MEET TEAM USA. Interviews with the GS Trophy 2020 Riders

2019 BMW R1250GS

2019 BMW R1250GS

Following an incredible qualifier in California, two women and three men are moving on to compete for the International GS Trophy. Later this year the USA women’s finalists will be competing in Spain for a spot on the International Women’s Team in New Zealand.

These outstanding finalists are aircraft saleswoman Kandi Spangler (43) from Colorado and retired police detective Lisa Taylor (47) from Arizona. Representing the men are finalists is sales engineer Harrison Kendrick (22) from North Carolina and Californians Chris Johns (34) and Kevin Jones (41).

We caught up with finalists following the qualifier. See what they had to say below!

 

 

TEAM MEMBERS

Kandi Spangler

What does the “Spirit of GS” mean to you?

It is a mindset that embodies the GS community driving us all to become better riders, better people and better versions of ourselves while inspiring others along the way.

What made you want to learn how to ride a motorbike?

My older brothers and sisters who were riding dirt bikes on our eastern Ohio farm. It was also a handy way to corral our cows.

What is your favorite trail?

Tin Cup Pass, CO. This trail has very special meaning to me after an epic day with 7 gals and 1 guy (my husband) on large adventure bikes. Most of us didn’t know each other and had never ridden together until that day. We came home friends forever.

What do you expect from the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

An experience of a lifetime: Scenery like I’ve never seen before; air scented with local flora that I’ve never smelled before; challenges that make an ordinary trip an adventure; and new lifelong friends to share this epic adventure with.

What will be your greatest challenge at the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

For me, the greatest challenge, and the greatest part of the Int. GS Trophy2020, is getting there. I keep reminding myself during countless hours of training, then at the U.S. Qualifier, and I’ll keep reminding myself: This is the good stuff! Don’t forget to enjoy this journey because adventure is about the journey, not the destination.

What special skills do you bring to your team?

My #1 goal in life is to inspire others. And not just in motorcycling, in all aspects of life. I want to inspire others to chase their dreams, face their fears, become a better rider, become a pilot, become an astronaut. Whatever they want to accomplish, I want to be there, cheering them on and helping them in whatever way I can, to help them acheive their dreams.

Why will your team win the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

Because we’ll have the best attitudes, best possible skills, the most determination, and possess the greatest team spirit. And… because women ROCK!

 

Lisa Taylor

What does the “Spirit of GS” mean to you?

The GS fulfills that sense of adventure. It takes us off the beaten path, deep into the heart of the land and culture. The people we meet along the way often become new friends. The experiences shared among GS riders create lasting friendships and memories.

What made you want to learn how to ride a motorbike?

I started riding at such a young age that I don’t recall ever wanting to learn how to ride. I just always have. I’ve been training for the GS Trophy my entire life.

What is your favorite trail?

It’s difficult to choose a favorite trail, however, the mountains of southwestern CO, along the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route is absolutely breathtaking. The mountains are majestic and the landscape displays the entire spectrum of color.

Complete the sentence: “For me, a week without my motorbike…”

A week without my motorbike would be a week still spent with the spirit of the GS. Rather than riding the GS, I would be mountain biking or backpacking, seeking similar adventures, new perspectives, and lasting memories.

What do you expect from the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

I expect that people from a variety of cultures will have an instant connection based on the passion for the machine and adventure. I expect to gain new perspectives and knowledge of culture. I expect the ultimate show of teamwork. Ultimately, I expect to share my passion with others and inspire others to find their sense of adventure through motorcycling.

What will be your greatest challenge at the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

My greatest challenge will be time. There won’t be enough time to completely absorb the knowledge, the culture, the people, the training, the landscape and all the collectiveness that is the spirit of GS.

What special skills do you bring to your team?

I spent a career in law enforcement where teamwork, decision making, and performing under pressure were critical skills. Every day was an opportunity to meet new people and make a difference. Most of my career was spent on the motorcycle squad. The training opportunities were phenomenal, especially in low speed maneuvering and clutch and throttle control.

