CBR interview: Wayne Simon
Chicago is blessed with a thriving masters scene, good news for those of us who are late arrivals to the sport. Whether it's former pro Robbie Ventura jumping into a race with his Vision Quest charges or Mark Swartzendruber (Lucas Oil) battling his rivals on Team Mack, the masters races are often the most exciting of any given day
How has racing in Illinois changed since you started? I recall my first race being Bull Valley Road Race in the fall of 1984. Back then state championships doubled as national qualifiers. The top six to eight guys could go to the elite national road race. Same for the time trial. This was the only way to go to nationals, if you were not a national A or B team member. The time trial was held on Saturday, followed by the road race Sunday. The road race was a minimum of 85 miles, and one year I seem to remember it being 107 miles. All categories
Verdigris has always been a bit of a mystery to me. All I know is that starting with last year's cross season, guys in green (and a few gals) suddenly started toeing the start line
Previously you raced with PYOC, and PYOC is still part of your e-mail address. What does the "paddle your own canoe" ethos mean to you as far as cycling? RRB/Carousel Linens was formed by Doug Close and the core racers from the RRB/VCR club about 1986. RRB owner Ron Boi was behind us 100 percent. The core members of this group evolved into PYOC. The philosophy was simple: Always ride and train like pros though we were amateurs, to focus on the details of correct pace lines and echelons, team time trial, pedal strokes, correct positions on the bike, and always racing as a team, not as individuals. Doug was the training scientist coming up with concepts that always seemed to be cutting edge and well ahead of most training books. If you ride with myself, Mike Heagney (PYOC), Nels Hackl (PYOC), Tom Kalstrup (PYOC) or any of Doug's lab rats, you can see the similarities in our riding styles today. The training and racing I did on the bike over these few years formed the foundation of my cycling knowledge. I would not have the results today without the experience and generosity of these individuals, so a special thanks to the core PYOCian's.
Do you consider yourself a roadie who races cross to wind down, or are you a CX guy who races road to warm up? I am a roadie all the way! I just like to play in the dirt, though I believe cross has helped my time trial.
I don't think I ever saw a report from your national championship in Kentucky. How did the finish play out? At what point did you realize you'd be putting on the Stars and Stripes? With five miles remaining and one rider 40 seconds off the front, there were about 30 guys left and three short climbs to the finish, which was on the top of the third hill. I felt calm sitting in, waiting for the first most difficult hill in the circuit to launch my attack. I spun quite a large gear for about 45 seconds, maybe 700w, and to my surprise a 10-second gap at the top `I stand up to keep the momentum, shift up a few teeth and at the 200-meter sign I make the catch still going fast!’ leaving me no choice but to continue full gas to the second climb. Now I can see Rob Anderson (Team Specialized Racing) going as hard as I can and at the top of the hill I was close, about 7 seconds, but the engine room was saying shut it down. I thought, "No way can I catch him." Looking back down the hill, there was no pack in sight. Now I have second for sure. Totally cool, but on the downhill I seemed to find that quick recovery and stomped the largest gear on the Trek, 54x11, to the base of the hill with the speedometer displaying 36 mph. OK, this is good. As the 500-meter sign flies by I stand up to keep the momentum, shift up a few teeth and at the 200-meter sign I make the catch still going fast! Making sure I could not be caught at 40 meters, I let off the gas, sat up, putting my arms in the air and think: "You’re going to win the national road race. How did that happen?" I cannot believe it. This does not seem real. This day is truly a gift.
What are your expectations for this weekend's cyclocross national championships in Kansas City? I have no expectations. I have learned that is not realistic. Anything can happen, and I do not have control of most of those things. I am prepared to battle as hard as I can, with a front-row starting position because of my 8th place finish from last year's race. That gives me the opportunity to be close to 2007 winner Ned Overend (Specialized), at least on the starting line. There is a chance I could make the podium if all goes well. We will see. [UPDATE: Simon would go on to finish 4th in Kansas City.]
Once cross is over, what kind of break will you take before `My main goal is to enjoy every start. You never know how long a body will hold up.’getting ready for 2009? Three weeks off the bike, let the body gain a pound or two, drink some wine, then hit the weight room hard after New Year's.
What are your goals for 2009? I have a few. Maybe do the Tour de Gila, and I will definitely return to Louisville for masters national championships. I look forward to the road race. The Louisville course suits me well, and I would like to ride a better time trial. My main goal is to enjoy every start. You never know how long a body will hold up.
It's 25 degrees and windy and you need to get in a three-hour ride: Do you go outside, or are you on the trainer? Trainer every time. Got to love that Velodyne!