If you've attended any Colorado cyclocross races then I am sure you have seen Ben Turner in the pits helping his junior team. Recently 303Cycling caught up with Ben and learned a little about him and the team that he runs.
[303Cycling] For those who don't know give us a little background on Ben Turner
[Ben] From New York, began racing bikes in college in Virginia, moved to Boulder for grad school in '99 and started to really get into 'cross then. Masters degree in Exercise Physiology, worked 4 years managing the TIAA-CREF Development Team/Slipstream Sports program. Currently manage a 2 acre organic market garden for the Cultiva Youth Project, part of Growing Gardens, a local non-profit.
[303Cycling] Tell me a little about the Clif Bar Development team
[Ben] This season we have 17 members, ranging in age from 14 to 22. The majority live in CO but we have one junior in CA, one in NY, and one in MA. Yannick and Robin Eckmann are racing the USGP Series, aiming for the overall Junior title. They also hope to attend the Euro Cross Camp this winter in Belgium. David Kessler just finished his high school XC season and is getting into racing shape for Nov/Dec., looking towards Nationals and the Euro Camp as well.
We have a strong group of 15-16 yr old juniors, with Zane Godby and Zack Gould out here in Colorado, and Curtis White and Nate Morse racing the New England Series. They will be a formidable team at Nationals.
For the Under-23 crew, the Mullervy twins, Andrew Barker, Cody Cox, Russell Finsterwald, Mitchell Hoke and Alex Howes are all tuning up for Nationals using the races at home and traveling less this year.
Colin Cares is our first-year elite rider, who is looking to defend his Collegiate National title.
Team sponsors are: CLIF BAR, Salsa, Pedro's, SRAM, Pearl Izumi, Mavic, Crank Brothers, Cyclocrossworld.com, Chris King, TRP, fizik, Kinetic trainers, Thorne chainrings, cycle-smart, and Patagonia.
We've also partnered with the following climate change organizations - 350.org, Brighter Planet, and ClimateCounts.org - to help educate the team and spread the message that we all need to take immediate action to fight climate change before it is too late.
[303Cycling] I see from the team's blog you talk about "sustainable cycling". What is "sustainable cycling"?
[Ben] I use the term Sustainable Cycling with the team as a way to impart a message about how we as cyclists can pursue our sport in the most sustainable way possible. Especially on the racing side, there are so many aspects of of cycling that are harmful to the environment - when the point really is, you're on your bike, enjoying the outdoors, and not creating any pollution, trash etc.
The CLIF BAR Development Team's mission is educating the kids on the team about sustainability issues, and striving to be a model for other cyclists, teams, events, and the bike industry. Team initiatives have focused on reducing our carbon footprint, organizing Zero Waste race events, utilizing organic and local food, and taking action on climate change awareness. We have partnered with sponsors that pay attention to being as sustainable as possible, including CLIF BAR, Pedro's, Chris King, and Patagonia.
[303Cycling] Do you set team goals or do the riders set individual goals?
[Ben] I don't set performance goals for the team - just that they need to focus on school, training smart and staying healthy throughout the season, and being a leader both in their sport and their community. Each rider does set their own individual racing goals.
[303Cycling] How is the season going so far?
[Ben] The season is going really well so far. The Eckmann brothers are close to the lead in the USGP Series, with 4 races left to go. Our juniors here in Colorado have been doing well, and the Under-23 crew has been getting good experience racing in the Open events. Back East, our two juniors are currently in the top 5 overall in the New England Series.