Exclusive: Meet the Man in the Orange Suit! ⚡

If you’ve ever run into Norte Man, you’ve experienced pure energy and unquestionable positivity. It’s contagious. He is the ultimate hype man, and it goes far deeper. When he calls a race, cheers on riders and runners on the trails, or celebrates new sidewalks to schools, he’s inviting all of us into the world of happy, healthy, strong. We recently sat down with Norte Man to learn more about what makes him tick, where he came from, and what’s ahead.

⚡Norte: Thanks for sitting down with us, Norte Man. I know you must be busy. 

Norte Man: Hey, I’m always here for Norte. Let’s do this. You don’t mind if I do some jumping jacks while we talk, do you?

N: Not all. Keep moving. First of all, are you more mascot or superhero?

NM: Superhero. For sure. I feel like my superpowers are energy and motivation. Staying super healthy and super fit is the superpower for self, family, and the community. And for Norte. It’s super exciting; I’m fired up!

N: I see that. You seem to have unlimited energy. What’s your power? What’s the secret sauce? Do you have a favorite breakfast food? 

NM: The secret is lots of fruits and vegetables. And Aussie Bites. Then, also good sleep; eight hours every night. Then, definitely a cup of Higher Grounds coffee in the morning — pour-over, please. And cowbell. Lots of cowbell. Then more cowbell. When I hear cowbell, I put it into gear and move.

A great day is when I wake at 5:20 am. It’s magical. It gives me time to step into my suit, get a workout in, reflect, and hit the day strong. It’s fantastic. Whoo!

N: Speaking of your suit, how comfortable is it? Does it have any cool qualities?

NM: The suit doesn’t breathe very well, but it is nice and snug — tight and right, baby. It’s fast. I recently modified the hands to keep a better grip on the handlebars. It helps me hit those curves flying. I’m working with my friends at NMC’s Aero Park Advanced Research Facilities for upgrades. One upgrade coming to the orange suit is a cape for better lift, and then I’m adding orange cleats for when I need to dig in.

N: Very cool. There’s a lot of mystery around you, Norte Man. When you’re not coaching or cheering on Team Orange, what keeps you busy? What is it you do every day?

NM: I try to be super dad every day. In that role, my focus is keeping my three ginger-headed boys outside and staying active. Because every moment moving is time not on those pesky screens. Let’s roll, kids. Let’s roll! I’m also a Walk and Roll Ambassador at Eastern Elementary in Traverse City, shortening those car lines every day.

N: Where do you come from? How’d you end up here? 

NM: Originally, I emerged from the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas. That was a long time ago. From there, I spent time honing my powers. I even flew Black Hawk helicopters for a while. Finally, I ended up in Northern Michigan because I heard the cowbells ringing and saw the Norte sign beckoning. Right away, I knew Northern Michigan was ready for some significant superhero action. Specifically, a superhero on a bike. You don’t see enough of my type, and yet, almost anyone can do it.

N: Without a doubt, you’re an inspiration. I’m turning orange just sitting with you. Do you have a philosophy on life you can share with Norte‘s newsletter subscribers

NM: Certainly. My philosophy is threefold. One, always have a cowbell on hand. Two, seize every moment — carpe diem! And three, embrace a positive mental attitude — 1, 2, 3. Those are the secrets. And, bonus, wear a tight orange jumpsuit whenever you can. For everyone out there, stay in the present, and you can do anything.

N: What are your most memorable on and off-bike accomplishments? 

NM: Emceeing the annual National Cherry Festival Balance Bike Race is up there. Watching those kids burn through the course and seeing those parents smile. As a dad, it’s the best. I know how hard it can be to get the household going on a Saturday morning and then to watch them just take off. Whoa — hang on! I love it.

On the bike, this past spring’s 24-hours at the Civic Center was epic. We harnessed some real superpowers. When that sky went black, some real villains came out trying to knock us off the task. It was a struggle, but we kept at it, and we got ’em. I’m thankful for my fellow superheroes on that one.

N: Rumor has it you might be throwing out one of the first pitches at Norte Night. How are you preparing? Are you confident you can toss a strike?

NM: I’m keeping my arm loose every day. I have a target in the backyard, and my five-year-old has been training me hard. He has a wicked arm and is a great motivator himself. I sure hope I can make it. Unfortunately, my super dad schedule has me in the UP the night of the game, but we’re going to try. We’ll see. I plan on being ready no matter what.

N: It sounds like you have experience. Do you have any tips for someone throwing their first pitch from 60 feet, 6 inches away? 

NM: It’s all about keeping your eye on the target and keeping your arm loose. You don’t want to hurt yourself. If you don’t hit it the first time, try again, and then again. Keep smiling the whole time. Enjoy the moment.

N: To wrap up, what’s your favorite color?

NM: Orange is in my blood. It screams super. Orange all day!

N:  Anything you’d like to add? 

NM: I couldn’t do any of this superpower stuff without the incredible staff and all the supporters of Norte. This community around Team Orange is the motivation and true superpower — that, and my family.

N: Thank you, Norte Man. You’re the best. 

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