Stages Athletes In Stars and Stripes

Stages Athletes In Stars and Stripes

Stages National Champions

Four Stages athletes won nine national titles across three cycling disciplines in 2021. Congratulations to John Croom (Track), Erin Huck (Cross Country Mountain Bike), Macky Franklin (Single Speed Mountain Bike), and Mia Deye (Track) on their national championships. These Stages-supported athletes train and race with Stages Dash and Stages Power and train indoors on the StagesBike SB20 Smart Bike.

John Croom
Erin Huck
Macky Franklin
Mia Deye

John Croom - Track Cycling

Stages track cycling athlete John Croom (Contravans) won four track cycling National Championships: Omnium, Pursuit, Team Pursuit, and Elimination Race, and finished with bronze in Scratch Race. Croom also beat the track record in the individual pursuit qualifier finishing in a time of 4:27.438

What were your expectations/goals heading into the weekend?
My goal was to win every event I started. My expectation, I had no idea, because it had been so long since I had been on the track. I really didn’t know what to expect with other people training and what was going on. Honestly, with the Olympics going on, some of the best track cyclists weren’t there, which was a bummer. It was still cool to attend the event. The last time I raced on a track was 2019 in Detroit and I broke my collar bone. I think COVID helped me come back, I broke it in December of 2019 then COVID happened. My first race back was mid-South and I thought I was going to have to ease back into track cycling. The moment COVID happened every track in the country was closed, and in Colorado Springs where I live our track is still closed. 

You did Unbound gravel and some big gravel adventures this year. How do you balance track specific training with other cycling disciplines and riding for fun?
Main goal is to go to Olympics in 2024 on the track. With the recent resurgence in gravel cycling and mountain biking and “alternative racing” By alternative racing I mean doing multiple events as an athlete, that’s what you have to do to chase your dream in some regard. A while ago I  lost an opportunity on a road team, so I had to figure out what I was going to do. I’ve always wanted to race gravel and kind of give it a shot, so I started doing it and just had a blast. I had a lot of fun, and it was a good learning curve. It was a good supplement for the road races I was missing because I wasn’t on a road team. A lot of us on the track use the road to supplement training, that’s what Unbound was. Unbound was specifically training for me. When it comes to doing a training race, you should race to win because you want to do what you do in training on race day. So that’s why I use the gravel to supplement a lot of that stuff. It’s an opportunity to try something different, take me out of my element, and I also have fun doing it. The people there are amazing and it is a great experience. 

How do you prepare for the short intense efforts on the track when a track isn’t always available?
The SB20! I use the SB20 for my standing start training. After gym workouts I come home and jack it up to the highest resistance and do a standing start on the smart bike. I also do some altitude training on the SB20 in the altitude room at the University of Colorado Coloardo Springs. So using the SB20 is where I get the structured training and work in. 

How are you using power data to help with training and racing?
I’ve been using Stages Link to upload all my power data. I’ve been utilizing it mainly for air pressure and aerodynamics in the pursuit, and trying to figure out the amount of power I’m going to have to ride for the amount of time. And really what I’ve been using that I’ve found to be really key is cadence. Trying to figure out what a comfortable cadence is and then holding that cadence. Then trying to figure out the amount of power that I need to hold that cadence. For example, when looking at gear choices and trying to decide between 61x16 or a 63x16. You look at the time that you want to ride and the speed that you want to go and the cadence that you’re going to need to do as well as the power you’ll need to produce and you try to see if it is capable. 

For the pursuit, I averaged 530 watts at 111 rmps for 4:27 seconds. And I did that twice in a day, which was really cool. In the Omnium points race, I was looking at the power file to figure out how many sprints I have in the tank on a good day. In the Omnium points race I hit above 1200 watts for 10 seconds 15 times during the race. So I use power to figure out energy expenditure, especially with how compact the days were with six races total.

How does it feel to stand on top of the podium four times in the National Champs jersey?
It’s honestly very humbling. It almost doesn’t feel real, you start to worry about everything. Was everything I did perfect? Do I deserve this? Are they going to redo the math on the points race and take it away? Especially in a race like the omnium where it is really a consistency over four events, and you go into the points race with the amount of points that you accrue over the first three events then you race off those points. It is just wild, so you have to remember who is in 5th, which you wouldn’t think you need to pay attention to. But if they lap the field and win a sprint in the process, that’s 25 points and all the sudden they are leading the race. It was really nerve wracking trying to make sure you did everything right. The entire top five in every race I won, and every event I did could have won. So for it to go right for me four out of the six times is insane. Very humbling.

What was your favorite moment or memory from the weekend?
That my wife and my family were there. With how life and schedules work that isn’t always possible, so for all of them to be there at the same place was the best memory. And I had one of my best nationals to date, to have that all combine in one weekend is like winning the lottery.  

How did you celebrate afterwards?
Went to a local dinner here in town and had breakfast for dinner. We truly celebrated the day after nationals and I got a pedicure. I had never gotten one before and I think we’ll make it tradition now. I wanted the full effect, so instead of clear I got purple sparkle toe nail polish.  

