West Coast-based cyclocrosser Meredith Miller took a few minutes out of her busy off-season to answer a few questions for us, and we’re glad she did. Be on the lookout for her to pop up in MTB results, as she’s trying out the wider tires for this season for fun and cyclocross prep.
Cyclocross Magazine: What have you been up to in the off-season so far?
Meredith Miller: It’s funny to talk about this as if it’s my off-season because it hardly is; it’s just the ‘other’ part of my season. Although, I did take a longer break after the past cyclocross season than I have since I started racing cyclocross four years ago. When I got home from Worlds, I had two days at home before I met my TIBCO teammates for a 10-day training camp in California. As soon as camp was over, I stepped on a plane for a 10-day solo vacation in Hawaii and that was when my real break started. Hawaii was the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. It was just what I needed, although I could have easily spent another 10 days there! When I got home at the end of February, I still wasn’t quite ready to pick up my bike again, so I let the rest of the month slide by while I took more time to hike with my dogs and just chill. In March, I finally started riding more regularly, but my training still wasn’t super structured. It was more about ‘just riding along’ and getting the miles back in my legs. My racing wouldn’t start until mid-April so I knew I had plenty of time to get back into the groove.
CXM: You missed Gila because you were sick. Feeling better? Any new plans because you missed it?
MM: I’m healthy now. I was at Joe Martin when I got sick and whatever it was hit me hard. I only raced the opening time trial and then decided to pull the plug in hopes of getting better so I could race Gila. As the team was rolling out of town Sunday to start the drive to New Mexico, I was realized that I wasn’t feeling well enough to race Gila. The combination of little racing in my legs so far this season and being sick would have set me up to fail at such a hard race. The hard decision was made for me to recover properly at home.
CXM: What are your MTB goals?
MM: Have fun. Learn how to race my mountain bike. Improve my skills for cyclocross.
CXM: How will you start prepping for cyclocross?
MM: Cyclocross preparation really doesn’t stop. It’s on my mind year-round. Whether I’m on my mountain bike or road bike, it’s all part of the plan for the upcoming cyclocross season. Both road and mountain bike racing have different aspects that complement cyclocross racing. By doing both, I’m hoping to come into the cyclocross season with a bigger arsenal of speed, power, and technical skill that will help me win more races.
CXM: Looking back at your cyclocross season, how did it go overall? Any new plans for this year?
MM: Last season went pretty well, although I want to be winning more races and consistently be in the top three. I have yet to win a USGP, for example. And a top 10 at a World Cup is still on my check list. The plans for the upcoming season look similar to years past. I’ll focus on the major US races and head to Europe for several World Cups. My training and race schedule will be centered on doing what is best so I will be my best in Louisville in January.
CXM: How was Sea Otter?
MM: Racing MTB at Sea Otter was fantastic! It was pretty cool to line up for my first pro MTB race and know most of the women on the line. What was even cooler was the unsolicited advice I was getting from them about the best lines in the short track race, or tactics in the XC race, or what to do if I had a mechanical on course. They were genuinely stoked to see me line up with them and that was pretty damn cool. I did not do the cyclocross race. I’ll wait till September for that!
CXM: Who will you be riding for next season?
MM: I will be racing with Cal Giant/Specialized for the fifth year.
CXM: What’s your advice for someone thinking about racing cyclcross for the first time next season?
MM: Be warned, you will love it! It’s hard, it’s pure insanity, but it’s awesome. Watch some ‘how to’ videos about how to dismount, remount, ride in mud/sand/snow, run over barriers, etc. Practice those skills over and over again. Ask questions and take notes because the sweetest part about cyclocross is the willingness to share information. Watch other races to see what other racers are doing through technical sections … is it better to run or ride? Which line is the fastest? And remember, don’t be afraid to run. It’s sometimes faster than riding a tough section.