We checked in with Nate the last few weeks about his 2012 season. He started the New Year off right with a victory at the San Bruno World Championships (aka San Bruno Hill Climb.) Going to be fun to watch him blow it up this year…
How did Christmas work out for you this year?
I think the coolest cycling gift I got this year was a pair of trail-running shoes from my girlfriend. I enjoy running and strength training as a means of supplementing my time on the bike, and some grippier shoes for off-road use will help encourage me to spend some more time getting a good workout on the trails around here.
Your a runner? That sounds like blasphemy!
I ran cross country and track in high-school, and really loved it. I kept running and cycling throughout college to stay fit, and I always enjoyed trying to get faster as a runner during that time, even though I didn’t compete while in college. I don’t think I’ve ever taken more than a week or two off from running or cycling since the spring track-season during my freshman year of high-school, except once when I was out for 2 months following a bike accident half-way through college
So how did you get started cycling?
I first got into cycling half-way through high-school, because one of my running friends raced mountain bikes and got me into it for fun and cross training. He sold me his old race bike, and I rode it 2 or 3 times a week to supplement my running. I enjoyed it and never stopped riding, even though I never rode more than 3 or 4 times per week until late in college.
You started 2012 with a bang… does anything from 2011 stand out as highlight moments?
It’s hard to say with certainty what I feel has been my best performance, because each season that I’ve raced, I feel like I’ve had days where I felt I was at my best at the time. I do know that I’ve gotten a little stronger each year, and probably it would have to come down to the 2011 Mt Hood Stage Race. In both road races and the time trial stage, I felt as though I was at my best and raced well.
Where do you go for support in reaching your cycling goals?
It depends on how you mean the question. I have gotten support from my teams over the last few years, both the guys on the team and the people who ran them. Definitely it makes things easier when you have good friends with whom you are able to train and race, and who provide moral support. It also helps to have a team ease the financial burden of cycling, and in some cases, introduce you to people or experiences you might not otherwise get. In both cases, I couldn’t choose just one person. On the other hand, I’ve always been self-coached as a cyclist and derive most of my motivation from a desire to do my best, which is probably the primary reason I’ve gotten as much as I have out of myself thus far.
And now you are going to be on a domestic UCI team, Kenda/5-Hour Energy with a spot racing with a bunch of other big time NorCal guys (Mach, AJM, KILL’UM..)
There will be a lot of really good experience and talent on the team this coming year. I’m looking forward to riding with the guys on the team and having Frankie [Andreu] with us. I’m sure we’ll have really great direction from him. I’ve ridden with Frankie in the follow car before, and look forward to that next year. I know everyone will do a great job. I’m also looking forward to getting to know my teammates and racing with them. I hope that I can use my abilities to help our team do well.
And Kenda/5 Hour Energy should be on the cusp of getting into the Tour of California, is that on your list for the year?
If I end up riding the Tour of CA with my team this year, I’ll do my best to do whatever Frankie tells me to do or will help my team. That being said, my best chances to support my teammate to do well or to do well myself may be in the climbing stages or the time trial. So, I guess I may be following the break of the day, some of the climbers, or my minute-man, depending on the day.
For those that don’t know you, you made a big mark in the climbing stages at the Oregon stage races this year, do you have any favorite NorCal climbs us use to get ready?
They’re all good in their own way. Hamilton is a good climb and it’s fun that it has a fairly remote feeling and gains so much elevation. Tam is pretty and challenging, especially since it changes grade so much. But, probably Diablo is my favorite, because it’s long, has a great view, offers 2 routes up the mountain, and is really accessible to me, so I get to train on it a lot and can incorporate it both early or late in my long rides.
As a mountain goat you must get to see some beautiful settings – do you have any favorites?
That’s a tough one having spent time in a lot of cool places… I really enjoy riding in the Sierras around Bishop, the mountains around Bend and Silver City are really nice, I visited Hawaii for the first time this December, and the mountains of Colorado are great. I’m not good at picking favorites, but I think Bend or the Colorado mountains would be my preferred place for a vacation that included road and mountain biking, and probably some running on the side.
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