Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes) is all smiles after a disappointing, unlucky flat tire while in the lead. 2015 Lost and Found gravel race. © Cyclocross Magazine

File photo of Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes) from the 2015 Lost and Found gravel race. He’s all smiles after being selected to Team USA for the World Championships © Cyclocross Magazine

For the deeply initiated, Anthony Clark is a household name in American cyclocross. But for those new to the sport, or for our overseas readers, the inclusion of Clark on the US squad for the World Championships this coming weekend may have some wondering, “who is Anthony Clark?”

We spoke with Clark recently about his expectations for Worlds. Below are his thoughts. And for the uninitiated, there’s a little of his backstory and a peek at his positive mental attitude.

You can follow our World Championship coverage here.

We all have our stories to tell about how we stumbled into the sport of cyclocross, but few such tales are as vibrant as 29-year-old Anthony Clark’s (Squid Bikes).

Back in November of 2008 he was discovered by the reigning National Champion Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) during a training ride. As the story goes, Powers was busy with 5-minute, 400 watt efforts when he came across a guy sporting a quintessential old-school look of cut-off t-shirt, Vans sneakers and Camelbak, atop a 30-pound Motobecane bike complete with down tube shifters. After 30 minutes of hard training, Powers was shocked to see the 22-year-old still glued to his wheel.

A few months later, Powers found that kid, gave him some cycling clothing and eventually signed him up for his development team.

Back then, Clark had already dipped his toes casually in the mountain bike scene. “I just did beginner cross country races and Nationals, and I didn’t even know it was Nationals,” exclaims Clark.  He won the first two races he entered and placed second at that National Championships. Soon after, he left mountain biking for the road.

“After I ran into Powers, my goal was to be a Category 1 on the road and ride a Spooky [bike] on the Wheelhouse Team, which is now the Jam Fund/NCC Team,” says Clark. With hard work and loads of determination his two dreams came true.

He is now so fully wrapped in the sport that it plays the dominating role in his life. “If my bike is not in my living room, I get sad. It’s like my motivation. It’s like if I have a day off from riding my bike, I get really sad.” Quipping about his supplemental source of motivation in a recent interview, Clark adds, “That’s why  I raced so well today–I have a hot girlfriend.”

I first met this bubbly tattoo’d personality at the 20th edition Paris-Ancaster Gravel Race held two years ago in Canada. This guy had energy spilling all over the place like I’d never seen before. I thought, who the heck is that? Well, he showed us all who he was when he destroyed the field of a few hundred riders to take the overall win.

Clark claims his first UCI victory decisively. © Todd Prekaski

Clark claims his first UCI victory decisively. © Todd Prekaski

Although he won his first elite cross event back in 2010 at the Bethlehem Cup Cyclocross Race, and people had already been talking about him when landed on top at the West Sacramento Cyclocross Gran Prix and followed it up with a few major top tens,  it really wasn’t until the current season that he went big. He consistently placed in the top 10, walked away with seven podiums and won the NBX Grand Prix of Cross.

His first thoughts when he heard he’d be representing his country at Zolder World Championships?

“Dreams with hard work come true!  It made me very happy to be named to the Worlds team. It represents seven years of hard work. With how my season was going I thought I had a chance, but after a Nationals result that was under my expectations, I thought my chances were over. For Worlds, I really have no expectations, just gonna race it like every race and see what happens. I think an unreal amazing result would be top 20, maybe even top 30 to 40 is good since great guys get top 30. This year I’m only flying over to Europe for Worlds because I didn’t plan for any of this. So I’m gonna shred Worlds, come home and get ready for 2016 and hopefully make the Worlds team again and smash it! Next year after Nationals, I plan to race in Europe for two weeks.”

When asked how he sees himself in the sport of cross, Clark muses, “Yeah, I’m a bit colorful. I don’t know. I’m just proud of myself and what I’ve done.”

You can follow our World Championship coverage here.