In a family who prefers cars and convenience, my Uncle is the lone cyclist. He gave me my first road bike and introduced me to the love-hate relation that exists between every cyclist and a massive grade.
Every year, my Uncle drags me out to watch one of the climbing stages of the Tour de California. Sometimes, we even heckle at more than one location, but for a few years we always cheered for the same guy.
Levi Leiphemier is a local hero. He wasn’t born in Northern California but we’ve adopted him as one of our own. Amongst his many accomplishments, he’s the three time consecutive winner of the TdC. He recently retired from professional road racing and now runs an annual Gran Fondo charity ride (October 5th), as well as dabbling in the occasional local race.
We noticed he was entering the Downieville classic on twitter and reached across social mediums for a little pre-race interview. So drop past the break to learn how fast he can change a flat!
What is the day to day riding/training schedule of a former pro road racer?
I love to ride my bike, always have and always will. After being a pro for 17 years I feel like riding hard and riding a lot is ingrained in me, it’s who I am. I’m not happy unless I get to ride on a consistent basis. All that being said, I don’t necessarily “train” like I used to when everyday was mapped out and everything was very specific. I still like to do long rides on my road bike but not day after day anymore. There are a few pros who live in Sonoma County so I like to go out and ride with them to stay strong. I spend a lot more time on my mountain bikes and jump in all the local XCs and dirt crits, I really enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to race a little on the mtb and now is my chance.
What sort of training regimen did you undergo to prepare for the classic? And why enter the all mountain rather than the XC race?
Do you have a favorite section or area where you’re hoping to save precious seconds?
Why did you pick your Stumpjumper 29er over the Enduro 29er?
Are you a water bottle or hydration pack kind of trail guy?
Come raceday, what supplies will you be carrying?
Downieville is notorious for destroying…everything. In a pinch, how fast can you change a flat?