Many of the Montana Cross Camp attendees have commented on how much running they did out in Big Sky country. One rider who was well prepared for the running is Dillon McNeill of the Trek Cyclocross Collective. Not only did the Cornhusker state native attend the camp in 2016, but he also runs cross country in the fall along with racing cyclocross.
McNeill had a successful trip to U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford, finishing in fourth place in the Men’s Junior 15-16 age group. This season he moves up to the 17-18 category and is hoping to get the opportunity to participate in Euro Cross Camp.
In the latest of our ever-growing series of Montana Cross Camp athlete interviews, Cyclocross Magazine sat down with Dillon and asked him about cyclocross, cross country and training to get to Euro Cross Camp.
Interview with Dillon McNeill at the 2017 Montana Cross Camp
Cyclocross Magazine: This is your second Cross Camp, right?
Dillon McNeill: Yep.
CXM: What was your motivation to come back?
DM: I think it was just learning a lot of skills last year that I didn’t know before the season. I worked them in a lot this past season, and I wanted to come back and try to improve on how I left last year and try and get better for the next season.
CXM: Was it a good refresher on some of the things you need to work on?
DM: Yeah, for sure. Racing mountain bikes and road, you kind of forget to work on ’cross skills and stuff. I think it’s a really good refresher for the season.
CXM: So some of these skills and drills you worked on at camp last year, you’ve worked into your training?
DM: Yeah, I’ve tried to.
CXM: Which ones?
DM: Doing hot laps and stuff like that. Working on barriers, we do that a lot back at home. In Nebraska people will ask me what drills we did, so I kind of try to pass it on to them.
CXM: Do you do stadium stairs or any of the soccer exercises you guys had to do in the morning?
DM: When I run cross country, which is sort of in the cyclocross season, but not a whole lot alone.
CXM: How do you balance cross country and cyclocross in the fall?
DM: It’s a little challenging, but usually we run pretty early [in the morning] in the summer, so I’ll do that and try and recover and go out for a ride. My coach knows how much I’m running, so he tries to balance my training plan with that.
CXM: Is one of those sports a priority?
DM: I like cyclocross a lot better, but cross country with school and having a coach, it kind of takes over a bit. I definitely try to balance the two during the season.
CXM: Do you ever have to miss some races because there’s a cross country meet on the weekend?
DM: Usually I miss the cross country races for the cyclocross races. I missed a couple last year because of Jingle Cross and Trek CXC Cup.
CXM: What was the highlight of this year’s camp for you?
DM: I think I liked going up the big hills and going for KOMs. I thought it was really interesting to see all the top guys really gun for it and try and stay on the wheels.
CXM: Where are you from?
DM: Bellevue, Nebraska.
CXM: Are there big climbs there?
DM: No, no.
CXM: It’s pretty flat?
DM: Yeah, it’s pretty flat with like rolling gravel, so it was kind of new for me.
CXM: What’s your biggest goal for this season?
DM: The biggest goal is to maybe get over to Europe for a block with USA Cycling. That would probably be my biggest goal for the season. I’d be really happy with that.
CXM: Do you have your eye on Nationals?
DM: Yeah, if I get a top ten there I will be happy.
CXM: You’ve spent some time with Geoff Proctor, having attended two camps, how would you describe him?
DM: I would describe him as really organized and knowing what he’s doing. He always told us last year that ten minutes early is on time. He knows what he’s doing and he also does stuff off the bike and is really disciplined with that.
CXM: Were all those evening presentations and video clips helpful?
DM: Yeah. I remember a couple of them from last year, but they were cool to see again.
CXM: And after four full days of workouts, how are you feeling?
DM: A little tired, I need to let the legs recover a little bit. I think yoga kind of helped with that yesterday.
CXM: Is that something you’d try to do during the season?
DM: I didn’t do a whole lot last season. I stretched and stuff, but it’s definitely helpful, so I might need to try it this year.
CXM: Awesome. Enjoy your trip back and rest up.
DM: Thank you.
CXM: Thanks much for your time.
DM: You’re welcome.