U.S. Mountain Bike Orienteering Team: Member Biographies


Team members:
Susan GrandjeanAbra McNairSusan Sherman
David AshleyFletcher HamelTom Puzak
Joe Brautigam (Alternate & On-Site Team Coordinator)

MTBO Team Executive Steering Committee Chair: Greg Lennon

Susan GrandjeanSusan Grandjean
Hometown: Oswego, NY
Current Residence: Portland, OR
Where I lived in between NY and OR: Burlington, VT, Taos NM, Moab, UT, Durango, CO.
Employment: Showers Pass Clothing Inc. - Warehouse Manager
Other things I like to do: "Bought my first home a year ago so I have become a gardener, landscaper, and a painter. I also like to take my little dog, Lucy, on some adventures that involve razor scooting, mountain biking, ROGAINEing, squirrel hunting, playground slide tricks, and other journeys that involve Lucy being stuffed in a backpack to get to our destinations."
Years bike racing: 22
Accomplishments on a bike: 2003 National Champion for Expert Class in Mountain Biking. 2004 Collegiate Omnium National Champion (combination of cross country, short track, dual slalom, and downhill)
Ski-O Accomplishments: US Team member 1992, 1994, 2009
Fun Fact: "I came in 2nd at the 1998 World Championships in Shovel Racing. Half a second from 1st, 60mph on a shovel!"
Something I really need to do soon: Bike Tour across the US
Susan Grandjean on Facebook

Abra McNairAbra McNair
Hometown: Wenatchee, WA (currently lives in Portland, OR)
Year of Birth: 1982
Employment: City of Portland's Active Transportation Division — "I work with the Safe Routes to School and SmartTrips programs promoting walking, biking, and low-car life in Portland."
Other things I like to do: Coach high school girls' lacrosse, play lacrosse, bike tour, take pictures, sing karaoke (I dabble in Celine Dion *and* Metallica)
Years racing on some sort of bike: 8
Memorable Bike Accomplishments: "My racing year in 2010 was pretty phenomenal. Won the Women's Cat B Cross Crusade Cyclocross Series, the Cat 2 MTB Short Track Series and local Cat 4 Swan Island Criterium. Placed third in the Pro/Cat 1 MTB Short Track Series in 2011. Next I'd like to try track racing.
Most Memorable Orienteering Experience: 2012 MTBO World Championships in Hungary — "Such a trip! Having no MTBO racing experience before the model event, it was incredible to see the difference and learning curve from the first race to the last."
Fun fact: "My most intense try-out experience was for the position of my high school mascot, the panther. My year as panther led me to a second mascot position as coyote, the mascot for a local Wenatchee AAA baseball team."
Unchecked Bucket List Item: Bike Tour across the US.
Abra McNair on Facebook

Susan ShermanSusan Sherman
   Currently a pilot for Horizon Air, a west coast regional airline, Bombardier Q400 76-passenger turboprop (since Nov. 2003).
   "I grew up on a dairy farm near Watkinsville, GA, where I competed in equestrian events through Pony Club and 4-H. Bachelor of Communication from Berry College, Rome, GA, where I ran cross country (in 1991, I was district champion and our team placed 13th at NAIA nationals in Kenosha, WI).
   "After college, I continued running, finished 10 marathons in 9 years, qualified for and ran the 100th Boston in 1996; 3:30 PR at Tuscon in 2001. After moving to Portland in 2002, I started adventure racing, a sport that catered to my "Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none" skill set (my list of sports includes rock climbing, caving, hiking/backpacking, whitewater kayaking and rafting, and cross-country skiing as well as mountain biking and running). At first I was intimidated by the compass until I realized that it was really no different than navigating an airplane. I did a few CROC meets to improve my skills for AR."
    Noteable athletic achievements:
Finisher, Primal Quest San Juan Islands, 2004
4th place, 24-hour mixed, Big Muddy Rogaine, 2007
Finisher, Cascade Cream Puff 100-Mile MTB race, 2008
4th Place Women B, Cross Crusade series overall, 2009
Finisher, Capitol Forest 100 MTB, 2011
Women Singlespeed Series Champion, Portland Short Track Series, 2010 and 2011
1st place Women Singlespeed, 12 Hours in the Papago 2013 (MTB)
4th place Women Singlespeed, Whiskey Off-Road 50 Mile 2013 (MTB)
   "I'm so well-known for my sense of adventure and living life to the fullest that one of my cycling friends has taken to posting on Facebook that he's 'going full Sherman'—meaning he's headed outdoors for a multi-day, multi-sport weekend full of fun."
Susan Sherman on Facebook

