Tag Archives: rapha focus

Jeremy Powers: Life at the Top of American Cyclocross

Jeremy Powers under the lights at CrossVegas. Photo by Motofish Images courtesy Emily Powers.

Jeremy Powers likely doesn’t need much introduction to The Bicycle Story’s readers. He is almost unquestionably the best American male cyclocross racer of his generation. Powers has won every race he’s entered so far this season save for his impressive 3rd behind Sven Nys and Lars van der Haar at CrossVegas. He’s been similarly dominant the last few seasons notching dozens of wins, two national titles, and a few USGP overall titles. Despite that, success in Europe has eluded Powers. He’s hoping to buck that trend this season and has made some radical changes such as quitting road racing and launching his new one man Aspire team to try and make that happen.

Off the race course, Powers is nearly as ubiquitous in American cyclocross. His popular Behind The Barriers web series evolved into a full-on cyclocross media company with live race coverage, analysis and more. His nonprofit JAMFund charity works with underprivileged cyclists in New England and is developing some of the best up-and-coming US cyclocross pros. Talking with Powers the week before he headed to Europe for the Valkenburg World Cup, it was clear that his success is not just the product of a huge engine and good handling skills (though that’s certainly essential). He’s taken a meticulous approach to all aspects of his career–training, racing, building a team, media exposure, partnerships, developing younger riders, etc–and it’s paying off. I spoke to him about his new Aspire program, his deep history in the sport, the challenges of Europe, what it will take to get Americans on World Cup podiums, the growth of Behind The Barriers and JAMFund, and much more.

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The Top Stories of 2012


If the Internet (or perhaps all of human history) has taught us anything, it’s that trends are very important to follow. And there is no more prevalent year-end trend than Top 10 lists. Newspapers give you their most popular stories of the year. Buzzfeed gives you the 40 most influential corgis of 2012 (it was probably difficult to narrow it to 10 influential pups).  And on the final day of 2012, The Bicycle Story gives you its top 10 most read posts of 2012.

The Most Popular Stories of 2012

1) Jacquie Phelan: The Godmother of Women’s Mountain Biking: Given her important role in both mountain bike history and introducing women to mountain biking, it is unsurprising that Jacquie tops the list. If you read just one interview from these 10, make it this one.

2) Tom Hopper: Rapha-Focus’ Master Mechanic: Tom is personal mechanic to America’s best cyclocross racer. Learn about his road to the professional pits and what it takes to succeed at the highest level of the job.

3) Presidents on Bicycles: A collection of photos from Presidents Day 2012 highlighting the long history of our Commanders in Chief riding (or at least posing) on bikes!

4) Ted King: Racing with the PROs, Advocating for Bikes: Ted King is an international pro tour domestique with the Liquigas-Cannondale squad. In addition to being one of the fastest American racers, he’s a proud advocate for cycling and the environment.

5) Steve Garro: Arizona’s Mountain Biking, Trouble Making, Frame Building Legend: Steve is another important figure in mountain bike history. The insightful interview covers the days of riding with his mountain bike crew The Mutants, his frame building, the accident that nearly took his life, and a whole lot more.

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Tom Hopper: Rapha-Focus’ Master Mechanic

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.

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Zach McDonald: Cyclocross, Mountain Bikes, and the Future of his Sport

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.

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