There’s one thing we want you to know about Evan.
Beginning 2016 he will be the “coolest” cyclist in the pro rankings while training in the CA heat. This is no marketing hype. It’s an objective, measurable fact. Evan will experience up to a 20 degree lower skin temperature than any cyclist riding alongside him in the scorching heat. If you don’t think that will be a competitive advantage then stay tuned and see what happens with, “A Cooler Way to Ride.” ™
Interview With Evan
[ZZ] Evan, it’s only February and you’ve already have two training camps and one stage race, La Méditerranéenne under your belt. How’s the new season and team feeling right now?
[EH] We had a bit of a rough start over in France, but other than that the team is great. Both training camps were a success. Everyone seems super fit and motivated to race.
[ZZ] Rally finished in the top ten, eighth place in fact on the TTT at La Med. Tell us a bit about that stage and experience. Were you guys pleased with that result starting out the 2016 season?
[EH] Yes, I think it was a good result for us given the caliber of teams we were up against. It’s hard to gauge a result like that because it’s so short of an effort plus it was raining. I think we’ll just get better and better in the other TTTs coming up soon.
[ZZ] Looks like RALLY has a busy race schedule planned between now and through March. Five events over five weeks with Chico Stage Race coming up next week. How many of these are you riding in?
[EH] I’ll be doing a lot of racing. I actually just won the Snelling Rode Race and will be at Chico Stage Race this weekend. Then I’ll fly over to Europe for a couple stage races, the Istrian Spring Trophy in Croatia March 10-13 and Coppi Bartali in Italy March 24-27. I’m not sure exactly yet what’s in store for April and May.
[ZZ] We’re planning to be in Chico for the Chico Stage Race. Can you give us any insights on what to look for or expect?
[EH] This will be my first time competing there so I’m not too sure. Hopefully another Rally victory though!
[ZZ] You had pretty good results last year at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado riding for Team SmartStop. What are your thoughts after hearing the Pro Challenge was cancelled for 2016?
[EH] It’s obviously disappointing. It’s a great race that I really enjoyed doing last year.
[ZZ] Do you have a specific race in mind that is your focus for this year, like maybe the Amgen Tour of California?
[EH] Yes, the Tour of California is the biggest goal on my radar right now. National Championships will also be very important right after that.
[ZZ] Personally we love the new team name RALLY CYCLING and the bold ORANGE colors. So tell us are you going to match your Spruzza to your Diamondback bike or the RALLY orange kit? [FYI we are planning to make an orange accent Spruzza.]
[EH] Maybe a little bit of both! One of the cool things about Spruzza is that it’s super easy to put on and take off your bike and the water reservoir is interchangeable. So you can create a variety of different looks and colors.
[ZZ] With a new team and sports director do you have any significant changes this year in your training program of strategy?
[EH] I switched to my current coach, Jesse Moore, last July so my winter training this year has looked a bit different. I’m doing a lot more varied workouts, but still following a progressive plan building up to the bigger races. So far I’m really happy with where I’m at on the bike both physically and mentally. Hopefully I can turn that into improved performance and results in races.
[ZZ] It’s been great working with you last year and hearing how “A Cooler Way to Ride” has improved your training and recovery during the long hot summers. Do you see anything new this year as far as using Spruzza to beat the heat this year?
[EH] I think the biggest difference will be just already having my experience from last Summer/Fall. It’ll be nice to come into the Spring/Summer with a knowledge of how Spruzza works and what I can do with it so I can really maximize my training as soon as the weather heats up. I hope to use it a lot more this year and will probably start getting some friends and teammates using it once they see how effective it is.
Interview With Evan
Spruzza: Evan give us a quick summary of your 2015 racing season.
Evan: I started with a small UCI race in the Dominican Republic then did the traditional US calendar including Redlands, Tour of the Gila, Tour of California, National Championships, and Philly. After Tour de Beuce in June I had a little break before finishing the season in Colorado and Alberta.
Spruzza: You rode for two years for Astana in Europe. How was the European experience compared to Team Smartstop domestically?
Evan: The season is a little longer going from Febuary, or even January, all the way through October. The races are usually a little longer and harder in Europe. Racing domestically is a little more comfortable because you don’t have to deal with a language or culture barrier.
Spruzza: When we first met in June 2015 you mentioned not being all that pleased with the year so far. How did you feel you did on the second half of the season?
Evan: That’s correct. I really turned it around in a big way. I was very strong in Colorado, but was mostly working for teammates. In Alberta I had a chance to ride for myself and took advantage of it getting a 10th and 5th place on the 2 hardest stages.
Spruzza: Smartstop ended up in third place at the USA Pro Challenge this year. I’m sure the team was pleased with that result. Were you all surprised or disappointed with the performance?
Evan: Yes, Rob Britton finished 3rd overall. It was a huge result for him personally and the team as a whole. I don’t think it really came as a big surprise though because he had a great season leading up to that race and we all knew he had the fitness and motivation going in.
Spruzza: How did you feel about your individual performance at the Pro Challenge?
Evan: It was a little frustrating because I was in great shape, but didn’t quite have the confidence I needed to take advantage of it. Some of it was out of my control with me needing to support Jure in the sprints and Rob on the climbs, but I still think I wasted a couple opportunities.
Spruzza: I think you, individually ended up in 12th place overall at the Tour of Alberta. It looked like a brutal race. Tell us about that experience.
Evan: Yes, it was really hard mainly due to the weather. Stage 5 was probably the most cold and miserable I’ve ever been on the bike. There was freezing rain all day and a handful of dirt sections that were super muddy that made for a lot of chaos in the peloton. Overall, I had a great performance though climbing really close to the top guys on the key stages. It was just during the stage 1 TTT that we lost a little bit too much time and kept me out of the top 10 overall.
Spruzza: You mentioned just before heading to Alberta that you felt “in the best shape” of your life. What was it that got you there? Any new training techniques or gear?
Evan: Basically just a lot of hard work. I had a big break in the summer to prepare specifically for Colorado and Alberta and I really took advantage of it. I switched coaches and spent 3 weeks training at altitude in Mammoth Lakes by myself to prepare which I think worked out perfectly. Of course, Spruzza helped me quite a lot to cope with the extreme heat we always get in Sacramento as well.
Spruzza: I’m sure you were somewhat disappointed to hear the sponsors for Smartstop backed out this year. But you’ve landed in a good place with Optum Kelly Benefits for 2016. What are your thoughts about racing for OKB?
Evan: Yes, of course. SmartStop was a great team and I’m sad to see it end. But I’m also really excited to be moving on to Optum. I think it’s one of the best domestic teams and I’m looking forward to getting to know all the staff and riders and hopefully winning some races together.