Adam McGrath is one of the rising young stars of American Cyclocross. © Dennis Smith
It was a slow week in the world of professional cyclocross, despite a lot of intense racing action across the globe. Despite the downturn in activity, we’ve got a ten question grill session one of cyclocross’ best up and coming young stars, Thule-Van Dessel’s Adam McGrath. We’ve also got a number of health updates on some of cyclocross’ biggest names from both America and Europe this week, as the rigors of the season are starting to show.
Adam McGrath of Thule-Van Dessel Brings Speed and Vigor of Youth
Adam McGrath, who is riding this year with the Thule-Van Dessel team out of New Jersey is a member of the new breed of young riders from the United States, and what a class it is. McGrath is consistently at the front of races, but when he’s not racing, he’s very active in supporting other riders. Currently under the young McGrath’s wing is teenage Delaware sensation Jeff Bahnson, whom McGrath is focusing some fundraising efforts on his behalf. Bahnson is in his first year as an elite junior and McGrath is trying to raise enough money to send Bahnson, possibly the next great junior hope for America, to Europe when the domestic season is over. To support Bahnson, head to http://dccofd.org/jeffbahnson.htm. You can follow all of McGrath and Bahnson’s exploits at their team blog: www.thulevandesselcx.com. Without further ado, Adam McGrath!
1) What’s your favorite race of this season been so far?
My favorite race of all time is a toss up: my first World Championships as a junior in St. Wendel, Germany was pretty epic. It was an ice rink, with these sweet euro death chutes. Plus I did the race with a broken wrist. But then again there is always the Alpenrose Cross Crusade, especially when its muddy. When its wet the course is unmatched and 1400 PDX fools going ape for it, it feels pretty special. But this season Granouge takes the cake, it was just sliding everywhere… so dope.
2) You’ve just won a big race, what’s your ultimate post-race meal?
I’m sort of a foodie so I cant pin point any one thing. If its tasty it will do but one things for certain the day must end with ice cream and magic sauce.
3) What’s your biggest career achievement to date?
Having at least 1 awesome/awkward spando moment a week, sleeping on floors cost to coast, having a girlfriend while living on the road.
4) If you could be anything besides a bike racer, what would it be?
The Yeti, or a Big Mountain Monkey
5) How did you get your start in cyclocross? What’s been your biggest influence?
Well I’m from the “Peoples Republic of Boulder,” and you know everyone’s a bike racer there, so I thought it was cool. I did the local races in Boulder on my mountain bike with skinny tires. I was only 12 or so. From there I just got inducted more and more into the cyclocross click and started to do pretty well as junior when a bunch of Colorado kids were going pretty fast. I ended up under the wing of Marc Gullickson and I think he helped me out the most coming up through the ranks.
6) What was your first bike? What about it sticks out in your mind?
My first true cyclocross whip was a Lemond Poprad steel bike and what stands out most is that I was finally big enough to ride 700c wheels. [Hey! That was my first cyclocross whip too! - Ed.]
7) If you could win one race, which would it be?
Well I think I’m supposed to say Nationals for all its glory, but I’m still without a cross crusade victory and I’ve been trying to beat [Erik] Tonkin at his own game out there for a while and I still cant get a win. So I would like to win a Crusade for sure, then I can focus on Nationals.
8) Who do you consider your biggest rival?
Rivals… well lets just quote my man Biggie Smalls here, ”I don’t got none, all those sucka fools knows I’m the best!”
9) Who is your biggest idol?
I pretty much Idolize all the regulars out there who do it for the pure fun they get out of it. They work full time, they don’t have goals to lay the smack down. They just ride and smile and drink beer and tell funny stories. These are my bicycle idols.
10) Got any crazy pre-race rituals?
Oh yes the pre-race ritual, it is very very important. I often stay with my competitors at host housing and I do my best to sneak a little something of theirs, like hair, or a piece of thread from their clothes. Then I build a little voodoo doll and while I’m warming up I smack them around a bit. This ensures domination of the competition. But really I just eat a sandwich, fire some coffee and try and remember that I love doing this!
Todd Wells Recovering, Season in Question
If you’ve followed American cyclocross for more than a season, you’ll notice that one big name has been conspicuously absent from the top of the results list in recent weeks. That name belongs to Todd Wells, who was brought down over the last week with a saddle sore that was bad enough to require surgery. Wells’ training has taken a hit, as riding is doubtlessly a very painful endeavor. Wells has been forced to make cuts out of his saddles to attempt to alleviate some of the pain associated with the surgery. While he’s not going to be able to be back on the bike this weekend – Wells had hoped to do Iceman Cometh – we’re all hoping for a quick recovery so he can contest the final two weekends of the USGP and the final weekend of the NACT, as well as mixing it up at Nationals in mid-December.
Sven Vanthourenhout Suffers from Overtraining, Will Take Two Weeks Off
Sunweb-Projob’s Sven Vanthourenhout has been noticeably under performing of late in the International cyclocross scene, and he has since come to the conclusion that his ailments are due to overly intense training. Vanthourenhout will travel with compatriot Sven Nys to Majorca for a week-long training camp, and while Nys will work on his intensity in order to get to the racing level of Neils Albert, Vanthourenhout will look to shake off some of the ill effects of his overly intense early season. Vanthourenhout is targeting a return at the fourth round of the Superprestige in Hamme-Zogge on November 22.
Thijs Al Makes Return From Bad Cold
Thijs Al was another rider who came back from a momentary lapse in form over the last weekend, making a return to racing after a brief absence, after suffering from a bad cold. Al made his return over the weekend at the Superprestige stop in Hoogstraten, but was stuck in the back row of the start, after missing a good portion of the season so far. Al was the victim of the fluctuating weather conditions, as he hit the line prepared for a dry course, only to have the heavens open, sticking the Dutchman with the wrong tire choice. To compound his luck, Al got a flat midway through the race, and would retire.
Eddy Van IJzendoorn Suffers Bad Crash
Thijs Al‘s AA Drinks Cycling Team teammate Eddy Van IJzendoorn suffered from what seemed to be a team-wide string of bad luck over the weekend in Hoogstraten, as he was involved in a bad crash that saw him fall heavily on his right arm. Despite having a good start and riding well in the top half of the field, Van IJzendoorn’s crash made it hard for him to brake and steer, and forced him to retire from the race. As a result, Van IJzendoorn checked himself into the hospital for further testing. No word has been released thus far over the condition of Van IJzendoorn’s arm, but hopefully he’ll be back in action next weekend.
Wondering what your favorite mudders have been up to? Doing your homework so you can win Cyclocross Magazine’s fantasy cyclocross league next season? We’ve got you covered with our new, weekly report on your favorite top ‘crossers. Each week Jake Sisson will bring you the latest news, gossip, and maybe even a tweet or two on the pro scene. This is installment #29. Installment #28 is here. Got something worth reporting? Let us know!