What’s coming next?
There’s three UCI race weekends here in Pennsylvania, so I’ll stay. I’ll pack up and head home in August to race Leadville and Steamboat. Then I’ll be back to Pennsylvania to race for Rider of the Year. I’m also trying to schedule a European block in the fall.

Erin Huck - Cross Country Mountain Bike

Tokyo Olympics qualifier and Stages mountain bike athlete Erin Huck won the cross country mountain bike National Championships in Winter Park in July before heading to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Huck originally planned to start conservatively, but changed her approach at the last second. “I was like, ‘OK I’m just gonna be cool the first lap and then wrap it up from there ’cause I wasn’t sure how I felt,” Huck told VeloNews. “Then, when I was on the start line, I was like ‘eff it,’ I’m all in from the beginning.”

Huck last raced U.S. nationals in 2018, after missing 2019 due to injury and the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID. 

“It had been three years since I last had the chance to fight for the honor of wearing the Stars and Stripes jersey,” Huck said on Instagram. “My first ever mountain bike race was in Winter Park and to win a National Championships here is a dream come true. I was motivated and determined to absolutely race my heart out.”

Huck finished 2:15 ahead of second place racing with Stages Dash and Stages Power

“That was a day I’ll never forget,” Huck said. “It is an absolute honor to be the 2021 XC USA National Champion.”

Macky Franklin, Single Speed Mountain Bike

Stages mountain bike athlete Macky Franklin took home the single speed mountain bike national championships this month. Franklin trains and races with Stages Power, Stages Dash and the StagesBike SB20 Smart Bike.

Hear what Franklin had to say about his race:
“I had a great race, rode well and felt strong, despite some quad cramps on the last lap. As expected, the race started out fast and I was able to hop in with the front group of four. We put a gap on the rest of the field by the top of the first road climb and then Sam Vickery and I were able to pull away on the single track climb that preceded the main descent.

From that point on, it was a race between me and Sam. The farthest apart we ever were was 10 seconds. I crashed at the top of the descent on the 3rd lap, but I was able to claw my way back up to him on the initial climb of the 4th lap and we rode the rest of that lap together and came out of the single track onto the finish straight together.

This is where things went wrong. I went to pass on his right at the same time that he looked to his right and, as we all do, swerved slightly to the direction he was looking. We collided and both went down HARD, only 100 yards from the finish line.

I got up, realized my bars were extremely twisted, yanked them straight-ish and finished the race. It wasn't until I was at the finish line that I realized Sam wasn't with me anymore.

Turns out he'd hit his head when he crashed and gave himself a mild concussion. He was still able to finish, but it definitely wasn't the way either of us would have wanted the race to end.

Despite the rough ending, I'm really pleased with the effort and where my fitness is right now. And it was a true battle with Sam -- we were very well matched on both the climbs and the descents and it was really down to that last sprint.”

Mia Deye - Junior Track Cycling

Stages Junior Track Cycling athlete Mia Deye (Star Track Cycling) won three national titles at Junior Track Nationals in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. Winning gold in the Match Sprints, Keirin, Junior Team Sprint, and taking home bronze for the Elite Team Sprint.

When did you start track cycling?
I started around four years ago, I used to be a mountain biker and I would race for NICA and raced for the Pennsylvania high school league PICL. I went to a velodrome about an hour away from my house and met Mandy Marquartd there, and that’s how I got fed into it. Meeting Mandy and watching the races and getting really inspired. 

What were your expectations/goals heading into the weekend?
The only expectation of myself was to be happy with any kind of performance that I had. Just go and race my heart out and see what happens. I was really surprised how well it worked out.

How do you use Stages Power data in training and racing?
I’ve been riding Stages Power for 3 years. It has really been essential in riding. You track numbers in gym lifting and on indoor smart bikes, but when you’re actually on the bike is the most important place to have it. Having that has been a light in the tunnel. It really shows where your weaknesses are on the track and using that to your advantage you can get a lot stronger.

How do you prepare for the short intense efforts on the track when a track isn’t always available?
Training in the gym has been really essential. It is the second key thing that you need for riding, using the trainer indoors. A lot of power and rpm work throughout the year goes into getting ready for nationals.

How does it feel to stand on top of the podium in the National Champs jersey three times?
I can’t lie, It feels really good. It just shows you that there is always more work to be done. We’ve only had a few days off and I’m already back training.

What was your favorite moment or memory from the weekend?
Winning the sprints. It was a really emotional moment, for a long time I had no idea why people cried after a raced, after they won or had a good performance. But after the race and I really put everything into it, it was really emotional. That was a really memorable moment for me. Getting off the bike, my legs were so tired I fell off, just crying realizing that I had completed a goal. 

What’s coming next?
Winning the Kieran and qualifying in sprints has gotten me a spot at Junior Worlds in September, after that I’ll be doing Collegiate Nationals. I’m also heading to college at Colorado Mesa University. 


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