Friday, March 24, 2017

USCR's Betsy Baker Talks With Up and Coming Team SmartStop's Travis McCabe

Today, prior to the start of Stage 4 at the USA Pro Challenge, USCR had the opportunity to talk to a new face in the peloton who just happens to be having a very good season so far for a 24 year old who currently resides in Tucson, Arizona. Travis McCabe has been a member of Team SmartStop since 2013 with previous stints with Elbowz Racing (2013) and Landis Cyclery (2011-12).

Travis McCabe

2013 was a very good year for Travis with results such as becoming the Elite National Criterium Champion, top three finishes at Redlands Sunset Loop, Joe Martin Criterium, Joe Martin Stage and Nature Valley Criterium. In his stage races he won the Menomonie Stage at the Nature Valley Grand Prix and was second on the Mt Bachelor stage at the Cascade Classic. 2014 has just continued the upward trajectory with very strong showings at the Cascade Classic, which included winning the GC KOM and placing second in the GC Men's Sprint, first in the Northstar Grand Prix Criterium, second in the USA Cycling Pro Road Race & TT Nationals behind teammate Eric Marcotte, and the list goes on. Travis McCabe is making steady and upward progression in his career as a road cyclist.

USCR: Considering that you were raised in Prescott, Arizona (elevation 5,400'), how did you find the climbs in yesterday's Queen Stage up to Monarch Pass?

Travis McCabe (TM): In a word? Hard. It is harder at this altitude so here in Colorado Springs where it is 6,000', I am comfortable, but when you are at 10,000'+, it doesn't matter who you are, you cannot breathe, you cannot do anything. Yesterday's race was so aggressive, that we should have seen the signs that nothing was going to go away. We kept trying but nothing was working which took its toll on the four of us in the break. That meant there was no one there to support Rob (Britton) or Julian (Kyer) on the climbs. It didn't really go as we wanted it to but we have Julian sitting in the top ten in GC prior to the start of today's stage. That is huge for a 2.HC race.

USCR: Yesterday in the post-race press conference, Tejay van Garderen (Team BMC and current GC leader) said that it was obvious that nobody really wanted to defend yellow which meant that it was harder for the breaks to succeed. Now that BMC is holding the yellow jersey, one would presume that their team would want to protect the yellow. Do you think that breaks will have a better opportunity?

TM: Yes, I think so. BMC races smart, intelligent so they know who needs to be in the break and the time gaps to bring them back. Tejay has a pretty solid lead and I think that TT in Vail will solidify it for him. The breaks are likely to go but I don't believe that they will stay away.
Today's stage is a sprinter's stage and some of the teams like Cannondale and maybe Hincapie and Optum will want to control it a little bit more. I believe that it will come down to a bunch sprint.

USCR: Looking into the future, if you could win any race, at any time or place, which would it be?

TM: Right now, right here, today. We are going for it today, we are all motivated.

USCR: In Aspen, it looked as if it were a really difficult course despite the fact that it wasn't terribly long.

TM: The course was difficult, it was a lot of positioning and altitude was the biggest thing. Me personally, I was in good position for the last KOM but I came off in the last 200 meters because as soon as you redline, you just cannot recover at that altitude. It feels like you are having an asthma attack. I feel like that at 7,000' and above, for someone like Kiel Reijnen, who is a fantastic rider, it suited him perfectly. The lower elevation today will be a little bit better today for most of us so we shall see. It is definitely different racing than NRC and domestic racing. We are doing our best to stay with them.

USCR: Your team is doing an admirable and very respectable job racing in this peloton.

TM: Yes, they respect us but it is just a different speed and a different atmosphere from what the team is used to racing against.

USCR: So it is the next step up for the team?

TM: You bet.

USCR: What is the next race?

TM: Another Medalist event in Canada, The Tour of Alberta. We will have a week to recover. I will go home for two days and see my girlfriend whom I haven't seen in five weeks.

USCR would like to thank Travis for his time. As a stage race progresses, especially when it is held in such rarefied altitude as the USA Pro Challenge, it is really appreciated when a rider takes the time to speak with us.  USCR wishes Travis nothing but great racing!

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