chris stockburger, what happened to,
Chris during the 2006 USA Cycling Pro championships Individual Time Trial in Greenville, SC.

If you raced road or ‘cross in Colorado in the early to mid-2000s, you undoubtedly had your ass handed to you by junior racer, Chris Stockburger. Chris is back in town and still riding although not quite like he used to.

When were you active in the Fort Collins cycling scene? 1997-2007
When did you live in Fort Collins? (if different than above). 1987-2005, Moved back in 2019.
What team(s) did you ride for? The OG Rio team was sponsored by Rock and Road and La Luz the first year. Shout out to Matt Smith (now of Giant) and Rick (Now of Phoenix Cyclery) for starting a great and ongoing team. I rode for Rio for essentially my entire junior career, and we put together a truly elite junior team for a few years. I raced for Toyota-United my first year out of juniors (now defunct domestic pro team), and VMG my final year of racing (a hybrid U23 national domestic pro team, did Tour of California, etc).
What rides, races or breweries did you frequent?  The oval ride, Wednesday worlds, Mead midweek race, Monday Rock and Road recovery ride (excuse to eat at the Rio). The oval ride was in a great era when I was riding, with Eddy Gragus, Randy Whicker, John Holcombe, Don Spence, Chris Baldwin, Chris Fisher, Ainslie MacEchran, Rich Davis, Andy Clark. Amazing prior and current pros who would throw down. I cared more about winning Worlds or The Oval than I did about most local races.

I was underage when I was active in the cycling scene but I had 3 margaritas at a local Mexican joint when I turned 21… (Still love the Rio and Pat!) I love the local beer scene and was so excited to return after 10 years away. Purpose is my fav local brewery currently (Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium sour fame is from Belgium, just one town over form the National team house I spend considerable time at in Izegem, Belgium, great guy to chat with).
Claim(s) to fame? 11 Junior National Championships, 2 Junior National Records. Won Tour de L’Abitibi (Major Junior Stage race in Canada, won by Tyler Farrar a few years before me and Taylor Phinney a few years after), 15th Junior World Champtionship TT. Top 10 at Tour of the Gila Pro TT in 2006 with Toyota United in my first NRC race (helped Chris Baldwin to the GC).
Why would local riders remember you? I think my biggest claim to fame is convincing Tejay VanGarderen to move to Fort Collins so we can all claim him as local. He came here after Junior Nationals to stay with my family when we were 14 to train and race. The scene wasn’t huge in Montana. He came down most summers after that and 4 years later his family moved here and he graduated from Rocky Mountain High School 1 year after me (I had moved down to Boulder for undergrad already). It was a great era for up and coming junior riders from Colorado. Junior racers included Taylor Phinney, Alex Howes, Tim Duggan, Ian MacGregor, Sheldon Deeny, Peter Stetina, Tejay VanGarderen, and Blake Caldwell. We were all fresh on the heels of Mike Creed and Danny Pate. Exciting time to be coming up in road cycling and racing in Europe with the National Team.
What was the most embarrassing thing you ever did whilst in Fort Collins?  I was young and motivated on the oval rides and I would ride with the crew until I literally couldn’t pedal anymore. I would hit the wall and I’d pull over, call my mom, and wait for the pickup in the minivan with a Qdoba burrito. I was ~13-14 at the time. Tejay broke me of the habit and taught me how to “ride the bonk”.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to Fort Collins? I was born in Grand Junction but we moved here for my dad’s job at Anheuser Busch in 1987 before I was 1. My parents got into road bikes and did some centuries and tours. I did Ride the Rockies on a tandem with my dad when I was 9 and a solo bike when I was 11. Someone told me to try a local race, so I went into Rock and Rock Cyclery and found a race calendar and the rest is history.
If you left Fort Collins, why, when and where did you go? I went to CU Boulder for undergrad in 2005 but still did a lot of riding up here until I stopped racing in 2007. Not much bike riding after that, as I changed directions and 18 months after my last race I was accepted to medical school. 4 years of med school at WashU in St Louis, 5 year orthopedic residency at WashU, and a 1 year fellowship in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah, and I finally made it back to Fort Collins for my dream job as a Hand/Upper Extremity surgeon at Orthopedic Center of the Rockies. I guess having my clavicle fixed by Sean Grey here in town impacted me more than the average cyclist…
What are you up to now? Where do you live now? I made it back to Fort Collins and after over a decade away I appreciate every bike path, mountain bike trail, and bike lane we have here. Are the trailheads busier than they were? Yes. Is there still more than enough road, gravel, and mountain biking to keep anyone satisfied? Absolutely. So glad to be back.
Did you stop riding? If so, why? Haven’t ridden consistently since I stopped racing, but I love every ride that I fit into my current work/family/life balance.
If you stopped riding, what is your new passion or what do you do with your time? I almost exclusively mountain bike now. My lack of fitness is less obvious, no texting and driving to worry about, and I have a smile on my face the whole time.
If you stopped riding, do you miss it? I miss being fit enough to throw down on a bike.
Future riding plans?  I’m still planning my comeback. Is it still possible to have a comeback when all your contemporaries have retired??
Husband, wife, partner? Kids (ages)? Pets? My wife is Jenny Stockburger. She is an Ob-Gyn at the Women’s Clinic here in Fort Collins. She is a pretty good cyclist but bigger runner, she did the Boston Marathon for the 4th time this year (YGR- crushed it with a finishing time of 3:26:06). We met in medical school in St Louis, MO. Ben and Sophie are our 5-year-old twins. We also have 2 Australian shepherds, Bryce and Copper.
What’s your favorite Fort Collins cycling scene story? I learned a lot about the world as a kid spending considerable time training and racing with people much older than me here in Fort Collins. Shout out to the whole Rio crew for keeping it halfway decent when I was around. I’ll spare everyone details of the corrupting shenanigans.
What do you miss most about the Fort Collins cycling scene? I’m diving back into the scene now that I am back and I am happy to see it is alive and well. The New Belgium race series is such a great night with kids races and plenty of fun. Hoping my kids take a liking to bikes and keep me engaged.
What do you miss about Fort Collins that has nothing to do with cycling?
If you could do one local ride again, what would it be? The oval ride would vary routes weekly for a time and when I was fit and we would throw down around Masonville/Buckhorn/backside of Rist with a huge Oval crew it was epic. If I were fit I would love to do that.
Do you have anyone specific you’d like to say hi to or finally apologize to? I was on a path in cycling that took support from the whole community. I appreciate the sponsors who contributed money and time, and the riders who put up with a punk kid throwing down. There was a lot of controversy about my upgrading from 4-3-P12 due to my age. I rode the entire Niwot crit solo off the front when I was 15 in the Cat 3’s and my mom finally let me upgrade to the P12’s.

Thanks to Jim Miller for coaching (he went on to coach Kristen Armstrong, Tejay Vangarderen, Kate Courtney, big whig at USA Cycling now; he was a freshly retired domestic pro living in Foco when he started coaching me), Matt Smith for organizing a great Rio team. Some of my best friends were made on the bike and my path has taken me far away from many of them. In a way I have always felt like I owed the community an apology for not fulfilling the path I was on, but we all have to chase our dreams. May sound crazy but after racing all over the world for 4-5 years, going to medical school seemed like a wild dream to chase.

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