After her win at the 2016 Sea Otter Classic cyclocross race, Caroline Mani took a few minutes to talk with us about her offseason as well as her goals for the coming year. Aside from new bikes and tires, and a chance for you to win your own Raleigh cyclocross race bike, Mani’s team, Raleigh-Clement, has big plans for her coming year, as does Mani herself. From not even wanting to touch her bike after Worlds to making a run at the World Cup classification, Mani shares details of her plans and a few changes for the coming season.
Check out our post-Sea Otter Classic cyclocross chat with the 2016 Cyclocross World Championship silver medalist, below.
Walking towards the podium presentation, Caroline Mani of Raleigh-Clement is all smiles as she’s congratulated by fans.
Cyclocross Magazine: How was the end of your season and how has the offseason been?
Caroline Mani: This year [after Worlds] I was just mad at my bike! I had had my best season ever and I couldn’t touch a bike. I was watching people riding bikes and I thought, what the hell are they doing? That sounds terrible!
CXM: Really? It was your best-ever Worlds finish and your best ever season!
CM: Yes! But I t took the time off that I needed and after six weeks I thought, ok, I think I’m ready to get back on the bike. But I only have done like five hour rides and two weeks of training, so I’m really suffering. Yesterday I went for an easy bike ride with my teammates, and they all dropped me! And I thought you guys are so mean!
CXM: But at least you had 45 minute legs for today.
CM: Not even, it was like 30 minutes!
CXM: When you heard the race was going to combine the women’s and men’s fields, what was your reaction?
CM: I thought, oh no, it’s going to be sketchy. I was worried they were going to start everyone together. But it was cool. I think that’s the way to do it because it’s not a lot of people. It’s a small race and people just want to watch and have fun.
Catching some guys and having teammates pass me on the last lap, it was cool. I liked it. It’s different. It’s Sea Otter. It’s April ‘cross!
CXM: What pressure were you running?
CM: 1.4 bar.
CXM: Front and rear?
CM: Yes. Let me tell you in psi. I have it right here! [Ed. Note, Caroline pulls out her phone to calculate, explaining she needs to convert pressures in bar to psi all the time for her mechanics.] A little over 20, 20.3 psi actually. I think that’s what I have.
CXM: We understand your reservation on disc brakes is the extra weight. Is that accurate?
CM: Weight is a concern, but I also don’t feel like I always need disc brakes. I think they are good if you have the perfect setup, full hydraulic, and you can see some bikes are super light with those.
Next year, I will be on disc brakes.
[When on canti brakes] I have my own wheels, which is nice because I’m very particular with my equipment and what goes on my bike. We still don’t know what the drivetrain is going to be.
CXM: Really? Shimano or SRAM then?
CM: Well, it’s a secret. Maybe we’ll still be on Shimano, but we’ll see.
CM: The other components will be the same. FSA for wheels, Crank Brothers. TRP, I think that will depend on the drivetrain.
CXM: How does the silver medal at Worlds change your season plan and approach?
CM: It’s changed a lot because now it’s a completely different approach. For years I was like hey, I know we’re an American team, but I’d like to do the World Cups. I would do the December World Cup.
Now it’s different, my manager [Donn Kellogg] says, “Caroline, now we are doing the full World Cup [calendar]. I want you to win the World Cup.” I was like, wow!
CXM: Win the World Cup!
CM: Yes! You have to take it step by step, but I’m number two in the world and the only step you can take is to be number one. So I’m like, Ok!
So it will be different, we’re going to try to do double base teams, to have support in Europe and have full support here. So I probably won’t do a full campaign here and will try to go back and forth and try to prioritize to not be too tired.
I was talking with Katie Compton about it and she said “Caroline, don’t do more than two or three trips.”
But luckily I live in France and I’m doing Nationals over there, so I don’t have to come back after the World Cup in December and do Nationals here, so it’s less travel than Katie.
CXM: So winning the World Cup is the goal?
CM: Well, we’ll see. I was seventh in the World Cup classification and I didn’t have a really good result in Vegas. But I think if you’re good and consistent, it’s possible. Winning Vegas would be good, but….
CXM: It’s not your course?
CM: No. It’s not hard enough. I like it when it’s really hard and there’s lots of running. So Jingle Cross will be good.
CXM: The silver medal at Worlds, does that make you hungry for a run at the rainbow jersey too?
CM: Sure. That would be the goal. Who doesn’t want that? The white would get pretty dirty, but a little extra laundry, I could deal with that!
CXM: That’s a good problem to have!
CXM: Well, congratulations!
CM: Thank you! I’m off to the podium!
Stay tuned for a bike profile of Caroline Mani’s winning ride.