Fresh off a successful title defense at the Trans-Sylvania Epic
mountain bike stage race, Cannondale rider Jeremiah Bishop took a minute to
answer some questions for us.
In the exciting world of mountain bike racing Bishop has a
unique perspective. While being one of the top cross country riders in the
States and a legitimate World Cup racer, Jeremiah still finds the time and
fitness to compete in some of the biggest ultra-endurance races the U.S. has to
offer. He shared some of his insights with MTB Race News.
Read his full interview below.
MTB Race News - You are one of the top XC pros in the country but unlike most
of the top riders you also race long distance and stage races during the
season. Why? And why don't more of the top XC riders do so?
Jeremiah Bishop - That's their focus. I use the XC races for speed training
now and they still have the most exposure to the media for now if the stage
races get more media they will draw the top riders.
As for me, I am a stage race at heart; I always knew it. I would
thrive during the 7-10 day Tour de Burg. The two reasons I have hit a lot of XC
lately is to build the complete form it will take for Marathon Worlds and to
get my foot in the door for the Olympic chase.
MTB Race News - Do you think the two racing formats compliment each other or
make it more difficult to excel at one or the other?
Jeremiah Bishop - They compliment each other if timed properly but only to point.
Because of the explosive nature of the new shorter punchier World Cup format
you can't be on for both at the same time. I have put a lot of training
effort into high force pedaling and anaerobic capacity training. Because
I am naturally better at long distance, I can touch up on that as needed and
build in week 25-30 hour block to keep that game going. Also I have not done a
race over 4 hrs this year I would hurt in a 100 right now because I am focused
on a 100k Worlds.
MTB Race News - How do you train for a 7-day stage race and how do you modify
your training to be fast at shorter OXC and long distance races at the same
Jeremiah Bishop Ė Itís an art and a science.
I have a dynamic training plan that I have honed for years with
power guru Hunter Allen. I keep tabs on where I am using waypoints and testing,
then way-points needs work or if my top end needs work then we plan it. We even
have put together a few online training plans on traon-lineeaks.com
The ability to do both is shown by the top stage racers on the
road. Mountain bike stage races in the US the level is high but not fully
developed yet so I can prime my fitness with some stage race blocks a few weeks
out and thatís enough with shorter stages that these races have.
MTB Race News - Dating back to the American Mountain Classic you have won every
major MTB stage race in the country. How can you be so dominant when there is
so much uncertainty in a week-long MTB race?
Jeremiah Bishop - Luck and preparation and persistence. I pay attention to
detail, change tires frequently, tune and pick the bike I use carefully and
make sure to check everything twice. I learned a bit of that from Chris Eatough
about being methodical. My time in the bike shop also paid off because I am
fast and creative in keeping my bike going when I do have a mechanical but it
all starts with picking durable equipment to start with.
I have a drive to win that gets me through the cloud of
fatigue and the pain of the race I think you need the killer instinct to keep
pushing when things go south.
MTB Race News - Do you have a strategy going into a stage race? How did that
strategy change at the Trans-Sylvania Epic.
Jeremiah Bishop - Yes. Always. I like these because they really reward smart
tactical racing. My plan at TSE was to hit it hard early because I was
not sure how good my endurance was, then I could take a backseat to the lead
group by only gunning for stage wins that would boost my GC. I was glad I saved
a little because I was in damage control mode after double flatting on stage 4!
Sager came on late race really strong so I had to watch him closely once
he swapped with Sneddon.
MTB Race News - On stage 2 of this year's TSE Kris Sneddon put over a minute
into you. Were you nervous losing time to a serious competitor like Kris?
Jeremiah Bishop - Of course. After breaking my chain I knew I did a great
job since I passed everyone else though. I just stayed calm and did my best.
MTB Race News - Do you see MTB stage races growing in the US?
Jeremiah Bishop Ė Yes, but only if they keep pushing to improving they need to
get more media and keep the entry prices low enough so they fill up.... it is
important to get outside sponsors involved as well to fund the growth.
MTB Race News - Going back to your time with Mona Vie/Cannondale Alex Grant has
been your teammate and sometimes your closest competitor at many of the stage
races you have won. What's it like having a teammate like Alex.
Jeremiah Bishop -Its great! Alex and I take turns at the front and if we get away then we can
split stage wins. At La Ruta 2 years ago I knew I could help him since my GC
chances where shot, its great having someone that strong in the races and he is
a great guy to hang out with too!
MTB Race News - Are you planning to race the Breck-Epic and Pisgah stage races
again this season?
Jeremiah Bishop - Not sure on Breck since the World Cups are going on and they
help improve my start for next years Olympic Qualifier World Cups.
Pisgah? Hell Yeah! I think I would skip the Olympics
if it was the same week.. Ha Ha Ha.
MTB Race News - There seems to be a shift from traditional XC racing to more
ultra-endurance style events throughout the country. As someone who
participates in both why do you think riders are more interested in longer
Jeremiah Bishop - Adventure... Itís why we are not roadies!
Backcountry Epic mountain bike stage races put the MOUNTAIN back
into mountain biking.
When was the last time you saw a log hop in a World Cup or
National??? Or river crossing, or hike-a-bike for that matter? Or climb
longer than a sledding hill?
Laps are good for spectating but scary big bike rides stoke your
sense of awe for the natural World. You feel like an ant when cresting
Wheeler pass at 13,000ft! Or descending a dried cascade into rooted jungle at
Pisgah with your eyes a big as saucers!
The other thing is these events have soul, there is a lot of
hanging out with great outdoors loving folks who like a good beer, spinning
stories and going really big in life and on the bike.
MTB Race News - You pulled out a prototype Cannondale Scalpel 29er at the
recent TSE. Tell us a little about the bike and how it handled the rough
terrain in PA.
Jeremiah Bishop - It was awesome on the Tussey Mountain ridge. It eats rocks for
breakfast but climbs really well due to all the work Cannondale did to make it
the stiffest 29 full-suspension out there!
MTB Race News - You are known for your bike handling abilities, especially in
the roots and rocks of the east coast. What is the trick to riding through such
Jeremiah Bishop - Practice; you have to pick your lines carefully and develop
your repertoire of body language moves and skills. Staying off the seat is
my number one tip for tricky east coast trails.
Thanks to Cannondale Factory Racing for supporting us in this
latest adventure. It was a blast.