Question: Jason, we heard you moved to Wenatchee from Reno…What brought you to our area?
Answer: Multifactorial decision. Honestly, the impetus was the vaccination laws and schedule in Nevada. Kerri and I aren’t anti-vax but we definitely don’t agree with the currently recommended vaccination schedule. We started looking at states with vaccination laws that allowed flexibility. Washington was the top choice since I grew up in the state and had most of my family living here, Kerri’s were in Portland, and I could be close to work. We considered Spokane but Wenatchee won out due to proximity to Seattle (to pop over for work), access to the outdoors and the climate.
Question: What do you do for work, do you have kids or dogs? Tell us a bit about yourself.
Answer: I work at Microsoft, playing with spreadsheets and data; I’ve been there 22 years. I have 2 kids – Louden who is about to turn 10, Lander who is 8 and a little dog named Pepper (we think she’s 2 or so). And I’m married to Kerri, who owns a business locally.
Question: What do you enjoy about Cyclocross? We heard you got 6th in the nation for a Cyclocross competition this last year. That is a huge accomplishment!
Answer: I finished 6th last year thank you. It was probably one of the best all around races I’ve been a part of, all things considered, and not necessarily because of my finish.
Cyclocross is very dynamic, I think that’s what I like most about it. For those who’ve never seen it, it’s basically a road bike with skinny mtn bike tires and you race on a course normally less than 2 miles over grass, pavement, dirt, sand and various barriers for between 45-60 minutes. It gets really fun when it rains or snows.
Beyond needing to be physically fit, you also need to be able to get on and off your bike effectively, be able to run and understand the conditions of the course for proper tire and pressure selection. There’s a lot going on. I did a lot of road bike stage races where you’d have a TT bike, a road bike and couple different helmets and I thought that was a lot of gear. The amount of gear in cyclocross dwarfs all other biking disciples; this isn’t what attracted me to it but races are won and lost based on tire tread choice and/or tire pressure. Honing the craft takes time and it’s fun to talk with other racers about it. Serious dudes/dudettes will have 8 sets of wheels at their disposal for race day and at least 2 identical bikes. I’m semi-serious as I only have 5 sets of wheels and my bikes are different colors. This link sums up cyclocross very well in my opinion.
Question: Do you train year around for your Cyclocross races? What does your training entail? How long have you been riding a Cyclocross bike?
Answer: No, it’s very specific and I’m entering that zone right now. I try to simply ride my bike from the end of April or so through now (September) to keep the weight lowish, and to build my aerobic engine or base. Once real training starts it gets very unglamorous, basically I look at a little computer on my bike for about 2-3min at a time, 6 times. These are called intervals and they really suck. But they work. I also mix in some type of running with my bike, like over at the dunes off the east side loop or anywhere with a steep slope. I also will break out barriers made out of pvc and try to hop over them. Silly stuff really but important come race day.
I’ve been riding/racing a cross bike for about 6 years now but have a long history of pedaling circles.
Question: What other activities/outdoor sports do you enjoy?
Answer: I really like skiing, especially with my family. They are a hoot to watch evolve athletically. I’m also getting back into rock climbing thanks to my oldest son Louden, and I think I could be more of a typical “sportsman” soon with fishing and hunting now interesting me. I recently finished a bike ride in derby canyon and at the bottom of the canyon were 5 hunters skinning a bear. I stopped and talked to them for about 20 min and watched. I started thinking I could do that on a bike or better yet, on an ebike with a trailer and a bow. I think that’s in my future.
Question: What kind of diet/nutrition do you keep while training? Do you have an off-season diet or regiment?
Answer: My diet/nutrition is nearly identical all year around. I geek out on nutrition and take it fairly seriously (just ask Kerri!). The only caveat is I probably eat a few more carbs during training/race season and maybe drink less beer (maybe). My diet consists of mainly organic meat and veggies with some fruit sprinkled in. I’ve mostly cut out all dairy, non-beer gluten and high lectin foods, like legumes and nightshades. Some of this is tragic for sure, but I’ve been experimenting with the instapot lately as it supposedly can destroy most lectins. Early results are positive.
