In Cross Country racing in the mid-2000s, style went hand-in-hand with substance. Tattoos, wild hairstyles, the mountain bike scene was pretty wild—even for a quiet Canadian. Just mention lamb chops or mutton chops to anyone familiar with the MTB scene back then, just one name came to mind: Geoff Kabush.

While he wasn’t as brash as some of his counterparts, Maxxis-Litepeed cross country talent Geoff Kabush had the legs, the look, and at the time, the bike.

Well, in the case of the transcontinental podium weekend, two bikes—two Litespeed Ocoees. “It was definitely a crazy undertaking," Kabush remembers.

Racing a UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Canberra Australia on Saturday, he finished the race, did the podium photos after notching a third-place finish, cleaned up as quickly as possible, left his Ocoee with his mechanic to pack and ship back home and... headed to the airport.

The reason? Kabush had a race the next day—in the National Mountain Bike Series event in Brian Head, Utah. In order to race Sunday in Utah, he would need the stars to align. Yes, his Maxxis-Litespeed team had a second Litespeed Ocoee waiting for him in Utah. That was the easy part.

His chase for a Saturday-Sunday podium went like this: an on-time departure from Canberra to Sydney, one to Los Angeles, and one to Las Vegas. From there, he would join his waiting wife and high-tail a three-hour drive from Vegas into Utah and up the mountain to Brian Head. The math of going back across the international dateline, then racing the clock to drive to the race for a morning start was mind-boggling—but he was up for it.

“It was going to take everything lining up perfectly,” Kabush recalls. “I was lucky I booked a second flight from LAX to Las Vegas because with my flight from Australia coming in late, I missed that first one I’d booked.” With that second flight, a tight connection was going to be even tighter. Touch and go doesn’t even describe it. His wife Keri waiting at the airport to collect him, the two-headed northeast for the race… with just a few hours ‘til the start.

Over 8,000 air miles, 200 driving miles, three bags of airplane pretzels and a handful of gas station snacks later, Kabush pulled up to the start line in Brian Head with about 30 minutes until the race start—just enough time to spin out his legs before taking the start. Luckily, his fitness made the flight too; he finished on the podium again, with the result allowing him to secure the championship in the season series.

As Litespeed celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2021, Kabush’s place in Litespeed’s heritage is cemented with stories like the aforementioned. One of the top cross country racers in the world in the 2000s, he was a key part of the advancement of the brand on the mountain bike side.

Kabush looks back on his time with the Maxxis/Litespeed team fondly, largely because of the bikes. During his stint with Litespeed, he was able to fly his Ocoee hardtail onto the start line of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Admittedly, despite getting a holeshot at the start of the race, it didn’t end well for him, finishing 20th to eventual winner Julien Absalon. It was a result that didn’t reflect his fitness and expectations. “I ended up with some mechanicals, which took the luster off the race for me,” he says, adding with a laugh “I did get a bunch of attention when I won a beer-drinking contest with Yao Ming.”

Kabush recently pulled all his Olympic bikes down from the rafters and gives them all —including his Beijing Olympics-tested Litespeed Ocoee—a lovely throwback tour with his Olympic Bike Check.

Kabush still races today, hitting the occasional gravel events. But in taking the bikes down for a run-through, he did wax nostalgic on his Litespeed Ocoee. There’s still something about titanium that makes it pretty amazing material for bikes,” Kabush said. “I haven’t ridden a hardtail in a long time, but I remember the titanium really delivering a great ride quality. I really liked those bikes.”