028: Jeremy Powers Interview: Back from the Promised Land.
I've been thinking a lot about process the last few days.
Putting the finishing touches on Embrocation Volume3. Good times are in the air. Its interesting that when I start to get in this mode everything else comes to a halt. I stop calling people back, bedtime comes before you know it, but usually its something like 4 or 5am. I also start fidgeting and sweating more, not sure if that's related though.
So, what I do is try to break up the screen time (that's time spent in front of a computer screen) with funny little games. Things like - cleaning up dog vomit (really happened-not my dog,) making tea, riding for hours outside and interviewing Jeremy Powers (also really happened.)
Returning 'home' from a recent ride I saw that I received an email from a one, Mr. Powers. Just a general checking in and remembering that I had a few photos of him from the recent trip to the ol' Belgium I goaded him in to answering a few questions.
Bam. And here it is.
ECJ: So, now that you're back [from Belgium], what is your initial feeling about the season?
J.Powers: The season was a smash. Our team, Cannondale / cyclocrossworld.com hit the podium at every single race it entered in the United States excluding one. Tim won the USGP, Jamey won the New England series, I cracked the Top 5 in the UCI ranking and Jamey and I made it to the front of a couple of European races. For me personally, I just want to continue to build on that next year.
Compare your racing in the States to what was going on in Europe.
Cross’ in the states is growing quick. I’m not going to compare cross’ in the United States to Europe, Just because cross’ has a culture and following that’s really deep in Europe and has been since the beginning of the sport it created, But the level of racing, the events and spectators in the states, is getting higher and higher every season, so things are working and its positive to watch and be part of.
How many years is this for you, going over to Europe?
My first Christmas -- cross’ worlds trip went down in 2003, I was 20 years old. So this is my sixth time.
I know you had been doing it for a couple of years back, as a junior, what has changed since you've been going over there?
I raced worlds in Czech republic in 01’ and not a whole lot has changed, the euro’s still go fast… I guess Belgium finally got rice milk and I can use my credit card at the gas station…that’s nice right!?
What goes through your head when you line up at a World Championship race?
A lot of things, this year, probably because I’m older (25), I realized how much the world championships means to me and cyclocross. It’s the highest honor cross’ has currently. That said, I want to make cross’ worlds a bigger priority of mine in the next couple years.
Was there a strategy going into it, as an American do you get together with Trebon, Page and others and make a plan?
No, we’re really not at that level yet, it’s a bit of dog eat dog for the moment and not enough guys are racing at identical levels. IE- One race Ryan or Jon are in the top ten and I’m in the 20’s and vice versa, so there isn’t really anyone to look out for like that.
I know that Cross isn't as team oriented as road racing, but you must talk to each other about some of it right?
Tim, Jamey and I all talk about how we race and what our plan of attack on a particular weekend, absolutely. A lot of tactics just play themselves out, at the end of the day, if someone’s going hard, the other guy is going just as hard so it’s really based on who’s tearing off legs on a given day.
Did you make any pals in the Euro Cross Peloton?
Ahhg. Every year I try to go out of my way to say hello and be socialable. It’s tough, I don’t speak amazing Flemish / Dutch, but all the dutch riders are cool and outgoing guys. Personally, I talk to everyone, even when they don’t want to talk, I say hello.
Or a personal favorite that you like seeing at every race? Stybar's Hairstylist, or Alberts secret 14 year old girlfriend, that kind of thing?
Boom is cool. He talks some shit to get everyone stirred and then throws down. Their really isn’t anyone I dislike. I talk to a lot of the riders from all the countries, it’s not how you may think, “ohg man those French guys stink, they never talk” One guy here and their may not be as outgoing, but it’s the same here in the states as it is over there. Some guys are chill and others are cocky.
Seriously, what they fuck is going on with Boom's Hair?
He’s Euro bro! You have to embrace it. That’s why I gel up the hawk for Europe every year, I gotta fit in ya know?!
Did you ever get to touch it, or did it ever whip you in the face while riding near him?
Nah. It was a bit of a rats nest!
Speak to the parking lot etiquette, do you think that having a huge photo of yourself plastered on the size of a ginormous RV is the way to go?
Hey. If having an escalade stretch made sense in Europe, they’d have it. It just has to do with being practical and getting the job done for the euro’s. Everyone in his or her camp can fit in RV, its warm inside, has a shower. It’s easy. If they didn’t put a picture of themselves on the side, what else would do you put on there?!