Question: Can you give our reader’s a tip or trick for becoming a better rider? A specific food you like to eat while riding, or a certain activity you do before a ride etc.?
Answer: I’ll give conflicting answers, the first for the novice and the second for the more experienced rider.
For the novice: Ride more, especially off pavement. You’ve heard about the theory of 10,000 hours; well, I think it’s true, so the more riding you do the better you will become. Off-piste riding will also make your bike handling better and give you confidence.
For the experienced rider: Ride less, rest more. Rest is probably the most underrated part of being fast. I’ve always been a very good rester, which helps me when I need to be fast.
I actually like to not eat while riding if possible…it is possible. You can do things to help your body become fat-adapted, i.e. preferentially burning fat instead of glucose, and riding in a fasted state is one of them. I do this often. However, if I am going to eat something, real food, like a sandwich is fun and satisfying. I once had a leftover reuben sandwich in my back pocket for a road race.
Question: What has been the most memorable thing you have experience at your Cyclocross competitions?
Answer: Cleaning. Bikes, wheels, shoes, kits, gloves, etc. It’s unbelievable. Racing in horrible conditions is really fun but the cleaning is equally horrible. All cleaning aside, the cyclocross community is probably the most memorable part of the experience. It’s like a festival at every race; they have stuff for kiddos to do (including race), there’s food, beer, coffee and everyone is enthusiastic. And, it’s a really spectator-friendly race. Folks can easily walk around the course and see all the action. I can’t say that about the other racing disciplines. It’s just more fun.
Question: What is your favorite ride to do around the Wenatchee area and why?
Answer: Probably the Stemilt Loop for the road, Lake Creek trail for mtb and all the fireroads up Entiat for the cross/gravel bike. The riding we have here is really world class.
Question: What are your current Cyclocross goals for the future, or what other physical activity outdoor goals do you have?
Answer: My only cyclocross goal is to win the national championship this year. It’s in Tacoma in December. After that I’m not sure. My goal may be to not have any goals like this in the future. It’s hard to overstate the strain wanting to win puts on my inner circle. It will be nice to just enter a race without any expectations, or to just support someone else racing.
Question: What Cyclocross event is your favorite and why?
Answer: The national championship in Louisville last year is my favorite event.
It was really, really muddy. Laughably muddy. And the course was very difficult. People were falling all over the course and there were about 130 competitors in the race. It was so muddy that we couldn’t ride up a long hill on the course, so it was this death march of dudes carrying muddy bikes up a hill. There is often running in cyclocross but it is usually very short; this was minutes of running with your bike. This video clearly shows the mayhem.
And the race highlighted the importance and dynamics of each racer’s team. The reason racers have 2 bikes and extra wheels is because cyclocross races have a “pit”, where the competitors can put extra bikes, wheels, etc. They do this just in case they get a flat tire, crash and break something and for muddy days like this one. Every lap, all the racers who had an extra bike would come to the pits, give their muddy bike to their pit crew, jump on a “fresh” bike and then get back on course. The pit crew takes the bike to a bike washing station that has pressure washers and quickly gets rid of all the mud. They then make sure the bike is functioning properly, apply a little lube and wait for me to come back by to get a fresh bike. This is so important that there’s no chance to win that type of race without the support crew. It’s beautiful to watch (I think).
“Locally” the Woodland park cross race put on by MFG in Seattle and the Alpenrose races in Portland put on by Cyclocross Crusade are must dos. Great courses, big crowds, lots of competition and cool cities.
Question: What else would you like to share with our readers?
Answer: If you want to talk with me about cyclocross or any type of biking, come visit me at Mission Street Commons (shameless plug for the coworking biz Kerri my wife, and I started).
Also, besides my family I’ve had a lot of local help. I’d like to thank Scott Paton and Arlberg sports, Jason Jablonski and Set Coaching (the team I’m on), Evan Plews and Mic at Ridge Cyclesport and Dan at Full Circle Cycle. They’ve all helped me with one issue or another.