Meet Cycle-Smart Athlete Erin Faccone!
This week, Cycle-Smart caught up with Erin Faccone in the middle of her European racing block. We asked her about her experiences with Cycle-Smart, her racing trip, and more.
CS: Who is your coach and how long have you been with with Cycle-Smart?
EF: I joined the Cycle-Smart family last June and I'm coached by Adam Myerson.
CS: What do you do for work, and how does it impact your cycling?
EF: I work for an investment consulting firm. Basically it's my job to evaluate the non-investment aspects of hedge funds. If you've heard of Madoff, it's my job to make sure our clients don't end up in funds like that (knock on wood). Not at all cycling related, but I love the problem solving aspect of it, and I think that part carries over. I'm really fortunate that my company is flexible with me - I am able to work remotely often in the fall when cyclocross travel is at a peak, and I was really fortunate to get this two week block off to come to Europe. During the rest of the year there's lots of riding at either 5am or 5pm to accommodate a pretty traditional work schedule.
CS: Tell us about a proud or breakthrough moment.
EF: One of my most notable "results" of last season came at the Green Mountain Stage Race circuit stage. While I was certainly proud of the result, I'm more proud of my resolve. On lap one I was struggling. HARD. Each lap brought a sprint for the start/finish points, into a soft uphill, then into a punchy climb. Attacks on the climb had me fairly certain I wasn't going to finish the race, that I'd be dropped and soloing alone off the back in sad-town. I thought about something Adam and I discuss often, which is the idea that "it can't stay this fast forever". I dug in to survive the climb the second time, then was able to actually recover before the third lap, where I felt great and took advantage of a sprinting opportunity. That was definitely a highlight last year, and a reminder to keep pushing.
CS: How has Cycle-Smart made a difference for you?
EF: The Cycle-Smart family is amazing. I've known Adam for years before hiring him, and I've always been impressed by the degree to which he's a student of the sport in addition to being an athlete. Adam is really detail oriented, which helps me elevate my own approach to match. One thing that really stands out is how I never get a workout without an explanation of why that's what I'm doing and what we're hoping to achieve. Beyond the physical work, Adam is probably the most experienced racer in New England. During crit season, we do the workouts to get me to the finish, and he tells me from experience how to play the courses to be successful. Even on the days where I haven't been able to finish as strong as I've wanted, he hasn't yet been wrong about how the end would play out. His knowledge of all things beyond pedaling is an immeasurable advantage. And I think that approach is pretty pervasive at CS; my Team Averica teammates are coached by Al Donahue and report the same detailed orientation.
CS: You're in the middle of a five-race block in Europe, your first time racing there. Tell us how it's going!
EF: Oh man, it's been awesome so far! To be honest, I had a bit of an imposter complex about coming over here. I mean, these are the people I watch on TV all fall - going to the grid alongside Marianne Vos and Sanne Cant in her rainbow stripes is pretty surreal! But everyone's been really welcoming to us. The courses are unlike anything we have at home - last Saturday we raced around this crazy kids' waterpark. The course was almost entirely sand; fine, gritty sand that packed into ruts you had to hit for the turns. Sunday we raced in deep peanut butter mud that actually required the same - hit the rut or run. Except if you ran you might lose your shoe. I'll admit to being pretty psyched out by that. The fans are amazing - crowds are huge, and they're all really serious. So many of them studied the rider list for the races and cheered for us by name. Erin in a Dutch accent sounds WAY cooler.
Candidly, it's been a real test of my abilities. The penalty for mistakes is really high here; everyone is technically talented, and they will fight you for spots whether you're at the front or back. The courses are challenging for different reasons than at home. I think the "Euro courses are harder" story is a bit unfair. Granted, I haven't seen the World Cup courses, but I wouldn't call these courses harder per se. Just really different. They're narrower, with less leeway in the turns; the racing is really aggressive; and the conditions are different from what we have at home. There are no roots or rocks - you can run pressure super low for traction and not worry so much about flatting. As Adam told me "the earth is actually different" - like, you can't actually prepare for these courses at home because the actual ground is so different. Belgium is pretty flat, so Sunday's course had man-made punchy climbs. It's a testament to their course construction abilities that races are still so hard, and feel really punchy, despite no elevation change.
We have two more races this weekend, then back to the states. This trip isn't even over yet, and I'm already looking forward to next year!
Thanks Erin, and congratulations on your season!
Race to Strong Finishes in European Races
Julie Wright: 27th, Elite Women
Erin Faccone: 41st, Elite Women
Stephen Hyde: 33rd, Elite Men
Michael van den Ham: 34th, Elite Men
Hansgrohe Superprestige Hoogstraten:
Julie Wright: 29th, Elite Women
Erin Faccone: 42nd, Elite Women
Michael van den Ham: 31st, Elite Men
The Myerson Line Podcast
Episode 11 with Phil Gaimon is now posted.
You can find that and all past episodes at the Wide Angle Podium Network.
Follow the podcast on Twitter at @TheMyersonLine.