Anthony Clark topping the podium at Paris to Ancaster. © Cyclocross Magazine
Anthony Clark has been a staple of the cyclocross scene in the last couple of years, known for his trademark “Sick What?!” catchphrase. This weekend, the young racer took the win at the famed Paris to Ancaster race, his first big win (despite a long list of podium finishes), and we chatted with him after the race to find out how it happened and what changes he’s been making to give him that extra push to go from a lower step on the podium to the top spot.
Cyclocross Magazine: Give me the race rundown?
Anthony Clark: It was a little sketchy! A lot of the sections were really, really fast. Right after the first wooded section, Mike Garrigan really hit it, and we had a group of about 11 of us. Then it started to shell out, we had nine guys the entire race. Then in the last wooded section, something happened with Garrigan, and then me and Lindine got the group to work together, and going into the second to last mud chute, there were seven of us. The last chute, there were some crashes, some gnarly stuff, and when we came out, me and a Trek kid (Adam Morka) were together, so with three kilometers to go, I just hit it. [Jeremy] Powers said not to look back so I didn’t, and I was a little nervous, I could see Lindine and McNeely there. At one K, I could still see them and I was going to blow up. At 500, then at 200, I looked back, and thought, I guess I have it, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I got the win.
CXM: How did you feel about that last hill?
AC: I and seen it before, I didn’t think it was a big deal. But it turns out that after you’re riding that fast through the woods, that climb is actually really hard! It’s like, shit, this climb feels like 50 minutes. People are yelling 1K to go, but it’s like, it’s not! You’re pushing and you’re not going everywhere. It was overwhelming, the people lining the course. To win this race is unreal, it’s such a big race.
CXM: Were you hoping for the win?
AC: We were talking about it on the way up, and Powers thought I could win, and I thought I’d get between fifth and 10th, and I was like, well, I’ll race smart and try to do this right. There was tough competition this year. I was lined up next to some really badass guys.
CXM: And you said you’ve been training more this season?
AC: The training load has been way up, but I haven’t done much interval work. A lot of hard days in a row on the bike, a lot of hard work, but it’s paying off. It’s been a lot of sacrifices though. I don’t get to a lot of family stuff, it’s really hard, but I think days like this make it pay off a little more. I hope this leads to a good ’cross season.
CXM: What does the rest of the offseason look like?
AC: I’m doing some road, a pretty good calendar. Wilmington, Glencoe, some smaller New England regional stuff, and then I’ll hang up racing after Hilltowns and Powers’ Fundo, then have a hard training month in August.
CXM: And you mentioned a new bike for ’cross?
AC: There’s a new company, Squid Bikes, and it looks like I’ll be riding one of their bikes. It’s about 98% done. They’re coming out with some really cool aluminum bikes, and I’ll be riding cantis this year. I think it’s going to be really good, really bike.
CXM: How do you like gravel racing?
AC: It’s super fun! I love riding wand attacking people in the woods at 30 miles an hour int he woods. You feel like you’re going to die! Those guys are so smooth and I’m not a mountain biker.
CXM: How did you like the mud chutes at the end?
AC: I think that’s how I got away, actually. There were some crashes, and I was just pedaling hard through it thinking ‘You got this.’ I had 42 PSI in my tubulars, so I wasn’t worried about flatting.
CXM: The course got super technical at the end, too!
AC: There were actually a lot of technical sections when you were going as fast as we were. There were parts where we were getting two feet of air over some of those whoops in the woods! We were pedaling pretty hard, those guys are no joke!
Stay tuned for more from Paris to Ancaster!