Ryan Trebon Interview: Opening Up, Shutting it Down
by Kat Statman
After hearing that Ryan Trebon would unfortunately be ending his 2010/2011 cyclocross season early due to illness, we gave him a call to chat about his decision, how he’s feeling, his plans for next year and the future of US cyclocross. Sit back and enjoy the end of year smörgåsbord of all things US Cross related with Ryan Trebon.
We were bummed to hear about you having to miss Worlds and bet this is a hard decision to make. What made you ultimately decided to pull the plug on the trip?
I wasn’t eating, I just feel nauseous all day…I felt horrible. I still don’t feel good either, but have been starting to feel better.
I didn’t want to go over to Europe feeling bad. Stressful travel makes for a stressful situation already, and not feeling good would have made everything worse.
Were you looking forward to this trip?
I was pretty motivated to go back. I wouldn’t have come back and trained in freezing temperatures if I wasn’t motivated. I even went down to California to get extra training in, and that’s when I came down with something.
Had you already decided to skip the World Cup tomorrow in Hoogerheide?
I was planning to fly over to Europe on Thursday for Hoogerheide and the World Cup [but have since canceled the entire trip].
What’s the plan now? Take a break and get ready for next year?
First, I want to start feeling better. Then I’ll take a break and relax. I don’t really ever take a huge break from training, but things have been busy with the new team, they never seem to quiet down, and I’m ready to relax a bit.
Are you ready to make any team announcements for next year or are things not finalized?
We have negotiations finalized and are just getting contracts written up now, but I don’t want to say anything until contracts are signed. In a few weeks we’ll make an announcement.
I heard you say in an interview this year that you don’t really target specific events or plan things ahead, like saying, “I’m targeting the 2013 Louisville World Championships and everything goes to that.” But do you have some sense of long term planning where you say I want to accomplish this or have this many wins or is it more vague, like I just want to progressively get better?
You always want to have that constant progression. I don’t want to get that one level and be stuck there. As long as I’m winning races, training well and feeling good that’s what matters. I don’t set out a specific race that I want to do well at. I may say that I want to be at this certain level and see progress but not set out a specific goal or race.
What are your thoughts on the World Championships coming to the US in 2013?
It’s a good opportunity for people in the US to experience what European racing is like. It’s good for European racers to have that disadvantage that we have going over to Europe. You can never go wrong having the World Championships in your own country.
However, I don’t want this to be the end all be all for US cyclocross. I want to see ’cross be more sustainable where people can make money racing it like on the road.
What about an event like a World Cup eventually coming to the US?
I think the World Championships will go well. In the US it’s always a problem finding the people who are capable of doing it. Brad Ross from the Cross Crusade is capable, but the funding is always the stopping point. You could take Cross Vegas and make that a World Cup – it’s not a technically challenging course, but it’s a good event with good spectators. Not every course has to be the same. Sometimes it’s good to have dynamic courses. Everything always comes down to money. The question always is, “Do we have the money to pay for this?” If there was a company out there that said, “We want a World Cup,” or a city that wanted to spend the money, that would be great, but it has to be financially feasible. Nobody wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money to put on a bike race with no return on their investment.
Looking ahead, what is 2011/2012 looking like for you? Do you have any ideas or are you still waiting to see the schedules?
Probably the same as this year where I did fewer races but really focused on the big ones. I’ll be at the major North American races and of course the USGPs and Nationals.
What are your thoughts on Nationals moving to January from now on?
It’s fine. It’s going to be awfully cold in Madison. I think the race there will be good, and the promoters will do a good job.
With Nationals in January we can hopefully expand the US calendar. So it’s easier to have solid fitness for Worlds with the longer season. It’s always been a little bit weird having our National Championships six weeks before Worlds, but with Nationals moving back it should expand the US season and it will make it easier to be prepared for the World Championships.
Will you be doing more World Cups and European races in order to prepare for the Louisville World Championships or do you not see that as beneficial?
We’ll see…they don’t necessarily have to be World Cups. I can go over and race the Superprestige and the GvAs, which are really good events and accomplish the same things. It’s all well and good to say, “Oh, I’ll go over to Europe and do these races,” but it’s expensive. It costs $5,000 or more each trip, and you have to have that in order to make the trip. It also has to be financially worthwhile for your sponsors to take on that kind of expense.
Do you think the Europeans will come over here during the next year or two to see what our racing is like in preparation for Louisville?
The Europeans have the mindset that, “Oh I can’t go over and race in the US because I’ll be shit for a month.” Yet we do that all the time fly overseas and across the country.
At the end of the day, ’cross racing is not going to be drastically different or technical where you need to see the track ahead of time. They’ll probably come over more to see how the travel affects them.
What are your thoughts on the current UCI versus US UCI promoter battles?
USAC and UCI should reward promoters that are doing a good job and doing things professionally. If it looks professional, they should receive priority. Obviously the USGP has been doing a good job of growing cyclocross in the US. I think the USGP should get priority over races on the same date. But we can’t give all the power to one series. You do need to reward other promoters that are doing a good job.
Something I always ask is, “Can I take a potential sponsor to this event and sell them on what we are doing?” Some events I can’t do that, but with an event like the USGP you can do that. There are other things than the course being fun and cool. It can’t just be guys putting on a race for 15 years if it’s not professional quality.
That being said, I wouldn’t want to put a race on, it’s a ton of work. Bike racers are prima donnas and a bunch of whiners.
What would you like to see for US ’cross in the next 5 to 10 years?
Bigger, better races. I think we are doing a good job with the growth and a good job managing it. I just want to see not just the USGP putting on big events. You don’t have to have a competing series, but other big events like USGPs. You need a couple promoters putting on high quality events. I would rather see fewer races and more quality rather than people who just have the inscriptions cost, so they decide to put on a UCI race.
A C1 race should be so dialed that you could bring a World Cup there and run it the same way. A c2 should be just slightly less prepared than that, but still a professionally run event.
Thanks a bunch for your time. Heal up!
Thanks Kat and Cyclocross Magazine.
Have you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with our killer print and digital magazine for less than 8 cents a day!