Riding with You, Always
There are many people in this world who dream big. Our friend Mark Satkiewicz was a man who could dream big and then actually go big; he spent his life bringing big visions to reality and through that, he’d empower people along the way to be their best. He did this by empowering his daughters to live life this way, he did this in his executive career with brands like Nike, Smartwool and Tom’s Shoes, and he did this in his athletic career.
Mark’s most recent ‘go big’ vision was to create a gravel cycling weekend that took place on the dirt roads he often rode with friends near his home in Steamboat, Colo. From its inception in 2018 to its launch in 2019, to today, the vision of SBT GRVL has always been far more than just a bike race. Instead, Mark saw it as a vehicle to grow an inclusive community that felt more like a family than a gathering of people riding bikes.
The core values of SBT GRVL are Beauty, Inclusivity, Family, Challenge and Fun. Because it was Mark, the goal right out of the gate was to build a world-renowned gravel riding experience. And it turned out to be just that!
Building something on that scale, that quickly, required a strong foundation and that’s where the SBT GRVL values framework came in. The event’s values paralleled Mark’s personal values.
Mark’s family was of utmost importance to him and that translated into his relationships with everyone else around him. One of his biggest goals was that SBT GRVL was not only an incredible race and community for the rider to be a part of, but also positioned his home of Steamboat, Colo., as a gathering place for ALL gravel cycling enthusiasts. He was intent on riders being comfortable bringing their families and friends to share the experience.
He saw the beauty in everything from the course to the relationships created to the surrounding scenery. His excitement when he saw people experiencing this beauty was palpable.
Mark was also incredibly committed to inclusivity in all areas of his life. From pushing for parity out of the gate with SBT GRVL (the event offered an equal prize purse for the men’s and women’s pro field, and invested in welcoming more women to the start line, garnering just below 30% women’s participation in year one, which was unprecedented at the time of the event’s launch).
He took the role of ‘host’ to his hometown and local gravel roads of Steamboat very seriously. Mark always made time for anyone who had questions, and was always more than willing to stop what he was doing to lend a hand. He was one of those exceptional people who naturally had the ability to make you feel like you were the only person in the room.
Another thing Mark was well known for in his life was seeking out challenges and pushing himself to accomplish his goals. And Mark did not have small goals. His drive was incredible and infectious – being around him inherently challenged you to be your best. So many people are grateful for Mark’s mentorship, leadership and most of all, friendship.
As we reflect on SBT GRVL’s values at this incredibly challenging time – Beauty, Inclusivity, Family, Challenge and Fun – it’s absolutely clear to us that the spirit of the event embodies and parallels the spirit of Mark.
Even though it’s beyond difficult to even think about not working side-by-side with our friend on this great event going forward, know this: SBT GRVL will go on. We’re going to see to it that it will not only live up to the high bar Mark set with his vision, we’ll go big and surpass that. Because that’s what Mark would do (in fine style).
Mark Satkiewicz lived his life to the fullest by seeking out and accepting challenges and then tackling them head on. That’s what we will do going forward with SBT GRVL. We want to thank you for being part of our family and personally invite you to join us as we go big in our future and fully honor Mark’s legacy.
Our lives were changed for the better by meeting the challenge of creating this world class gravel cycling event with Mark. We stand proudly to serve you as the community of riders who make our event great. We hope that you will join us on the next challenge; carrying forward SBT GRVL and honoring Mark’s legacy.
Thank you, friend. We miss you.
Having touched all corners of the world, Mark had a special love for his town of Steamboat Springs and the tight-knit community that it holds. Mark took so much joy in seeing people out and about experiencing the incredible things that the outdoors has to offer. He had such a passion for cycling, snowboarding and skiing and wanted to share those with everyone around him. His goal was to create an inclusive environment around these activities that would allow more people to get involved by removing barriers. He was especially dedicated to finding ways to encourage kids to take on new challenges and develop a lifelong love of the sports. Watching his two beautiful daughters flourish in their activities, he sought out ways to help other kids do the same.
The mission of the Mark Satkiewicz Memorial Fund in partnership with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is to provide gear and resources to the Steamboat Springs youth who may otherwise be unable to participate. Whether that is a bike, ski rentals, participation in lessons or however else deemed necessary, this will be a way to continue on with Mark’s quest for inclusivity in the activities for which he held the most passion.