Meet the UNION, the Only Non-Profit Team on the UCI DH Circuit

ENVE has been a proud sponsor of downhill world cup racing for over a decade. The speeds and rigors of downhill racing put components through more testing than just about anything else. This year ENVE is affiliated with four teams, but one of the most unique has to be The UNION. 

The Big Idea

The UNION was founded by Joe Bowman, owner of Steel City Racing, as a passion project with a specific objective. As the circuit’s only non-profit entity, they ensure that every penny that goes into the team goes right back to the riders, staff, and coaches. Even with a smaller budget, they’re able to support riders like a factory team would, but without the pressures of operating like a traditional business. They use this position to fulfill their ethos of finding and nurturing up-and-coming talent who may otherwise be lacking support. 


“I always wanted to give back to some of the privateer racers in the pits, the ones who needed the most help. That’s why we started the UNION."

Now in its fourth season, the team came into the year with six podiums and a World Cup win to their name. In 2024, the team is already making waves, with a podium from junior Ellie Hulsebosch in her first ever race on the world stage.

The History

Joe had a day job running Steel City media, taking photos and videos for various brands in the industry. He saw the privateers at the World Cup downhill races and wanted to find a way to give back to them. He came up with various ideas on volunteering time for content, gathering parts, and support, but couldn’t quite figure out how to piece it together. He saw riders who had potential, but were held back by their resources. 

That’s when he met with Oliver Zwar, who was starting a small team out of Australia, scraping together parts and bikes for riders who truly deserved a shot. Joe saw the moment and jumped on it, partnering with Oliver to create the UNION. Taking Joe’s industry contacts and relationships and combining them with a team structure led to a fantastic opportunity for riders who were just hoping to make it to the races.

That first year saw ____ get on board, as well as ____ and ____. Then they were really not well known, but with the training and support of the team, their results came with time.

How it Got Out of Hand

Once people got wind of what the team was doing (and the results they were seeing), brands caught the vision. Physios, coaches, trainers, brands, engineers, and more all stepped up to volunteer to help this team that was giving riders a chance. From there Joe says it all got “out of hand” with how much things progressed. The team went from an $8k budget to having full sponsorships from huge names like SRAM, Rockshox, and Specialized. Results continued climbing, with Ollie Zwar getting a sixth place in World Championships, along with multiple top tens in the World Cup. 

The brand was also getting recognized, and resonating. Merch was selling really well, and people felt like they were part of the movement. They were picking up steam and becoming more than Joe had ever anticipated. The momentum hasn’t slowed, with more impressive results coming in every week. 

This year’s lineup is impressive to say the least, with four riders all capable of top finishes in their categories. 

The 2024 Squad

Lachie Stevens McNabb

Lachie has already proved his speed with wins in the Junior category against names like Jackson Goldstone and Jordan Williams. Now in the elite category, Lachie is ready to rip. Coming off of two New Zealand National Championships and two Crankworx Downhill wins, Lachie is locked and loaded


Frida Ronning

A physicist and aspiring PHD, Frida is impressive on and off the track. Garnering wins in US races, while also pursuing her doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, Frida is fast and smart. She’ll have plenty of opportunities for top finishes.

Ellie Hulsebosch

The Kiwi Junior started the year with New Zealand nationals and Crankworx wins, and then came straight out of the gate in Fort William. Even with a small mistake she went into third place and got herself onto her first podium. Ellie is ready for a big first year. 


Chris Hauser

Chris is a second-year Junior from Italy who is coming out charging. His put-it-all-on-the-line ride style means he charges hard, pushing his 6 foot tall self through anything in its path. The only full rider on the team riding full 29” wheels, Chris has the advantage of high rollover speed on his side. 

The Bike

Trek is this year’s frame sponsor, and has outfitted the team with the newest iteration of the Session. A high-pivot design with racing in mind, the bike looks like it’s ready to go fast. 

The Future

What’s the future of the UNION? Joe says it’s bright. They’ll continue to focus on finding the talented riders who just need some support to grow. He wants to help develop those riders and bring them to what they’re able to be. The UNION will always have at least two juniors, and will be focusing on developing their talent alongside the rest of the team.