Why will your team win the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

My team will win the Int. GS Trophy 2020 because it will exude the sprit of GS. Through teamwork, we will overcome our fears to tackle any challenges. We will welcome each other’s perspectives and share our knowledge. It won’t be a race, but an experience to be savored.

 

Harrison Kendrick

What does the “Spirit of GS” mean to you?

To me, the spirit of GS is all about going places that other vehicles cannot and experiencing that satisfaction with likeminded people.

What made you want to learn how to ride a motorbike?

My dad got me into riding at an early age. It became a great way to spend time with him and also explore. The more I rode, the more I enjoyed the the challange of taking big bikes places where many people said they could not go.

What is your favorite trail?

The OHV park outside Buena Vista, Colorado.

Complete the sentence: “For me, a week without my motorbike…”

…Is a true tragedy.

What do you expect from the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

I expect the challenge of a lifetime with incredible memories to go along with it. I also look forward to connecting with an international community of riders and sharing this experience with them.

What will be your greatest challenge at the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

My greatest challenge will be in the details. A tunnel vision approach will limit how well we can do, so creative thinking will be a must.

What special skills do you bring to your team?

While planning is always worthwile, the ability to see that the plan is not working and make the necessary adjustments is equally important. I believe my ability to make adjustments on the fly will be valuable.

Why will your team win the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

Our slogan says it all, we won’t give up.

#nevergiveupgoteamUSA

 

Chris Johns

What does the “Spirit of GS” mean to you?

A symbol of freedom to go everywhere without hesitation.

What made you want to learn how to ride a motorbike?

My parents got me into motorcycles in 2nd grade and I have loved it from the first day.

What is your favorite trail?

The hardest one.

Complete the sentence: “For me, a week without my motorbike…”

Means I must be injured.

What do you expect from the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

Life long memories of an epic ride with friends from all over the world.

What will be your greatest challenge at the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

Going back home.

What special skills do you bring to your team?

Team work and motivating others.

Why will your team win the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

Because we will never give up.

 

Kevin Jones

What made you want to learn how to ride a motorbike?

Short answer is I wanted to be like my father! Some of my earliest memories are of my father’s motorcycles. He was an amateur desert racer. One of my favorite memories was watching him line up for the Barstow to Vegas desert race way back. I can vividly remember the cold nights spent out in the desert with him in an old motorhome. I got up early and watched him dress and followed him to the starting line. It was so cool to see all those people and bikes lined up ready for whatever adventure awaited them in the desert. He also always had some sort of street bike in the garage. I used to sneak that bike out of the garage starting in middle school after he went off to work. I figured that if I wore a full-face helmet and his leather jacket no one would know I wasn’t old enough to ride. I used to ride all over town in those days dressed like that. I rode here and there in high school, but my Dad had caught on and locked those keys up and I didn’t have a bike. A few years after college I bought a bike and have been riding ever since!

What is your favorite trail?

There are so many good rides to be found in North America. We have incredible BDR’s, the Continental Divide Trail, the Trans American Trail, Alcan 5000, Baja is close by, the incredible deserts and mountains of the Southwest. They are all amazing and diverse in their own beautiful ways. There is only one trail that really links many of the most amazing aspects of the diversity of the amount of riding that I am lucky enough to have participated in. That is the Heart of the West Adventure Route. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a 2,800-mile loop that goes through 6 States in the west created by a man named Tony Huegle.

It’s challenging, beautiful, remote, special and a hell of a good time. I highly recommend every adventure rider to put it on their bucket list. There are also alternate routes that connect it to many of the BDR’s and some of Mr. Huegle’s other amazing adventure routes. Check it out when you’re planning your next adventure!

What will be your greatest challenge at the Int. GS Trophy 2020?

It is such an honor to have earned a spot on the trophy for Team USA. There were so many determined and amazing competitors at the qualifier, I am lucky to be here. The greatest challenge that I face is to honor those other competitors and contribute to my team and ensure that team USA has a strong and respectable finish while making new friends and having fun!

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