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Shawn Gillis


Shawn Gillis started Absolute Bikes Salida in 1999 after moving from Arizona where he co-founded Absolute Bikes in Flagstaff. He is a staple both in the shop and in the community. He's a 20+ Leadville 100 Finisher - you can check out his impressive belt buckle collection in the shop! Shawn's favorite post-ride food is pizza, or a good carnitas burrito. 

Dena Gillis


Dena is the reason Shawn moved to CO from AZ to start the Salida shop. A former ski shop owner, she now gets to play with bikes. After fun adventure on wheels or skis, Dena enjoys a nice cold glass of Pinot Grigio and a gluten-free cookie. If your kid has been in AYC, they've tasted Dena's famous brownies. 

Jessica Downing

Sales Lead/Buyer/Coaching Director

Jessica landed in Salida in 2017 after "mountain town hopping" in Whitefish, MT and her hometown of Carbondale. In addition to working in the shop, she is a PMBIA Level 1 certified bike coach and runs our women's programs and Absolute Youth Cycling. Her favorite post ride food is chips and salsa/guac.

Marcel Slootheer

Service Technician

Marcel grew up below sea level on the other side of the world, and somehow ended up far away in a town surrounded by 14-ers. He has been an integral part of developing many of the local trails, and if he's not in the shop, he's pretty much always on his bike. Marcel's favorite post ride food is beer. Yes, it's a food group. 

Paul Hamilton

Sales & Customer Service Lead 

Paul enjoys walking, running, riding, sliding, and touring through hill and dale. When he's not soaking in cosmic rays and untangling his wind swept hair, you'll find him in the kitchen or on the river learning to channel his inner Spicoli. Paul is not picky on his post ride food: pizza, burrito, beer, fries all hit the spot.

Cody Wilkins

Service Technician

Cody has done the mountain town shuffle with time in Durango, Bend and Fayetteville AR. He and his family relocated to the Ark Valley to enjoy the sunshine and the many miles of bike trails. He got into biking through bikepacking and has a side hobby of making his own bags. Cody's go to post ride food is tacos, pizza, burgers... and beer.

Jeremiah Sage

Customer Service

Jeremiah is a recent Colorado transplant, coming initially to backpack the Colorado Trail, but then was hooked. He worked as a paramedic until he rediscovered his love for the outdoors. Like a true southerner, chicken and waffles is Jeremiah's go-to post ride food. And a dark beer. 

Paul Mickelbart

Service Technician

Paul spent most of 2020 doing #vanlife in the desert with his family, and decided Salida was rad enough to "settle down." A T-Gun pizza from Moonlight is what you'll find Paul eating after a big ride - really, who wouldn't want that! 

Courtney Kunkleman

Service Technician

Courtney moved to Salida to be closer to the mountains and spends her free time bikepacking, hiking, maintaining her trail-beaten Salsa El Mariachi, baking, and learning new things. Her favorite trails are currently Rusty Lung and Solstice, but she loves exploring rugged four wheel drive roads as well. Courtney's favorite post ride meal is pizza and beer.

Spencer Herford

Customer Service

Spencer was raised in Summit County, and like all kids from there was born with skis on his feet. He spent ten years in exile down in the Front Range working in marketing before smartening up and moving to Salida with his wife and dog. In the winter, Spencer is a backcountry ski guide. After a ride (or ski), his favorite food is any sandwich from Sweeties.