Q&A with Eric Marcotte


With a Stars-and-Stripes jersey that came to a surprise for many, 2014 U.S. Pro Road National Champion Eric Marcotte’s healthy lifestyle and daily approach proves that this title was no fluke. USA Cycling caught up with the champ to discuss diet, movies, his worst job ever and how life is different now that he rides with new colors:
Has your life changed since winning the Stars and Stripes jersey?
As far as schedule-wise, it hasn’t changed, really. We had our plan about what I would be doing this time of year with North Star Grand Prix, last week I did Saguenay, before that was Philly—we kind of had this all planned, regardless of what was happening. What has changed is the amount of people (approaching me) and the attention from it. Everybody that has been along the way as far as who I’ve trained with, family and friends all reaching out to congratulate me and support me—that’s definitely changed. I think hopefully for the team, it gets us more and more exposure to keep building the program and make it to bigger and better races.

Eric Marcotte wins the sprint for the Stars-and-Stripes in the men's road race
Eric Marcotte celebrates as he wins the Stars-and-Stripes jersey at the 2014 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships, May 26, in Chattanooga, Tenn. (photo by Casey Gibson)
At what point did the National Championship win sink in?
Honestly, I feel like it was the next day when I was back home in Scottsdale (Ariz.), and I went out for a ride right before work. I think it all just sort of set in there because you’re riding on the roads where you were doing all your training. It’s kind of symbolic. I don’t know. I think that’s when it sort of set in that it actually happened.
What was more difficult: training for National Championships or training to become a chiropractor?
It’s not hard when you’re doing something you love. It’s just this lifestyle that you’re living, and I love both of the things that I’m doing. The whole journey of getting that degree and becoming a chiropractor, and getting that win, that whole process to do that—yeah it’s hard, but it’s enjoyable at the same time.
How does food and what you put into your body play into your everyday lifestyle?
I’m super, super conscious about what’s coming in (to my body). It sort of varies depending on the energy expenditure that’s going on. Obviously during that eight-hour day I’m going to be eating a lot more calories than if I was doing a recovery hour ride. The food that comes in is always real food, not processed or coming in a package. I enjoy that process. It’s a lifestyle to be healthy,
You started cycling later than most. What were you like physically before you became a cyclist?
Before I was doing cycling, I was this big muscle-head lifting guy that was ripped and thought I was healthy. When I got into chiro school, I realized it was so much more than body fat and muscles showing on overall health versus sustainability. I got into the whole food movement as far as eating locally and growing your own stuff. I think a lot of this is lost with that connection to food and where it comes from, especially for us as athletes. Because we’re relying on so many calories, we often think, ‘I’ll just eat all these calories and be able to do it again.’ But you don’t think about where that comes from.
What do you do to get away from cycling on an off day?
I like to go out on little hikes and be outdoors with my dog and kind of unplug; I always have my phone on do not disturb or airplane mode. (It helps) just getting around people who aren’t into cycling and humbling yourself—maybe you just had a good result and your focus is on that. These other people that aren’t into cycling may have no idea what just happened, and it just reminds you that maybe it isn’t world- or life-changing for them. It keeps you grounded and realizing that for everybody else, life goes on and that you’re not the only person here. It makes you enjoy the experience more rather than being completely inundated with it and then burn out on it.
What was the last book you read?
Warrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho.
What’s your favorite movie?
I’m always a comedy guy. Remember Planes, Trains and Automobiles? It’s so ridiculous. I think the funniest part is when they’re in the hotel, I think it’s the first hotel, and they’re just laughing so hard—you can totally tell that it’s a real laugh, and they’re just having a good time on set.

Eric Marcotte on the top step, flanked by Travis McCabe (l) and Alex Howes
Marcotte on the top step of the podium, flanked by teammate Travis McCabe (l) and Alex Howest the 2014 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships. (photo by Casey Gibson)
What advice do you have for a 10-year-old out there who wants to start riding?
At that age you just don’t want to get burnt out with it. Especially young riders, 10-18, are going to get so fit so fast, that they might already get to that potential that they’re just eeking out one to two percent gains in their early twenties. They’re not making much progression and they may miss out on being a kid. I think that’s the biggest thing. Even if they really are enjoying that bike, just continue to try other sports and not make it their everything at that age.
What’s the worst job you ever had?
It was literally my first job. I worked at a grocery store in upper Michigan, so it’s super rural. In Michigan you get recycle money for bottles. Well we didn’t have a separating machine where the guy just dumps them in and it would spit out a receipt for money or something. I had to freakin’ separate all the beer and glass bottles, and it was downstairs in this dungeon with no natural light coming in. I never drink and still don’t drink, but seeing that stuff with the smoke and cigarette butts—it was so bad.
If you couldn’t cycle, what sport would your pursue?
I want to stay healthy long-term, so a lot of the stuff that I do is basically because of the things that I see in my clinic with these endurance athletes. They have a lot of imbalances in their bodies and it becomes detrimental even though they are fit at one thing. I would do a couple different things. I would do maybe cross-country skiing out on the snow, I would definitely incorporate some running, but it would be more trail. Just basically a whole bevy of things to enjoy being outdoors.
How does being a chiropractor affect your cycling, and how does your cycling affect being a chiropractor?
They both affect each other. Cycling affects my chiropractics because the level that I’m at now (as a cyclist), I can’t see as many patients. I can’t serve as many so I don’t see many new patients anymore because I couldn’t give them the care that they deserve. What I see in practice with the healing and recovery, it affects my cycling because I am much better off the bike than others are with respect to what I choose to do to recover from that training. We may all do the same three-hour ride, but I will be better suited for the next 24 to 48 hours to recover.
Do you ever splurge on anything unhealthy?
No, I never really ever eat unhealthy. To me, there are just so many good foods that taste great and are just as satisfying as some snack, treat or sweet. I just don’t have that desire anymore. As you clean your body and diet up, you don’t—I never crave that stuff anymore. As far as the offseason, in between races or if I have a little block of rest, I’ll probably still move my body to keep my blood flowing. I’ll do some yoga, do some balance work, maybe some hiking, but it’s so easy and so simple.
What kind of goals do you have as a competitive cyclist now that you have won the Stars-and-Stripes jersey?
It was an accomplishment that was greater than I ever expected because of the people in the past that have worn and won the jersey. What I tried to do in Canada was just get another stage win or another road win with the jersey on to help validate my winning it, (proving) that it wasn’t just a fluke or that I just got lucky in the circumstances. I certainly did, but I was fit enough to do that. I never really set specific goals like, ‘I’m going to win Philly, I’m going to win Nationals.’ I just try to get as fit as possible so that when I’m in these races, I have the best shot of having the best result at any given moment. With this jersey, I want to do it proud, wear it with pride and make people happy that I got to be the one who wore it for a year.

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This Article Updated June 17, 2014 @ 09:37 PM For more information contact: