Vail’s Kloser makes it ofﬁcial: He’s retiring
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – If you were to pick one name to represent adventure racing in the public consciousness, it would be Mike Kloser.
During his 13-year career, the Vail racer has won all the major races multiple times, from three Eco Challenges to four Primal Quests to four world championships.
But when Kloser, who turned 50 last New Year’s Eve, attempts to win his fifth world title, it will be his personal finale.
Kloser, who had hinted at the end of August that the upcoming World Aventure Race Championships in Spain, starting Thursday, might be his final competition, made it official – he is retiring.
“It is time to make more room in my life for other things,” Kloser said in an e-mail that served as a pseudo-retirement speech.
Much of his decision is rooted in his two children’s budding athletic careers. His daughter, Heidi, 18, made the U.S. Freestyle Moguls Team last spring, and his son, Christian, 16, is “showing real promise in endurance sports,” Kloser said.
Kloser began his career 30 years ago, first skiing on the Pro Mogul Tour then winning a cross country mountain biking world title in Switzerland; he was later enshrined in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. He also won a world championship in orienteering and a national title in winter triathlon.
Still, many don’t realize how unlikely his success has been, given his upbringing. The fifth of 10 children in a “blue-collar, get-by” Iowa family, Kloser hunted rabbits and squirrels before moving to Vail at 19. He turned a trade-school diploma into a Beaver Creek executive’s career and built his 4,000-square-foot house by hand.
He said he still plans to enter regional races like the Pikes Peak Ascent – and he’s starting a gear company, OutThere! – but his professional swan song will be in Spain.
“I’ve always felt that if I was going to compete, I wanted to compete at the highest level,” Kloser said. “I didn’t want to just be racing for the sake of competition.”