Blackburn Clutch Carbon Side Entry.
27. Bottom bracket: Shimano Press-Fit BB94-41A.
28. Special touches, such as carbon or titanium bolts: None.
29. Computer: Garmin 830, TOGS, K-Edge Pro Mount.
30. Head angle: 69 degrees.
31. Bottom bracket height: 327mm.