Tom Hopper working for Garmin Sharp. Photo from VeloNews.
Mechanics are unsung heroes of bike racing. Most people recognize the critical role they play in a rider’s success (it’s tough to win if your bike falls apart on your breakaway). But how many of us could name the mechanic supporting Andy Hampsten the day he attacked over Gavia Pass or the guy working the pits for Jonathan Page when he took Silver at Worlds? Good mechanics are perhaps most critical in cyclocross where harsh conditions and hard racing frequently result in destroyed derailleurs, flat tires, and worse. Tom Hopper is a mechanic for the Rapha Focus cyclocross team. In this interview he discusses what it takes to be a successful pro-team mechanic, his history in cycling, innovations in cyclocross technology, and more.
Posted in Interviews, Cyclocross, Mechanics, Racing
Tagged Cyclocross, zach mcdonald, rapha focus, jeremy powers, tom hopper, garmin sharp, garmin slipstream, adam myerson, jonathan page, professional cycling mechanic, louisville 2013
Amy at the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium. Photo by Mat Howie
Note: This interview was conducted in May 2012. In October 2013, Amy was hit and killed by a truck while on a training ride in Belgium. It was a tragedy that rippled through the American cyclocross community. I’m just glad I was able to capture this glimpse into her life and career. The Amy D Foundation was launched in the wake of her death to support young women racers.
When Amy Drombroski gave up ski racing for a new found love of bike racing in 2006, she didn’t mess around. She won the U23 Cyclocross National Championship her first full year of racing. In 2009, she took the U23 National title in cross country mountain bikes and then, just a week later, took the title on the road as well. Now, Amy’s spending her cyclocross season in Europe, chasing world cup titles and learning to race in their deep, fast, aggressive fields. We talked about the ups and downs of Amy’s short but full cycling career to-date, how she earned the nickname “Cross Diva,” the growth of women’s cyclocross, and more.
Photo by Wil Matthews. Source: Rapha Focus.
Zach McDonald is a cyclocross phenom. The 19-year-old from Bainbridge Island, WA has only been racing for a few years, but already has two national titles, has podiumed at a world cup in Europe, and is racing as a professional for the new Rapha Focus team. I talked to Zach about balancing the demands of life, school, and professional-level racing and his experiences racing in Europe and America.