What kind of things did you do off the bike while in Belgium?
Ahh, we kicked it at the house a lot. I went to a bunch of coffee shops. Got some famous chocolates, I tried to go westvleteren abbey and get some beer from the most famous Belgian abbey in the world, but they were closed when I went. My girlfriend Emily was over for a couple weeks,I went shoppin a bunch. Ahg. I watched the entire box set of Entourage. Haha.
I know that for me it was all Belgian Beer and Beautiful women, but I'm thinking a hardman like yourself has to stay pretty celibate to maintain that professional decorum...
I just live like I normally would when I’m back home for the most part, emails, phone calls, training etc.
Every time I see you we talk about music and playlists. What have you got for me? What did you listen to while you were traveling around Belgium?
I just enjoy music and I like a lot aspects of their industry. The creative personalities, obviously the music itself, its just a passion of mine.
My favorite show / podcast is Smashtime radio with Clinton Sparks. It’s got new exclusive tunes, remixs, interviews etc. It’s great for me because I can download it and off I go with out having to put together a new playlist before each ride. And it’s free!
Personally I was surprised with how good the Belgian radio stations were at playing different and interesting stuff....
Yeh, the contracts are different over there and the rotation doesn’t seem to be as brutal! But, seriously. The belgies are the best at playing out a song over and over and over. Some songs are battered over there so bad, anytime I hear it, I just change the shit immediately.
Speculoos Paste? Best thing ever? Better than Peanut Butter?
Ohg. It’s good…really good. It’s not peanut butter…
I never figured out besides eating it out of the jar or on a rice cracker, what to put it on. It doesn’t really go with anything.
What other dietary concerns did you deal with across the pond?
None, Belgium really came up in the last couple years, they had all the little crap I wanted, like rice milk. Belgium caught on and my guts were happy the whole time I was there.
Have any spectacular meals, or were you cooking for yourself the whole time?
We always go to a couple great dinner’s. Ryan and I hit this place ‘poppy’s’ in Ieper which was awesome. And, Vincents in Izegem is always really good. I love to cook big meals, so I think we made some really good home cooked meals too.
And with that, who's a better cook, you or Trebon?
Me. Ryan doesn’t even like handling raw meat let alone cooking it.
Alright, here's the big one, the tough question. In your opinion (and I saw you race with the best of them while I was there and hold your own) what is it going to take for the Americans to be more competitive with the rest of the world?
More dedication from the everyone to race cross exclusively. No one can race 6months on the road bike and then 6 months cross’ and then go over and expect to be doing either discipline at the top of their game.
So I guess the problem is getting the money to pay the top guys enough to make a decent living where they can strictly focus on cross’
What's next for you? You mentioned that you were heading out to Training Camp with the Jelly Belly Team. Do you get a break from cycling ever?
I’m out of Tour of California. Danny (team director) said enough was enough and that I could take my break now and get ready for some races later in the season. It was music to my ears, I really needed this break.
Any big plans or team-ups going on for the year?
I’m pretty certain Cannondale is going to be back on board and I know cyclocrossworld.com will be happening, so it will be very similar to this past year.
Like a Dolce and Gabbana JPows exclusive eyewear?
You know anyone at D&G that can make that happen for me? Haha
Lill John Remix Collection?
Haha. LJ’s got his own line with Oakley I believe…so I don’t think he’ll be rockin them!
I know you're cooking up something and I want to know what it is...
My dream is to promote cyclo cross to the masses and have it become a household sport. I hope in the next couple years cross’ can have the spotlight with television and try to grow things and showcase how fun and exciting cross’ can be!
Leave us with the best Playlist that you've going on at the moment:
1) Girls on the Dance Floor feat. (24/8) - The Far East Movement
2) Rockin that Shit - The Dream
3) I'm In Miami Bitch - LMFAO
4) Blame it feat. T-Pain - Jamie Foxx
5) I Get It In - 50 Cent
6) Crack a Bottle - Emminem, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent
7) Feel It - DJ Felli Fel (too many 'featurings' to type)
8) Universal Mind Control - Common
9) I Love College - Asher Roth
10) Turnin' Me On (feat Lil Wayne) - Keri Hilson (I always have time to type Lil Wayne)
11) Beautiful - Akon, Colby O'Donis, and Kardinal Offishal (that's not a typo)
12) See You in My Nightmares feat Lil Wayne - Kanye West
by j. dunn