Jamey Driscoll and Chris Jones battled it out in cyclocross, and now find themselves the thick of the action in California. File photo © Joe Sales

Jamey Driscoll, out of college and focusing on racing. File photo © Joe Sales

by Molly Hurford

Jamey Driscoll is one of the few top cyclocrossers that we haven’t written about in our “In the Saddle” feature until now. After a stellar 2011/2012 season that ended with one victory at Jingle Cross and plenty of top ten finishes throughout, the recent college graduate is already hard at work prepping for road season. Despite racing on the road, he found time to race at Cyclocross Worlds and even chose to finish up the season with a quick jaunt to Japan with Tim Johnson in February, taking fifth in Tokyo Cross.

At Nationals, Driscoll took seventh place in the Elite Men’s race, and at Worlds, he came in 42nd, right ahead of Chris Jones. Being on the Cannondale p/b team, he’s got some stellar teammates to race with, as well as have some fun with (see his quip about Tim Johnson when he talks about college). It’s also great to see a racer who’s so supportive of everyone on his team, and especially proud of what the women on have accomplished. We finally caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to this past season and what his plans are for the off-season.

Cyclocross Magazine: What are you doing for the 2012 season? Who are you riding for? Any major goals?

Jamey Driscoll: I am racing a reduced schedule for Jamis Sutter Home in order to prepare for the ’cross season, during which I will be racing again for Cannondale p/b The ’cross season looks pretty similar; I’m going to Europe again in October and then racing domestically through Nationals. I have not had any discussions about what to do from Nationals until Worlds. My major goals are to win a GP this year and at least get on the top three podium at Nationals, as well as be on the podium more often than not. And of course, be on the World Championship team.

CXM: How do you feel the 2011/early 2012 season went?

JD: Honestly, it didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. I know I can be more of a factor in the races, as I was for the majority of the past season.

CXM: Are you excited about Worlds? Any goals there?

JD: Yes, I am excited to hopefully race, and I’m also excited that cyclocross as a sport is growing on a global scale.

CXM: Are you still in school next year? What’s the end goal there?

JD: No, I have to say I find it funny when people ask, because I was in school for a while and everyone assumes that I still am.  I actually graduated last spring. The end goal there is to be able to transition from racing my bike to using my degree when the right time comes. In the near future, it’s been useful to hold it over Timmy [Johnson]’s head.

CXM: What’s your off-season look like?

Driscoll isn't thrilled with this year's results but knows he can do better in the coming seasons. © Bart Hazen

JD: Snowy. I get out on the slopes as much as possible. Since this was the first off-season I didn’t have to catch up on the school I had missed in Europe, I took a trip out to Alta, Utah, and got some incredible days in.

CXM: What made you choose to race in Japan in February? How was it there compared to Europe or the US?

JD: I had never been to Japan, so it was pretty much the trip of a lifetime, and fortunately I didn’t miss any good skiing. It was an awesome experience, since as you can imagine, there are a lot of people in Tokyo, therefore a lot of cyclists. The beach where the race was held was a mob scene in a very good way. It had Euro-like crowds, but they interacted with the riders more, which was cool to see.

CXM: How do you feel about your Nationals and Worlds results?

JD: Disappointed in both. I was hoping that the rest would do me good for Nationals, but apparently it was too much rest. Then with Worlds, my race was essentially over in the first two minutes when I crashed into someone who went down and by the time we got our bikes untangled I was within two or three places of dead last. The only consolation is that by the time traffic thinned out and I was able to ride my own pace, I noticed I wasn’t losing huge amounts of time each lap to the leaders.

CXM: How was it being on the team with arguably the best Nationals results out of any team?

JD: I was so excited for our girls [Duke and Antonneau]. They both had career rides and for Katie, I think that is just a sample of what is to come.  I just wish I could have contributed more.

CXM: Best training tip for new cyclocrossers?

JD: It’s pretty traditional Euro “wisdom” but still holds very true. Americans go too hard on their easy days and too easy on their hard days. Because ’cross is such an explosive effort, you need to recover a lot from a weekend of racing.  And also because it is a very explosive sport, you need to train for such a hard effort.

CXM: Any big road races coming up?

JD: Sadly, not California. But Gila is UCI this year, then USPRO road and Philadelphia (NRC races) are on back-to-back weekends in May/June.

CXM: Favorite moment of the past season?

JD: I would have to say watching our teammate Katie A. on some breakthrough rides, like outsprinting Katerina for second in the Louisville GP and getting second at elite Nationals.