Words from Real Rider – Sasha Perry

                                                     Photo Courtesy of Donovan Jenkins

 

If you are a newcomer to Cyclocross, you probably have a million and one questions on how to train, what kind of bike to buy, what to expect and is it really as easy as it looks?

As the Official Social Media Partner of the SoCal Cyclocross Prestige series, we want to create a community of riders who can learn and engage with each other about all things Cyclocross.

We went out to the Kick-Off Rally Cross event at LA Historic State park this weekend and we met Sasha Perry. Sasha became a regular at Cyclocross events after going to one race to film a web-series on Vegan athletes. Here is the story.

 

TL – What was is about Cyclocross that drew you to it?

SP – The first time I saw Cyclocross was at a UCI race in Griffith Park in LA. I was there to film for a web-series on vegan athletes, I didn’t know much about the sport at the time. I showed up with a camera and couldn’t get over how fun and ridiculous and hard it all looked. The next season I rented a bike from the SoCalCross organizer and did my first race. It was less fun and far more excruciating than it looked and I fell in love immediately. At one point I found myself riding through a sand pit  next to a child’s swing set while an 8 year old pointed and laughed at me. What’s not to love? I wasn’t a bike racer or even an athlete when I did that first race, and now it takes up more of my life than I care to admit or think about. There’s something about destroying myself at a race and the feeling it brings when you cross the finish line that I haven’t found in any other bike event and I’ve become addicted to it.

 

TL – What’s is your training routine?

SP – I’m on my bike anywhere between 15-25 hours a week depending on my race and work schedule. I’ve also recently started weight lifting and throw in some easy runs now and then to keep my legs happy. The riding varies from short rides with hard interval efforts to long tempo rides on the weekend when I can spend 4 or 5 hours on the saddle. I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing coach and supporter Jeff Lawler  (Pioneer Coaching) who has put a lot of time into helping me get speed and skills; two things I never thought I could have.

 

TL – What is the best piece of training advice you have been given?

SP – I have a very hard time seeing progress, and it sometimes lends itself to thoughts of quitting.  I was told by my friend recently that being hard on yourself is good–it’s how you improve–but not too hard. The sweetest victories have nothing to do with overall results. Getting to the top of a hill a little faster than last time, finishing with a pack instead of getting dropped, doing something you thought physically impossible. All these things keep you coming back. I was crashed in my first Pro 1/2/3 race this year, got back up and finished the race in 13th. I was absolutely destroyed, and it absolutely felt like winning. There are no small victories.

 

TL – What is one piece of advice you would you give someone who is interested in CX?

SP – I think I’d give the same advice to anyone regardless of gender that wants to get into CX, and it’s nothing profound. Just remember that everyone was a beginner at some point. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy bikes that cost more than your car, don’t be afraid of wearing spandex in public, (no one looks good in it and we all just accept that). Just go out and try it. Pushing your body and mind to do something uncomfortable will change your life if you let it, and in the meantime your friends get to throw things at you and hand you dollar bills.

 

10 Minutes with Pro CX Racers Ben Berden and Nicole Duke – Part 1 Ben Berden

                                      Photo Courtesy of  Phil Beckman of PB Creative

 

What do you get when you combine a bunch of out of season mountain bikers and roadies with colder weather, mud and cowbells? You get the 14-week  SoCal Prestige Cyclocross Series …. and of course, there will be beer.

As the Official Social Media Partner of the series we are going to keep you dialed in to exclusive content from the series right here on our blog, on Facebook, Instagram and on our website, www.pricepoint.com.

With the start of the series just days away, we caught up with pro-cyclocrossers Ben Berden and Nicole Duke for a quick chat about why they ride, what they are looking forward to this season and to find out what advice they would give to anyone looking to try Cyclocross. We asked them both 10 questions. Here is part 1 of the interview.

TL-What is it about Cyclocross that drew you to it?

BB-I have been doing since I was 15, so for 22 years now I have been involved with it. In Belgium everyone does it; you grow up with it, you see it on television. So that is why I started doing it.

 

TL-What is the best thing about being Ben Berden?

BB-I’m very persistent, and I love riding my bike. I think the combination of the two is what made it easy for me to become a professional cyclist.

 

TL-What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned as an athlete?

BB-Not to dope.  Cyclocross in Belgium is such a big thing. There is so much pressure and so many things that are involved. There it is about more than cycling, it’s a business and for the best people it is a career. I wasn’t happy with always being second or third. I wanted to win and I wanted to be faster. I met the wrong people at the wrong time and they convinced me to dope. I gave in and I ended up getting busted and suspended for three years. But now I know and trust my abilities. If I am the top athlete then that is good, but if not, that is fine too. Now it is more about pleasure and just getting a good result.

 

TL-What is the best piece of advice you’d give to someone training for Cyclocross?

BB-You have to really enjoy riding your bike. If you think training is a task then you have the wrong mindset and you will not make it.

 

TL-What is something that you never thought you’d be able to do that you have now accomplished?

BB-When I was younger everyone said it would be impossible making money by riding a bike.  But it’s 20 years later and I’m still doing it so I’m blessed.

 

TL-When you aren’t riding what do you do?

BB-I travel with my girlfriend, or go out with the kids. Usually you are so tired from training it’s hard to do much else.  

 

TL-What is your most memorable moment in your career?

BB-Winning my first World cup.

 

TL-What is your favorite Place to ride?

BB-The forest. I love riding in green environments.

 

TL-If someone were to play you in a movie who would it be?

BB-George Clooney.

 

TL-What do you have to accomplish before you retire?

BB-To give all of the knowledge I have about cycling to younger riders. Young riders don’t know how to live a cyclists’ lifestyle.  It’s about how to train and how to eat too, its not just about how hard you train.