Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Powers Powering to Europe

            Unbeatable. Well, almost. This weekend at the Full Moon Vista-Ellison Park Cyclocross Festival current National Champ Jeremy Powers won his 8th race of the 2014-2015 cyclocross season. Powers has been on fire this season, though he claims he is coming in a bit slower. Powers is definitely using the mantra “It’s All About Me” this year with the creation of his own program and dropping racing on the road. He hopes it will payoff with career best rest results.

Coming In Slow

            This is the first year Powers has focused solely on cyclocross. He forwent racing on the road with the continental Jelly Belly squad, must to the dislike of the director Danny Van Haute, who publicly criticized Powers for doing so. By dropping the road program Powers should be fresher come January when race form really matters with the National Championships and World Championships. Without all of the road racing miles in August/September, usually gained by having to race the USA Pro Challenge or Tour of Alberta, Powers has publicly said he is coming into this season a little bit slower. Well, if by “slow" he means dominating the US cyclocross scene; the World Cups shall be very interesting. Furthermore, Powers has created his own team, Aspire Racing. It was created out of the old Rapha-Focus program with Rapha and Focus Bikes still both the main sponsors, but now Powers is the only rider.

            Only two riders have beaten Powers this season. Those riders happen to be defending World Cup Champion and #1 ranked in the world Lars van der Haar and #2 ranked in the world and current Belgium National Champ Sven Nys. That was at the first race of the season, Cross Vegas, in which Nys won with a last-lap attack and was followed in closely by Lars van de Haar. Those two guys then proceeded to go to Europe and claim podium places in the first Superprestige race of the season (Superprestige largely considered biggest, most prestige series outside of the World Cup).

Coming Into Form

            Most pros race into form; that is, they quickly build up their power, strength, and speed with each subsequent race. Powers has done that not by looking at his wins (because he has mostly won) but by looking at his margins of victory. The last two races, Class 1’s, Providence Cyclocross Festival and Ellison Park Cyclocross Festival, had Powers winning by 55” and 30” respectively. Furthermore, both races went over the one hour mark, which also helps him get ready for World Cups, races that can last as long as 70 minutes for the winner.

            With his own program this year, Powers plans to race all 6 rounds of the World Cup. Powers will most likely max out his C1 and C2 points, so World Cup points will be the only other UCI points he could earn. Racing in Europe is much different than racing in the US. The speeds are faster and the courses are much more technical. The weather is dreadful in the winter in Europe and most cross races tend to be muddy or even snowy affairs. This is important factor for Powers, because the mud tends to be his achilles heel. Though he has shown he is much improved with a 15th place result at last year’s final World Cup in Nommay, which was a muddy affair, he still has his work cut out for him.

What to Expect

Jeremy Powers’ best World Cup result is 7th in Tabor, Czech Republic in 2012, where the World Championships happen to be this year. Powers has cracked the top ten in a World Cup twice in fact: Plzen, CZE where he finished 10th in 2011 and his 7th place in Tabor. To be honest though, Powers probably will not be satisfied unless he gets a top 5 result in a World Cup this year. With the time and energy he has put into this season, not only his fitness, but his personalized program, he should be satisfied with nothing less.
            A dry fast course for the first World Cup this weekend in Valkenburg, NL would be ideal for Powers. Powers is a punchy cyclocross rider, known for his attacking style and taking a race by the horns here in the US. Powers did not contend this World Cup round last year and stated that the course appeared to suit him. A dry fast course would allow Powers to contend for a very high placing. First, it would be a huge confidence boast and second, a high result would boast his UCI point total, therefore increasing his world ranking. At his current ranking of 15th, he would need to move into 8th to see a huge jump in his start position, allowing him to move from the second row to the first. 

            The current forecast is sunny for both Saturday and Sunday with a temperature in the low 70’s for this year’s World Cup in Valkenburg. But rain is predicted for Thursday and Friday. But, it’s early. This can all change at the whoosh of a flat tire.

By the Numbers:

Wins: 8/9
            C1 Wins: 4
            C2 Wins: 4

*only 6 best results in C1’s and 5 best results in C2’s figured into UCI points

Podiums: 9/9

UCI Points Earned this Season: 520

Current UCI World Ranking: 15th

*hard to calculate world ranking due to UCI using rolling calendar for cyclocross
*points recalculated after each World Cup

Average Margin of Victory: 19”

*last two margins of victory: 55” and 30”

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