We had a chance to catch up with Zach McDonald now that the dust has settled a bit from Worlds. While we were mainly chatting with him about Nationals for Issue 20, we couldn’t help but ask a few questions unrelated to the topic. Specifically, what’s next for the 22-year-old as he prepares for his first year racing against the Elite Men in Europe, and how he feels about his face being held up on signboards during Worlds. With an 11th place finish in the U23 World Championships and a second place at Nationals in the Elite race, McDonald is feeling pretty optimistic, and for good reason.
Cyclocross Magazine: What will you do with the off-season?
Zach McDonald: This is the downside. I don’t have school right now and it’s when I have the most time for school. The Spring semester doesn’t start again until the beginning of April. So timing-wise, that kind of sucks. I’ll pick it up in the Spring, ski for the next four weeks, then get back on the bike. Hoping to get some form back to head to the MTB World Cups.
CXM: Which ones?
ZM: The first I could conceivably go to is in the Czech Republic, over Memorial Day weekend. I’d have to do it for the National team – it’s my last U23 year for that. I’d like to attack that season seriously and see if I can get some results there. On Saturday at Worlds, I was racing a lot of the middle portion with the mountain bike U23 World Champion, so I know there’s some crossover there. If I can get my speed up … this is my last year as U23 so I’d like to play with that.
CXM: Speaking of Worlds, was it weird seeing pictures of your face everywhere?
ZM: No, it was awesome! What started that was two or three years ago, I got the idea from watching college basketball. They’d have the one huge player head in the crowd. I don’t know how they got it into the stadium, and I thought it would be cool if we could get some of those out there. So we made some, and it kind of picked up. This year, I think Rapha printed off, like, 300 of them. There were the bigger SRAM ones out there, but I think I still had the majority. It had to screw with the other racers, every time they turned a corner and someone was holding my face in front of them!