Maybe it's because he lives in Utah and we wouldn't run into him all that often, but Alex always seemed like a mysterious Jedi warrior who'd show up at races, kick everyone's butt in the nicest way possible, and then vanish as quickly as he appeared. We've since gotten to know him better and have been looking forward to helping everyone else do the same.
Congrats on your win at the Grand Junction Off Road, Vail Go Pro Games, and being a new father! You’ve had some big changes this season, were you surprised by your results amid all the changes?
Thanks! Yes, this spring has been really up and down for me on the bike. Eleanor was born in early April and as first time parents we got our butts kicked a bit. We both got sick about a week after she was born, Sammi and I had fevers, chest congestion, etc. It was pretty ugly for a week or two there but we got better and Eleanor never got it. April was pretty much a wash on the bike for me but I started to find my legs again in May. I was just so stoked to be out riding and feeling normal. I wouldn't say I was surprised by my results, I knew I was riding really well and I wanted the win in Grand Junction. I love riding desert terrain and the course suits my strengths. I prefer a technical, physical course that requires a mix of fitness and finesse. This one had been on my radar for a while, and everything came together for me on race day.
You also have your own business? Tell us about that?
I co-own a business called Gear Rush in Salt Lake City. My partner is Bart Gillespie, a retired XC pro who is beginning his enduro career. Look for him crushing regional enduros! Bart is also a physical therapist at the Veterans Hospital here in Salt Lake. Anyway, Gear Rush is a consignment shop that specializes in cycling and outdoor gear. We sell primarily on eBay and serve as an outlet for the local outdoor community to turn over their no longer needed gear to a new user. We ship 50-100 orders a day all over the world. We have a great crew of employees at the shop and we couldn't do it without them. Anne Southerland is our store manager and she keeps the ship afloat and moving forward for us.
How do you find the time to do it all? Have you had to make changes to your training?
It's a real challenge and juggling act at times for sure. What I have found is that I have to make everything count. I have limited time to devote to family, the business, and training so I need to budget the time, plan it out and make it count. I have to treat my training as part of my work day. It also helps that Sammi is patient with me and recognizes that when I am out training I'm not just out having fun cruising around riding. It's work, I have to punch in and do the training. I have had to find a new balance and honestly having a kid has been a huge eye opener for me and I think given me a different perspective on life. Overall I think it will improve all aspects of my life from racing to work.
You’ve been with Cannondale for several years now, how’s it been different with the addition of Sho-Air?
I have been with Cannondale since 2009, and could not be happier with my arrangements over the years. The bikes are amazing and the people are awesome. When Sho-Air came on board in 2013 it just breathed an incredible amount of enthusiasm in the program. Scott Tedro and Sho-Air do everything first class, and you can see that with the evolution of the team, the US Cup series and now the Ridebiker Alliance. The commitment that Sho-Air and Cannondale have made to US mountain biking is huge.
You compete at a couple different styles of events, what is your favorite? What is your favorite race and why?
The bottom line for me is that I like a good mountain bike race. I like courses that require skill and fitness, and those can come in the form of XC's, endurance, stage races or enduros. There are also courses in each of those genres that are not real mountain biking. I think it is important to be able to race multiple distances and excel in all types of terrain.
What events do you have coming up next? And, which one are you focusing on at the moment?
Next up I have a couple of big XC events, then some endurance races later this summer. I have The Crusher in the Tushar and XC nationals in July. I'll try to defend my title at the Breck Epic in August, then go for a 7th straight Park City Point 2 Point victory in early September.
Do you know how much longer you would like to keep racing?
As long as I still feel fast and in the mix. Once I start to feel like I am slowing down I'll dial it back a bit, but I won't stop racing entirely. Maybe I'll become an enduro racer once my xc and endurance career winds down.
How long have you been racing?
I actually started racing in the mid-late 1990's back in New England. I raced until I was 18 back there then took four or five years off to do other stuff like snowboard and travel. I picked it up again in 2004 and got my pro license at the end of 2006. I think I did my first race in 1993 so technically 23 years now!
Did you participate in any other sports before cycling?
I used to play a lot of pond hockey as a kid. I also skied, snowboarded and played soccer. For a lot of years late teens through my 20's snowboarding was my main focus.
Do you cross train? What is your favorite cross training activity? Winter or Summer
I do. I love to hike in the fall. In the winter I backcountry ski, snowboard, and skate ski. I hit the gym a little and run a little in the off season.
Did you grow up in Salt Lake City?
I didn't. I grew up in Richmond, VT, a small town about 20 miles from Burlington. I moved to Salt Lake in 1998 to go to college and snowboard. I haven't left so I guess I liked it!
Alex started to look hungry at this point, so we let him get back to focussing on recovery ahead of the next day's race.
Thanks for taking the time with us, Alex!
Images by Dave McElwaine.