Adam Switters (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) recently sat down to discuss his victory in the recently concluded Cal Cup , the Winters Road Race and introduces us to team mate, Brandon Trafton
C.I: Congratulations on winning the Cal Cup this year. How does it feel?
Switters: Winning the Cal Cup really helped to reaffirm the choice I made at the beginning of the year to focus on the late season races. I knew I was going to be taking a large mid-season break (getting married and honeymoon), so I’ve been focused on doing well in the Cal Cup since September.
Of course, saying you are going to do well versus actually performing well are two different things. The biggest thing for me has been proving that I’m much more than some skinny climber. I managed to win races in out of breakaways, pack sprints, and even a solo breakaway. I’ve really focused on being much more of an all-rounder rider, and I think it’s showing.
C.I: Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase had a great August run, not only with the Cal Cup win. Wins by Eric Riggs at Dunnigan Hills, Brandon Trafton at Vacaville GP and James Laberge at The Giro di San Francisco (to name just a few standouts) capped an amazing month for the team.
Tell me a little bit about how you approached the end of the season, both as a rider and as a team.
Switters: The team always wants to finish the season strong. It’s a great end of the season moral booster and I think it will really help motivate the guys to train hard through the winter. It’s also great for that late season search for sponsors as well.
We managed to win six out of the ten Cal Cup races with four different riders. I think that says a lot as to how this team is evolving. I was more proud of Trafton winning Vacaville than any of my own victories. You won’t see any egos on our team. Everyone on Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase is a team player, and it’s humbling to see the sacrifices each rider will make for team at the expense of their own results.
C.I: Is there one race or performance that stands out above the others?
Switters: Winters Road Race was a real standout race from both a team and a individual perspective. Midway through the race, we were a little behind the 8-ball and had lost a few riders due to flats. Both Trafton and Nick Newcomb had been in the early break and had spent a lot of energy in the early part of the race. When Jonathan Teeter (Marc-Pro Strava) went up the road, both Trafton and Newcomb went right back to work at the front. Despite both riders being in the early move of the day, they both knew they had a job to do, and rode themselves out of the race to set up Dana and myself. I know both of them almost came to a standstill when they finished their final pulls for the team. There was no way we could have won that race without their hard work.
C.I: You had to put your season on hold due to an injury at Redlands. How do you feel that this affected your season overall and did it motivate you to finish so strong at the end?
Switters: I knew I was taking a break in May and June, but my crash at Redlands took me out of most of April as well. I had to take almost 3 weeks off the bike due to a broken hand.. Although I was able to ride some of my favorite races like Wente and The Berkely Hills Road Race, I had nowhere near the form I was hoping to have.
Come July, I had a lot of motivation to train hard when most people were starting to tire out. I knew I had good form coming into August, but I had no idea I would be riding this well. Each race was confirmation that my hard training had paid off and helped to boost my motivation for each subsequent race.
C.I: Losing Daniel Holloway mid-season to the pros might have been a crushing blow to any team, but the addition of Brandon Trafton seems to have negated the loss and possibly made the team stronger. He seems to have come out of nowhere.
What can you tell me about this young talent?
Switters: Brandon is a rider that I’ve been racing against for the last four or five years, but haven’t know especially well. I recently moved to Sacramento, and now we live 2 miles apart and train together on a regular basis. Brandon is a diesel engine, pure and simple. He’s incredibly talented and an extremely hard worker. He’s been an integral part of our team and he fit right in with the guys. I’ve been trying to take him under my wing, and I think it’s really helped. He has more confidence in his abilities and he’s learning to be a smart racer in addition to being strong.
C.I: Speaking of mentoring, Mike’s is fairly split with younger riders and more mature riders (some with experience in the pro ranks)- how does the team manage to balance the desire to be competitive and win races while simultaneously focusing on bringing up young talent?
Switters: The number one goal of the team is to positively represent Mike’s Bikes. Part of that is winning races, and part of that is developing young talent. We’re very lucky to have a very large pool of young, upcoming talent here in Northern California and we’ll be bringing on a few more U-23 riders next year. We try and pair some the younger, less experienced riders with a rider like Roman, Riggs or myself during races. We’re very lucky in that some of the young guys on our team, like James Laberge or Brandon Trafton, are also some of the strongest guys in the area.
C.I: What’s up next for you? For the team in 2014?
Switters: Between graduate school and running my own coaching business, things are starting to look a little busier for myself. While I do intend to keep racing, I’m hoping to take on a little more of a rider development role with the team next year and really help some of the young riders, whether it’s through coaching, strategy, or even driving the team car at races.
The team has big plans for next year. Every year, the team strives to improve upon the previous season. We’ll be looking to get that 1st National Championship for team as well as focusing on west coast stage races and criteriums. Expect to also see us at more NCC races and races like Nature Valley GP. We would love to get a podium at a few NRC races as well.
Adam Switters is a former professional cyclist and currently races for Team Mike’s
Bikes p/b Incase. He is a USA Cycling Certified Coach is the owner of Switters Coaching.
You can check him out at his website http://www.SwittersCoaching.com/.
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