Thursday, October 18, 2007

Get to know our Racers: Josh Snead

As one of the Elite men on the HRS Rocklobster team, Josh Snead is showing good form and solid results for the season already, racking up 4 wins and a handful of podium finishes. If you have been following Josh's history (as I have traveling with him a few times over the years) you will know this is a new year for him as he steps back from chasing the UCI points and focusing on the NCNCA top dog position. This past weekend on Oct 14th Josh won the new Sacramento NCNCA CUP series event for the second time this season.

We got a few minutes with Josh and asked him some info on how things are going. READ ON....

Josh Snead on the attack
Photo from Sacramento series. Permission to use photos By Mark Adkison
Copyright 2007 , Hors Categorie Photography - All Rights Reserved

RL: Earlier this season you were sporting a thick mountain man beard. Is this part of your game plan to get into your competitors heads to make them think you went Rocky Balboa on them and trained in Russia or something?

JS: I don't really know why I grew that silly thing. It was pretty sweet I guess, but I just think I'm the kind of person that just looks weird with a beard. Maybe that's why it seemed to get a lot of attention. Other guys have beards and nobody calls them Santa Claus! I guess I look like kind of a dork no matter what so it was good for a laugh.

RL: What are your season goals this year as compared to last year?

JS: I wanted to do as many races here in Nor-Cal as possible this year, and hopefully win some. I didn't race at all over the summer so I wasn't sure how fit I'd be able to get without that road racing base. 2 years ago, I raced well (12th, 14th finishes) at a few USGP races and was top 20 at nat's so my goal for last year was to better those accomplishments. Things didn't go my way and I was pretty unhappy at the end of last year. I didn't race at all after that and I just did other stuff over the summer to let myself find motivation for cross season this year. It was a good decision because the mental break combined with the training I did has left me feeling fit and excited for the races!

RL: How has the racing changed in the past year, new competitors, old ones getting stronger, some folks leave?

JS: There is a few missing guys- Haven't seen BJM, AJM was back for a minute but he had an accident and he's out again. No John Funke this year or much of last, I haven't seen Chris McGovern this year. No Clown yet (Wicks), but I bet he'll show up in Nor-Cal before long.

Justin Robinson is riding well and he's really hard to beat because of how well rounded he is. I expect he'll
get faster as the year goes on so he's basically our main competition since he's not leaving town much this year. When Chance Noble comes up he's a good teammate for Justin and another tough challenger, as is his Dad Mark. Cameron Falconer often plays a part in the race as well.

Our team is the new local force in the men's A races. Aron Odell is back after not racing last year and I'm real glad he's on our team. He showed on saturday's CCCX that he has the condition he needs to win against the best guys in our area. Dave Wyandt was great there as well, and he would have won that Fairfax race if he hadn't lost his chain on the last lap. He's riding strong now and has shown his fitness in several races this year after bad starts or mechanicals. On top of that, we have lots of other riders in the A race grabbing spots throughout the top 5 and top 10 (like Aaron Kereluk and Rob Evans).
It's the same story in the A womens race (Kerlin and Carey) and we have top riders in most of the other categories, men and women. We will try and win as many races and series overall victories as possible.

RL: Whats up with your racing Rig, did you change it up at all this year?

JS: It's pretty much the same as last year. The biggest change has been the switch to Challenge tires from the Dugasts I've been using for the last few years. The Challenge tires work great and they're tough, they're the best tire for this area.

It's hard to improve on perfection, I love my bikes!
From a mechanical perspective, our sponsors are hard to beat. Chris King, Paul brakes- these are parts that last a lifetime and I would buy these parts even if they weren't sponsored to me. Shimano shoes, Mavic wheels and Sheila Moon clothes all fall into the "I'd buy it anyway" category as well. Easton Scandium tubing is the best material for a cyclocross race bike, period. It's fun to be on product that I really like!

RL: Your leading the NCNCA Cup Series with 2 wins for 2 events, thats got to feel good. Whats your comments on it?:

JS: It's a new series and it fits my goal for this year- get wins in Nor-Cal. I really hope I can race well in all the different series, so I'll pursue the overall win in this series.

RL: Last year you were flying all over the country to race for UCI points. This year your staying more local, has this changed how you are racing at all?:

JS: It's a lot more fun racing here. I can usually line up at the front and race for the win. That doesn't happen at USGP races for a guy like me... Maybe a top 10 could be possible if I got lucky and had the best day of my life (after getting the points needed to have a start position within sight of the front...) ,
but not the win.
There's hard competition here, but it's more like 5 or 6 guys that are roughly my level or better rather than 30 or 40 guys in a USGP that are at or (way) above my level. I can't always win around here, but I can nearly always be in a position to try for it. So far this year, I've been on the podium at every race I've finished.

David Wyandt and Aaron Odell help insure that Josh gets the gaps and ride away.
Photo from Sacramento series. Permission to use photos By Mark Adkison
Copyright 2007 , Hors Categorie Photography - All Rights Reserved

RL: You got a pretty solid crew backing you up at the races, and taking shots at wins when your out or down from mechanicals. Does this take the pressure off of you to know these guys are there?

JS: Any of us can win on any day. We just get the races started, and see what we can do with whoever ends up in the front. I've had a couple wins now as a result of racing as a team with these guys, but there will be plenty of days when I can work to help Dave or Aaron towards victory. There's plenty to go around!

RL: Any tip for newbie racers to take home with them?

JS: Doing races is the best way to get better at cyclocross, just do as many as you can and try to learn something each race.


JS: Schlitz.

(I prefer King Cobra myself)

Thanks again to Mark Adkison for the great photos!

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