Our Staff

Emily Vance, Owner

Emily’s passion for cycling began at age 14, “touring” around her home state of Minnesota.

Through high school and college, Emily gained hands-on experience by working for bike shops in the Twin Cities and La Crosse in sales, service and management duties.

After graduation from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Emily moved into a different facet of the bicycle industry as the first female outside sales representative for Olympic Supply Company. Her duties included selling bicycle parts and accessories to bicycle dealers throughout Minnesota, northern and western Wisconsin from 1999-2007.

In 2007, Emily had an opportunity to pursue the dream of a lifetime; open her own store. With over 25 years of experience within the bicycle industry, she is sure to bring a refreshing new dimension to the La Crosse area cycling community.

Dan Novak, Shop Manager

Dan is a familiar face to the La Crosse cycling community. His level of enthusiasm is not only prevalent in cycling events throughout the state, but in the world of triathlons as well.  Dan has devoted countless hours as an Ambassador for the Driftless Region, creating bike routes for RideWithGPS (see the “bike routes” link above)

Dan’s 30+ years of bike shop experience ranges from bike shop owner to lead shop mechanic.

Dan’s tremendous knowledge of bicycle mechanics, the cycling industry, and all other things cycling related make him a valued asset on our team!

Vern, Sales Associate/Social Media Guy

Vern joined the River Trail team in June of 2018, coming from the running world and learning more about bikes.  Vern is a coach for runners 5k to marathon, and is a frequent marathon and ultra marathon runner himself.  Vern’s knowledge of endurance sports, sports nutrition, his personal experience in endurance racing, and his ever-growing knowledge of bicycles make him a welcome new addition to the team!

Owen, Greeter/Mascot/Shop Supervisor/Entertainer of children

Owen joined us at River Trail Cycles in March of 2015 and promptly made himself at home.  He can be found almost daily working near the shop, supervising bike mechanics and eagerly waiting for anyone to come over and pet him.


Tanner Zelm, Mechanic/Sales Associate

Tanner has worked at the shop since April 2015 doing everything from bike repair to sales. He graduated from Onalaska High School and is currently studying engineering at UW-Stout. In his free time he enjoys mountain biking and road biking. He is also a coach for the La Crosse Composite mountain bike team and also the treasurer for the UW-Stout cycling club.

David Wettstein, Mechanic/Sales Associate

David started working at River Trail Cycles in July of 2017. He is currently a student at Holmen High School. As well as riding with coworkers throughout the week, David is also a member of the LaCrosse Area Mountain Bike Team. Not only does he bike all over the place, but completes bike repairs in the shop. Also very knowledgable with small engines and metal fabrication, David is a helpful individual to be on the River Trail Team.

Brooklyn Waldner, Sales Associate

Brooklyn joined the River Trail Cycles team in August of 2019. She is an avid mountain biker and competes for the Lacrosse High School MTB team. She is currently enrolled at Onalaska High School and is a part of the band, as well as competing on the swim team.

Ann Kathan, Sales Associate

Ann joined the River Trail Cycles team in September 2019 and lives by the philosophy that you can never own too many bikes.  Ann is a hands on mom of twins, a beekeeper, a prolific gardener, conservationist, and avid bike rider (inside and out).  In a former life chapter, Ann practiced law in Washington, DC.  She is very excited to be part of our team.