Logan Owen’s Quest for the Rainbow Stripes. Post Rome World Cup Interview

Yesterday Logan Owen participated in his last race in Europe for this cyclocross season toeing the line at the Rome World Cup, the penultimate race in the series. Logan ended up fourth behind the seemingly unbeatable Mathieu van der Poel of the Netherlands, Bertolini of Italy and Budding of the Netherlands. Although disappointed with his placing, Logan currently sits in second overall in the series with one race to go. He has no plans to participate in the last race in the Netherlands instead returning to the US for a shot at his eighth National Championship in a row, some rest and more training and then a final push to the World Championships in Louisville, KY on February 2. We had a chance to catch up with Logan shortly after the race in Rome.

TdlCCycling: Logan, fourth place today in Rome, not what you wanted but still a good result, tell us about the race.

Owen: I was leading the first half lap, feeling really good. I felt I was riding the course well in the pre-rides in the morning and just feeling really good. I came into a section with a corner that had a bunch of slide marks in it that was different than in the pre-rides. It was all smoothed out now, no traction, just slide marks in it. I came into the corner, hit the slide marks, started to lose it then caught myself at first but then just kept going. It went all the way out from under me and just like that I was on the ground. It was stupid. As soon as I was back on my bike Van der Poel was already around the next corner. He just drilled it as soon as he got around me. He went so hard. The Italian kid [Bertolini], he didn’t stay with him but was able to stay close to him. He kept slowly losing ground to Van der Poel but he was, the Italian kid was really strong today. He had a good ride. So those two were gone and for a while then it was a group of seven battling for third. By the time I was able to get back up and get back to the front of the group Van der Poel had a considerable gap. The course was so fast plus add in the corners it was just difficult to move up and gain a lot of ground. Our group was basically racing for third by the first lap.

Budding was in the group, Yaanick Peeters from Belgium was in the group, Nicolas Cleppe another Belgium was in the group, all of those guys are really fast. Quinten Hermans was also there so there were a lot of Belgians in the group. Quinten was the only one really attacking. He would attack, we would drop guys and then come back together and the guys we dropped would get back on and this went on for quite a while. I was really tired by this point too. I had to chase really hard to get back to this group after I went down so for the rest of the race I was pretty shot. I had to go really deep to get back onto the group. I knew for the finale I needed to get in front of Budding before this chicane, single track section. It’s a big wide open sprint to this corner, chicane, off camber, you go across a horse track then a left there. All of this is super tight. I knew I needed to be in front before all of this and I was really focussed on being in front of Budding. We all sprinted to that corner through that wide open area. I was on Budding’s wheel and there was just no way I was going to come around him. He was really strong. I just sat on his wheel. I didn’t even want to come off his wheel that’s how fast we were going. He had me by the time we got to the chicane.

He [Budding] and I are tied on points now but I have the tie breaker for second in the overall.

TdlCCyling: So he will race that last race in the series so you will probably end up third overall then.

Owen: No fourth. Hermans finished seventh today. He has to get top seventh or eighth in the last World Cup to finish ahead of me and that is probably going to happen in that last race.

TdlCCycling: That sucks.

Owen: Yep. I think that I would’ve had to win today for him not to catch me. It sucks because that one mistake screwed the entire race today.

TdlCycling: Well, that’s bike racing.

Owen: (Laughs). Yeah, still sucks though. I felt that I had the legs today, I just f’d it up.

TdlCycling: Yeah, you just have to take something away from that. What’s the lesson? Sometimes you just have to back off, maybe not be so aggressive to the point where that aggression costs you.

Owen: Yeah, I was just pushing the pace at the beginning and I took the corner too fast and it was different from the morning practice run which caught me off guard and it was already too late and I was already going too fast and I was just like “oh shit….”

TdlCycling: Ok, well thanks for the recap. Good luck with the trip tomorrow back to the US. Rest up and we’ll touch base with you next week prior to Nationals

Owen: OK, thanks.

Logan Owen’s Quest for the Rainbow Stripes, Interview on his 2nd place in Zolder and Spending Christmas in Belgium

Zolder World Cup Podium

Logan Owen is back in Europe as he prepares for the Cyclocross World Championships on home soil in Kentucky this coming February. He has already notched up a win at an event in Namur and the day after Christmas he went one better than his third place in Tabor notching second at the World Cup race in Zolder. I had the chance to speak with him in the evening after the race. Here is that interview. 

A special thanks to our Belgium host mom from our November trip, Chantal Reynaert, for the photos from Zolder.

TdlCCycling: “You had a pretty big race today. Tell us all about it and how you did.

Owen: We did the Zolder World Cup today. My goal coming into today was to move up to second overall in the World Cup standings and I accomplished that goal by getting second in the race. It was a tough one. Van der Poel just rode away from us. I just decided in the beginning after that to cut my losses and play the tactical game and try to just battle for second. Going after him would have just been too much and possibly caused me to blow up which happened before. I fought with the kid I was tied with,  Martijn Budding, and a French kid and a Belgium kid for second today. I got away from them at the end and ended up second and moved up to second overall so things are looking good right now.

TdlCCycling: Tell us what is coming up for you this week. You are with Geoff Proctor and the Euro Cross Camp and you have some races coming up so tell us a little bit about those.

Owen: We are going to do a couple of Super Prestige races and the Bpost Bank Trophee. Those races aren’t my big goals but I will still go out there and try to get another win, see what I can do out there, try to have some fun and get ready for Rome [the next World Cup race].

TdlCCycling: Maybe try some different tactics in those races leading into Rome, see if you can crack the Van der Poel juggernaut?

Owen: Definitely. I am going to have to try a few different things, see what could work, see if anything can put him into an uncomfortable position and see if there are any chinks in his armor.

TdlCCycling: This is your second year spending Christmas at Euro Cross Camp in Belgium correct?

Owen: Correct. Being here has really helped me learn how to race my bike over here in Europe. It’s really made me…how should I put this, made me train harder, be more focussed on my training to do well over here and be competitive.

TdlCCycling: What did you guys do on Christmas? What’s it like to do Christmas away from friends and family? You are with your cyclocross family but take us through what you did yesterday.

Owen: We did some gift exchanges with the guys here. We all drew a name out of a hat and had a person we had to get a gift for and we all got gifts. My parents sent me with some presents in my bike case so I got to open those so that was cool. I got to Skype with my parents as well. It was a good atmosphere here with the Christmas spirit. We had a, built a little fake tree so we had that and put our presents under that and exchanged our gifts. It was good.

TdlCCycling: Ok, I know it’s getting late over there so I will let you go. Great job so far and keep it up.

Owen: Thanks and happy holidays.
Zolder start line.Almost Ready

Zolder finish