Sea Otter Coverage
KC Fontes and his Bartlett Tendon Knee
KC Fontes was riding around Sea Otter with a unique prosthetic leg, and one that was designed by a mountain biker. I only met him briefly but his story stayed with me.
A cancer diagnosis in the 6th grade lead to an above the knee amputation. Eventually KC tried riding with a prosthetic but with limited success. Finally he decided to ditch the knee when he first started riding because he wasn't big enough to handle its weight. Despite that he succeeded in his goal of finishing every race of the NICA high school XC series in his junior year in high school.
Now that he's fully grown KC is back on the Bartlett Tendon Knee, designed by Brian Bartlett. After a car accident required the amputation of Brian's right leg, the former US National Ski Team member decided to design a knee that would mimic the motion and support of a human knee for sports like skiing and mountain biking.* The unique tendon design (along with a RockShox Monarch air shock) allows mountain bikers to pedal and descend out of the saddle, despite above the knee amputations.
*the BTK can be used for XC skiing, motorcycling, waterskiing etc.
KC was enthusiastic about what the knee allowed him to do and he was keen to keep riding and racing his bike. "I can sprint out of the saddle no problem," he told me. KC plans to continue to ride and race - possibly even pursuing a spot on the U.S. Paralympic squad.
We'll be rooting for him wherever mountain biking takes him.