He flew under the radar all year, but at Nationals, Allen Krughoff made the biggest splash of the day, scoring a top five placing and a coveted spot on the Worlds team. Now, we’re catching up with the Colorado native on the heels of his first European race just one week before the World Championships. We’re also working with Raleigh to give one lucky reader an RXC Pro Disc carbon frameset—the same kind that scored Krughoff a spot on the Worlds team!
Cyclocross Magazine: How do you feel after your first World Cup? Was it what you expected?
Allen Krughoff: I feel like I have less equipment! We lost a couple good derailleurs to Nommay and it’s mud/grass/gravel mix—which unfortunately had a lot to do with my experience. Definitely what I was expecting regarding the race in general. However, smaller fields than I anticipated, which actually makes sense looking back on it if you think about the caps on team size. I’m less tired than expected, didn’t race nearly as long as I planned to but that’s the way it goes sometimes! Looking forward to a second chance this coming weekend, to say the least.
CXM: How did it feel lining up with the Euro greats?
AK: Great! I still need to watch the TV coverage to get an idea visually of how fast the leaders were going around the course. I’m definitely trying to take some satisfaction out of simply getting to the point of being in the same race as the best.
CXM: How were the crowds compared to US?
AK: The crowds at that race, and I believe most in Europe, are there to see a show for sure. It’s comprised less of people who are friends or related to someone racing like in the US, and more people who have a favorite racer or want to see the action in my opinion. They buy tickets, line up for autographs, walk through the team areas checking out bikes the way Nascar fans walk through pit alley. Most of them were encouraging and kind. A lot of people for sure but nothing, nothing even close to the noise level at Valmont for Nationals! Worlds will be another story I imagine…
CXM: How are you feeling now that you’re in Europe and racing?
AK: Much better. Before the trip, I had some major anxiety figuring out exactly what it was going to cost me and just coming up with a list of things that needed to happen to get over there. When you go from the support of a full-on professional team like Raleigh-Clement; where you get yourself in excellent condition training, get to the airport and later the venue, and then everything is ready to go once you’re there, to this situation is tough.
I’ve definitely done the whole solo routine to races like LA and Bend before the Raleigh-Clement gig, shuffling two hard cases and a carry on, getting to the venue and setting a bike in the pits unattended – but doing that for the biggest, hardest race you’ve ever entered (on another continent) is more than intimidating. I started the process by talking to my Belgian teammate Ben Berden, who said I should definitely race the weekend before—which turned out to be the World Cup in Nommay.
From there, I googled “airports near Nommay, France” and honestly figured out everything else along the line. Meredith Miller offered up some details on their team’s plans for a hotel and flights, Marc Gullickson with USA Cycling gave me the name of a mechanic to look into that later didn’t pan out based on cost, my friend Aaron Schooler who’s representing Canada over here hooked me up with a German agent guy, who connected me with a German mechanic for Nommay while he was there working for the German national team.
It’s a lot of stories like that, compounded by not really being sure what you need as you’re racing in a foreign country without your usual support, that make it tough to figure out and time consuming. I was probably doing an average of two or three hours per day for four or five days coming up with flight plans, rental car options, mechanic and booking a hotel for Nommay alone. Then when I finally did get there, I managed to rip two derailleurs off on the day of the World Cup: one in preride (Thanks to Tom Hopper, Jeremy Powers’ mechanic for the prerace help repairing it) and then again about 1/3 into the race.
Now I can’t get all wound up about the substantial extra time and expense I put in to attending that race, just need to get back on the bike here in Sittard and get ready for Worlds!
CXM: Backtrack! When you signed up for the Midsummer race two years ago, did you go into it planning to win the contract and have this happen, or was it just a by chance thing?
AK: Definitely not here by chance—it became a goal last year with worlds being in the US and my results consistently improving. So no, I wouldn’t be able to say that I planned to win the ride with Raleigh and end up on the Worlds team, specifically. The contract race was my best option after getting turned down by the professional ’cross teams in the spring, as I was actively looking for a ride for 2012-2013. So as luck would have it, or what I like to think more of as opportunity met with preparation, I had the opportunity to go to a lot more races that season and prepared accordingly. Add one more season of the same approach with consistent improvement and we are where we are! Very exciting to have the work put in paying off.
CXM: Will you keep racing at this level or do you have plans to retire to focus back on Photography?
AK: Ha! I feel like I’m just hitting my stride racing at this level and plan to keep racing there for the foreseeable future. I’d like to continue the trend of improving each season and see how far I can take it. I plan to continue racing until I start slowing down or my priorities for having a family of my own kick in. Career-wise, photography and video production is by no coincidence a freelance setup with a flexible schedule. I can scale down or scale up work seasonally and as needed to accommodate training, traveling and racing. The work and racing schedules really compliment each other well. Surprisingly, much of the workload of commercial photography is negotiating jobs, scheduling and logistics, and post shoot work proofing, retouching and delivering assets to clients—and I can do a lot of that on the road.
We also asked Raleigh’s Brian Fornes what he thought when one of his Midsummer Night contract winners made it to the highest level in ’cross. He responded:
“The whole MidSummer idea was a long shot from the beginning. But we knew there were people out there with great potential that just weren’t getting a look, or the right support to see what they were capable of. It was amazing the amount of people that congratulated us (Raleigh) when we picked up Allen. Turns out a lot of people in the Boulder area believed in Allen and what he was capable of.
If someone would have told me three years ago that the MidSummer race would produce a rider that would be going to the World Championships… The most you would’ve got out of me would’ve been a smirk, another pull of my beer, and a ‘wouldn’t that be something’ comment. So to say that I’m proud of Allen would be one of the biggest understatements I’ve ever made.”
Keep track of Krughoff and the rest of the Worlds team via our Worlds homepage here and don’t forget to enter for a chance to win an RXC Pro Disc carbon frameset.