David AshleyDavid Ashley ("Dash")
 Hometown: Lincoln, Virginia (currently living in Merritt Island, Florida)

Year of Birth: 1974
Employment: Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force, currently stationed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as the 5th Space Launch Squadron Commander.  Launching rockets for a living is very satisfying work!
Family:  Married with two daughters, ages 10 and 11
Other things I like to do: Adventure racing, orienteering, and kayaking
Years racing on some sort of bike: 9
Memorable Bike Accomplishments: During a 4-day adventure race in Cyprus, we bombed downhill on mountain bikes from the base of Mount Olympus to the coast with my 4-person team.  We moved up to 2nd place overall in the Intelligent Sport World Championships with that ride, and held on to that until the finish.
Most Memorable Orienteering Experience: Back in my college days I attended West Point and learned how to orienteer as a cadet.  Even though we were warned, I thought a shortcut through a swamp was a good idea.  I had to turn back after about 30 minutes of walking through chest-deep mud and filthy water.  I smelled pretty bad after that, and have looked more carefully at swamps ever since.
Fun fact:  I have the coolest cat in the world, Taco.  He’s a British Blue with a quirky personality.  Seriously, when I leave town my whole family has separation anxiety from missing him.  We hit the kitten jackpot.
Unchecked Bucket List Item:  Climbing Everest.  Going to the Moon or Mars.  Base jumping.  Kayaking over a waterfall.  The 2013 WMBOC in Estonia!!!!

Fletcher HamelFletcher Hamel
   Member of the local Orienteer Kansas club, attending several meets yearly in the region. Also a member of Orienteering USA.
   "I got my start in orienteering by way of adventure racing back in the early 2000s, advancing progressively in team multi-sport navigation. I am the founder, team captain/manager, and lead navigator of Team Torti. We are well known regionally and have competed several times at national championships (24-hour) and world championship qualifiers (expedition - 4+ days). Some results are listed on the Team Torti web site. Here is a link to a promo for our team's expedition entry again in 2013."
   "I've designed/constructed my own bike mapboard. I weigh in a ~165 lbs, 5'10" depending on the day/meal/training intensity. I ride or spin nearly everyday, getting anywhere from 60-200 miles a week, run/trek 20-30, and when weather changes will work in paddling to the training regimen. I can easily sit down and put together a tighter training plan/schedule for the late spring/summer months, but with an expedition on the schedule for September of 2013, I will be in top physical and mental form."
   Fletcher Hamel on FacebookTeam Torti on Facebook

Tom PuzakTom Puzak
   Tom came to the Orienteering USA MTBO team from an adventure racing background. He loves to be in the saddle when he's not playing chess, playing Frisbee with his Australian Shepards, or traveling in his old and rusty RV as far as two gas tanks will allow (approximately 180 miles). Tom's favorite place to ride is Lebanon Hills Park in Eagan, MN. His favorite place to train for MTBO is on the trail network in the Chequamegon National Forest in northern Wisconsin. Tom's favorite workout: One minute on, one off intervals. 10-12 reps, with plenty of warm up and cool down.
   Tom's keys for success: To stay disciplined with nutrition through the training season, as well and with execution on race day. "Although I race solely for the fun and enjoyment of the process, I know I will see much better results with increased discipline."
   Off the map fact about Tom: He quit his desk job as an attorney to start a real estate investment company about 5 years ago. The flexible schedule his boss provides allows time for more cycling and orienteering.
   Tom Puzak on Facebook

Joe BrautigamJoe Brautigam (Alternate Team Member & On-Site Team Coordinator)
Bethel, CT, resident: 51 years
Land Surveyor: 27 years
Orienteer: 26 years
Hasher: 24 years
Adventure Racer: 13 years
World Orienteering Championships (Team USA): 1991, 1993, 1995, 1999
World Rogaine Champion: 2004, Mixed Veteran
USARA National Masters Champion: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012
Joe Brautigam on Facebook

Contact: Robert Buraczynski (rburaczynski [at] localnet [dot] com)last updated 20 June 2013