As a second-year Junior 17-18 racer, Andrew Strohmeyer (CX Hairs Devo / Trek Bikes) entered the 2019/20 with two goals: winning the Pan-American Championships and winning at Lakewood Nationals.
The young rider from Maryland accomplished both goals, winning in Midland in November and beating a strong field in Lakewood to complete the jersey double. [If you missed it, you can check out our profile of his Nationals-winning Trek Boone.]
Strohmeyer’s season, however, was far from over. Immediately after Nationals, he headed to Europe for the Kerstperiode block of racing with the USA Cycling MudFund. After getting his feet wet—literally, at Namur—Strohmeyer finished sixth at GP Sven Nys on New Year’s Day and followed that result with a fourth-place finish at Brussels Universities Cyclocross.
Strohmeyer now turns his eyes toward Worlds, where he is hoping for another strong result to cap his impressive final season as a Junior racer.
We caught up with Strohmeyer following his strong finish in Brussels. You can read what he had to say below.
Interview: Andrew Strohmeyer, Junior 17-18 Racer
Cyclocross Magazine: You obviously had a great domestic season. What did you change up and what did you keep the same training for this season?
Andrew Strohmeyer: For this year I didn’t really change anything from last season. One thing I did differently was focusing on the races late in the season which included Nationals and the races in Europe. That way I would be in better form for those races as compared to last year when I was focused on the whole season.
CXM: You have several peers racing well in Europe this winter. How did racing against them all season prepare you for the best in the world?
AS: Throughout the year we would all show up at the same races and battle for the win and it was unknown who would win until the race was over. It is very similar here in Europe all of our results have been improving and we are all battling each other as well as a whole lot of Europeans who are super fast as well. The racing atmosphere hasn’t changed much though we are all still battling just as we do in the U.S.
CXM: Looking at the results Magnus [Sheffield] and Nick [Carter] and Jared [Scott] and others have had in Europe, has that affected how you view your wins at Nationals and Pan-Ams?
AS: It definitely has we have all have had amazing results here and I think it proves on any day we can be at the front of these European races competing with the best in the world. It is awesome to say that I’ve won two of the biggest races in the United States and I’m trying to show that here.
CXM: Is it different racing in the Stars-and-Stripes in Europe?
AS: It is definitely different racing in the Stars-and-Stripes in Europe. It is an amazing feeling and also super motivating every time I race in the Stars-and-Stripes and knowing that I get to represent the United States on the highest level.
CXM: What have the keys to getting good results at Baal and Brussels been?
AS: I think the key to my success here in Europe is the experience. At the start of the trip, I was struggling a little getting used to the style of racing here but my results have been improving throughout the racing block. Every race is a learning opportunity and you get more and more knowledge of how to race here. I have been able to apply what I’ve learned and improve my results throughout the trip and hope to continue that trend going into the World Championships.
CXM: Bill Schieken told me he thinks you really enjoy Euro-style racing. Do you think that’s the case? Why?
AS: I do think that is the case. I think that the races here in Europe suit my style more than the races at home. In the U.S. we get a lot races that are super dry and fast like a dirt crit.
In Europe, the races are always more technical and have more parts of the course that allow me to use my bike handling ability rather than just all power. It also tends to be slippery or muddy here most of the time, I like the races where you really have to drive your bike and that is the case most of the time in Europe.
CXM: What has been the same and different now that you’re on your second year racing in Europe?
AS: Now that this is my second year racing in Europe as a Junior I feel that it is less about the experience of racing here and more about the results and competing to be at the front of the races. The nerves are still the same though, I find that at the world cups I still feel the same at the start but I’m racing much farther up in the field.
CXM: What are your biggest takeaways in terms of skills and things to work on for the future?
AS: My biggest takeaway for something in need to work on is being aggressive. In Europe, you either have to be aggressive and hold your position or someone else is going to take it from you. You have to be willing to chop someone in a turn or put you bars into a gap that doesn’t really exist in order to be racing at the front. In U.S. races we just don’t have to deal with that because there are a lot fewer people. I think that is part of why races in Europe are so tough compared to the U.S.
CXM: How has the experience of living and racing with the MudFund program gone this winter?
AS: Living and racing with the MudFund has been a great experience this year. It has made it a lot easier to come here for a long period of time and race. Not having to worry about kits or housing and transportation has been a huge help and made it that much easier to race on my highest level here in Europe.
CXM: Goals for Worlds? Have those changed at all during the season and based on recent results?
AS: This year I set a goal of a top 10 at Worlds. I have been thinking about this goal all year and I definitely think it is achievable. Going into Worlds, my goal is the same as a lot of people to win but a top 10 is something that I could look back on and be extremely happy with.
CXM: What do you think it will take to achieve those goals over the next month and on race day at Worlds?
AS: This year I have achieved the two big goals I set which were to win Pan-ams and Nationals. I know I can do the same and achieve my goal at the World Championships. On the day, it will take my absolute best mentally and physically to achieve my goal which is possible. Come February 2nd, everything that can be done will be done and I just have to get out there have some fun and get it done.
CXM: Sounds great. Thanks for your time. Looking forward to seeing you race in Switzerland.
AS: You bet. Thanks.