The first of our many Q&A formats (in the Ask An Expert category) finds us interviewing one of the most well-known coaches in Texas, David Wenger.
David Wenger outsprints Rashan Bahati to take the USA Championship. Image from USA Today.
TXCX: David Wenger! Congrats on winning the U.S. National Criterium Championship this year. It’s a pleasure seeing a Texan in the Stars and Bars.
DW: Thank you! I agree it is fantastic that Danny Parks is the US 15-16 Criterium champion. Incredible solo victory. Yeah Danny!
TXCX: Whoops. Yes, it appears the great state of Texas has more than a few champions this year. Good call.
When we mentioned (on Twitter) that you’d likely become the silhouette in our logo if you raced CX, you replied that you’d wear a gorilla suit and a bikini. Was that a promise?
DW: I prefer not to mince my words. Let’s clear the air. I’ve been training very hard this year for CX season. My vocal cords are strong for heckling. My calves are herculean for leaping with toned forearms for banging pot with wooden spoon. I have been training in the heat to familiarize myself with conditions experienced in CX races for vigorous spectating in a heavy gorilla suit.
Caroline (Little Package Blog) does her best to distract the boys in Portland. Image from addictedtobicycles.blogspot.com.
TXCX: OK, we’ll buy that. We need more hecklers and cowbell. You mostly race on the road, but you’re from the Midwest, so I know that you’ve raced cross before, yes?
DW: Oh yes. It was a right of passage as many folks from our Miami University cycling team, the first-year student initiation of a CX race. I entered on a MTB and got smoked, but had fun with my average HR at 198 for an hour. The next year, I ended up with some top-5s on my road bike. Being young and foolish, and a bit overzealous with my aggressive tactics as a 19yo, I had it set in my mind that CX was about the hardest thing on a bike that one can do. The training was super fun and something I’ve long enjoyed, but the racing and post-race vomiting just didn’t suit me as much as going for primes in criteriums. However, I bought at CX bike to ride around with my buddies on their training rides. Good friend Ian Dille now races on that amazing Bianchi Axis, one of my few remaining mementos of my college days.