Local Colorado riders will be heading to Bend Oregon this weekend for the 2010 Cyclocross Nationals. A number of them have been on the podium or won National Championships and are back to be in the mix for a podium spot. We caught up with Pete Weber and Brandon Dwight of the Boulder Cycle Sport Team and Nicole Duke of the Hudz-Vista Subaru Team and asked them a few questions. Here are the questions we asked and their responses.
[303Cycling] How is the preparation going for Nationals? Are you prepared for what looks like a cold, wet and muddy affair? Any special "tricks" for these types of conditions?
[Pete Webber] I'm psyched that conditions in Bend are going to be difficult. Bad weather, mud, snow, ice, wind, anything challenging is good for me. Difficult courses and conditions really test a rider completely, and amplify mistakes. I'm ready to deal with anything that happens.
Preparation is the key. You gotta have everything dialed and feel confident in your training, bike, your tires, and your clothing. If you know your set-up is bomber, then you can just ride hard and not worry about anything else.
Racing well in mud or snow takes lots of practice and extra focus. I've been racing cross for 18 years, so I've had some time to figure it out. I've screwed up plenty of times at Nationals, but those races go into the memory banks and hopefully the lessons stay with you. Then you just try to enjoy the process and execute the plan.
[Brandon Dwight] The preparation for Nationals is going well. I guess you could say there are two parts to preparation when you are masters racer with a family and full-time job. I know there are a lot of people who can relate to this. One, is the physical preparation, but truth be told that preparation was done months ago. If you're not in shape now, well, it's a little too late! The second, is the rest of your life. From juggling family obligations and work, it never seems to end. Luckily, I have a very supportive wife and an awesome crew holding down the fort at our bike shops!
As far as the cold, wet mud goes, I will be ready. My bikes are dialed and I have Dugast Rhinos mounted to my Zipp 303 wheels, so there will be no excuses there. Mentally, I am ready, too. I love to compete when the conditions are bad, it keeps me more focused.
I don't really have any special tricks for the mud, but getting the tire pressure right will be important. I won't know what my tire pressure will be until I pre-ride the course. I am going to be using some of the new Castelli Nanoflex leg warmers that repel water super well. If it's cold enough I will wear them and I am hoping the muddy water just bounces right off instead of collecting on my legs. I wish I had a complete skinsuit made of the same material. Imagine finishing a muddy race without ten pounds of mud caked to your clothing! That would be a sweet!
I would have to say that both Pete and I race well in the mud because of the years we have spent on the mountain bike circuit, but I also think it's an accumulation of our years racing cyclocross bikes, too. Besides having the physical skills to ride a bike in the mud, I think we are both mentally strong. What I mean by that is, we know we are going to slide, crash, miss a shift and slip a pedal in a muddy race. However, we know how to forget about the mistakes immediately and not dwell on them. While some riders curse out loud and get frustrated when they can't clip in to their pedal or they slide out on turn, we just forget about it and keep racing.
[Nicole Duke] Training, what training? I was sick with a bad stomach flu and in bed for 3 days after Jingle Cross. Jingle was my last bought of training. I raced States not even knowing if I could ride yet. I lost 4 lbs which should make up for not training.
The course suited my style last year and I am hoping it will be the same this year. Mud, I like it. Anything to make it more technical. Cold? Hmmmm. Not for me. I think anything can happen on a course and conditions like Bend. I am ready to make it happen. But, first and formost I am going to have fun. That's why I started racing again and I want to always keep that in perspective. I am hoping for a top 5 in the elite race and a National champion jersey in my age group (that has been a goal since last yr when I got 3rd).
I love Bend and am treating this like a luxurious vacation!
2010 Cyclocross Nationals (Bend Oregon) - Mens 45-49
Preview of the Cyclocross Nationals course from 12/08/2010