Gavin, as one of the new riders to the team would you give everyone a little background as to how you arrive on the national racing scene.
I came up racing as a Junior in SoCal and spent a lot of time in the back half of my Junior career racing with the national team on the road and the track. I had a few big results including a tenth at the Jr. Paris-Roubaix but I came out of juniors right as some of the US U23 programs were folding and I decided I wanted to go race in Europe full time. I lived in Belgium for six months my first year as a U23 and had a rough season, feeling isolated and alone. I came home pretty over cycling, but got an opportunity to step back onto the track that winter with the rebirth of the US Team Pursuit program. I spent 2017 racing and training almost exclusively on the track and solidified a spot on the new national team. I was introduced to Paul halfway through the year and he took a chance on me based on the rides I was producing on the track and gave me the opportunity to step up onto Elevate-KHS in 2018.
You are now a big part of the US National Track Team that is trying to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. What steps do you and the team have to make to ensure your participation in the Olympics?
Now for us the biggest thing is consistently producing the performance’s we are capable of. We don’t have the depth of some of the bigger nations so all four guys in the team have to be at their best on the day because there’s no alternate coming in. We have the ability to race with some of the more established teams but we need to produce our best ride on race day repeatedly and continue to chase the top eight spots necessary to qualify for the Olympics in a year and a half. So for now that means being prepared to go out and fight for every second in training, equipment and nutrition day in and day out so we can have more confidence in our ability to deliver sub four minute rides every time we line up.
Congratulations on breaking the US National Individual Pursuit record at the Pan Am Games and winning Gold and Silver medals this year. Tell us a little bit about that experience.
That was incredible to be a part of, to win the team pursuit was a big moment for everyone involved and a huge reward for all the work we’ve put in over the last year and a half. To go out again the next day and race the Individual Pursuit took a lot of mental strength but I knew I was on good legs and had a shot at the national record. Just by coincidence, I’d been at the Velodrome in 2008 when Taylor Phinney set the the Individual Pursuit national record so I’d always had it in the back of my mind as something I’d like to have a crack at. I wasn’t expecting it to be this year though, but I realized it was possible based on the Team Pursuit times we’d ridden the day before, so I threw a huge gear on the bike and went for it… and somehow it worked!
What was one of your highlights last year racing on the road last year.
For a lot of reasons Tulsa Tough was far and away the highlight of my time on the road last year. I’d never raced at Tulsa before and the environment of that whole weekend was so much fun. More importantly it also felt like I truly became a member of the team from the time with the guys, to our incredible host housing, I felt like part of the Elevate-KHS family. Then to cap that all off by executing perfectly with the guys and helping set up a clean sweep of the podium on the first night and a 1-2 on the overall made it very special.
What are you most excited about for the upcoming 2019 season on the road and on the track?
On the track I’m very excited to continue building the team pursuit program into a competitive team, the World Championship this year will be a very exciting event for us to see how far we’ve progressed in the last twelve months and where we stack up against the best teams. For myself I’m also excited to have a crack at the Individual Pursuit and see if I can get into the hunt for a top five or even a medal at the World Championships.
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