Skyler Trujillo concentrates on the barriers © Bart Hazen

Skyler Trujillo concentrates on the barriers during his World's pre-ride © Bart Hazen

by Jamie Mack

Skyler Trujillo has been riding and racing his bike since the age of four, when he was introduced to the competitive side of cycling. Trujillo took a break for a couple of years, after racing six seasons before the age of 10, but renewed his interest as a teenager and started racing mountain bikes at 13. He picked up cyclocross the next season, and after deciding he didn’t have enough to do while watching the Tour de France, began road racing.

Five years later and Trujillo is now a 17-year old, tearing through fields in Colorado on his way to a second place in both the short-track and cross-country Junior Nationals mountain bike races in Granby, Colorado, this past July. With a string of first places on the mountain bike this year, including a dominant win of the overall 15-18 title in the Mountain States Cup, it’s easy to say that’s where his primary focus lies. But look further into the season and there is a string of top-ten finishes in USGPs and a third at nationals that give some insight into the focus that Trujillo puts into his ‘cross racing.

Trujillo still works at balancing the three disciplines; the focus in the spring is the mountain bike, but come fall “I am full gas cyclo-cross,” Trujillo explains. Looking at his results this year, it’s easy to see that Trujillo is doing well with the balancing act as he is currently in Tabor, representing the US at this weekend’s Cyclocross World Championships. This is his second ‘cross-related excursion into Europe this season, as he was an attendee of EuroCrossCamp in December.

Trujillo has been out on the course and feels that its technical nature will play well to his strengths as a good bike handler. Reports have said that it’s been snowing nearly every night this week, so there’s already a good layer of snow covering the circuit. Trujillo expects to be racing in the warmest part of the day on Saturday, with temperatures predicted to reach a balmy 30 degrees F. The snow on the course is likely to provide good traction in some areas and no traction in others. As the course gets ridden by the riders, it’s expected that good lines may become, as he puts it “super-slick and slidey in all the corners.”

Skyler is taking it easy the last days before the race, just resting and trying to overcome the jet lag remaining from the 25 hours of travel from Colorado to Tabor. The only effort he is planning on in the last couple of days is to pre-ride the course whenever he can, otherwise preferring to stay off his feet in preparation for the big race. By providing mechanical and logistical help, USA Cycling’s support allows Trujillo to get that rest. “The support here is really good…the mechanics are doing all they can so that we can be ready to go when we hit the line… All we need to do is take care of ourselves and get ourselves ready for the race.”

Representing your country on a world class level at a young age has to be difficult to handle at times, but Trujillo seems to be taking it all like a seasoned pro. “It’s always exciting to be accepted to race for your country, on the team of the best collection of racers…against all the best racers from everywhere else in the world.”

As a parting thought, Trujillo responded to my final question with a sentiment that seems to be shared by many of the US racers competing in Tabor: “I am excited to be here and to race and to have a good time doing it.”

Find out how Skyler finished and find complete coverage, photos, reports and replay our live coverage from Saturday and Sunday in our 2010 Tabor Cyclocross Worlds Coverage Center.