“I view myself more as just a bike racer than a mountain bike racer or a road racer.” – Christopher Blevins
With only a handful of cyclocross races under his belt in 2017, Christopher Blevins (Specialized) headed to Reno as one of the darkhorses in the U23 Men’s race. If Blevins was a new name to cyclocross fans at the start of the race, he certaintly was not midway through.
Blevins made a two-man selection with Eric Brunner (Evol Elite Racing) and put on a show hopping the stairs and attacking the technical sections. During the last lap, he launched an attack that took advantage of his aerial skill to earn his title-winning gap. With the win, Blevins now holds both the cyclocross and mountain bike U23 titles.
— Cyclocross Magazine (@cyclocross) January 14, 2018
I reached out to Blevins for an interview because I wanted to learn more about the talented young star. After dubbing him “the most interesting man in cycling,” because he doesn’t always race cyclocross, but when he does, he prefers to win National Championships, I wanted to ask about his win, what he thinks about the discipline and the other things that keep him busy.
Racing Cyclocross and His Friendship with Gage Hecht
Cyclocross is a relatively new discipline for Blevins. He has been racing mountain bike, road and BMX for a number of years, but only really started cyclocross in 2014 in the year prior to the 2015 Austin Nationals, where he finished fourth in the Junior 17-18 race.
“I really like it,” he said about ’cross. “Every course is different, and I love that part about it. I love the technical stuff, and I think it combines the skills from both road and mountain. Even though it’s new and unfamiliar and a little bit different and unique, I’m loving it.”
Gage Hecht’s flat midway through the race at Nationals was disappointing for him because he has been on top of his game since late October, but it was perhaps also a bit disappointing for Blevins because he did not get the chance to compete into the last lap against a long-time friend. “I’ve known Gage for many years,” Blevins said. “As early as 11-12 we were going back and forth and would ride together. When I got into ’cross when I was 17 for Austin, he and his dad really helped me out, learning the ’cross ropes and getting the bike set up and all that.”
After the U23 race, we asked Hecht if he is going to talk Blevins into racing more cyclocross. Hecht said he’s trying, but “he really likes his mountain bike.” In the interview, Blevins went on to say he is planning on racing more cyclocross in 2018, so hopefully we will see more memorable battles between the two long-time friends.
Putting on an Aerial Show
When prepping for this interview, I engaged in some next-level journalism by “looking at Blevins’ Facebook page,” and found this video of him hopping stairs before it was a Nationals race-winning move.
I asked him what he thought of the reception his stair-hopping at Nationals got given hhe is a mountain biker who has done way crazier stuff in his young career.
“I was surprised when I saw just how many views that video got and I was like, man, that’s really neat. I think part of it was to see it at the end. That was probably the best and most pinned time I took it, so it looked pretty cool, especially with the slo-mo. Those features are fun because in mountain biking it’s a lot more natural and obviously the bike is built for it. But I think in ’cross, it’s not specifically built for jumping up stairs. I like doing wheelies on the road bike and stuff on bikes they’re not really meant for.”
Balancing School, Bike Racing and Poetry
During the interview, Blevins mentioned the importance of balance in his life, both in terms of racing multiple disciplines and having interests away from racing. Similar to many other young athletes, his ability to find balance is put to the test while he attends college and races bikes at an elite level. Blevins originally hails from Durango, Colorado, but is currently attending California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo, where he is majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Sociology.
Interestingly, his biggest hobby is not Excel spreadsheets or balancing ledger sheets, but rather spoken-word poetry. “It started freshman year of high school,” Blevins said about his other hobby. “It was a bit of a hobby, just for fun. Writing raps with friends like a lot of kids do. I had a poetry class that freshman year and really got into it and then did the poetry slam, which is spoken word, and that’s what I really liked. It evolved into my outlet and something that is very different than being an athlete, but something I have a passion for just as much as cycling. Now it’s a big part of my life.”
Bike racer, student, poet, internet sensation, Christopher Blevins has found a way to balance it all. We look forward to seeing what he does when his life as a bike racer crosses paths with ’cross as well as what he achieves in his other endeavors.
For much more from Blevins, see the audio link at the top of this page. For past interviews, see our Audio File archive.