CX Athlete Feature: Stephen Hyde
Stephen Hyde, 32, has been on the UCI Cyclocross Worlds team since 2015 and won the Pan American Championships in 2016 and 2017. Last year, Hyde crashed into another rider breaking his sternum at the World Cup opener forcing him to push his early season goals to the side. He was able to make his way back on the ProCX podiums in no time and go on to win his third USA Cycling National Championship. Hyde has been racing for Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com since 2015 and is also a part of the U.S. National Team. Hyde talks more about his racing career and what we should expect to see from him and the future of the sport.
How did you get into bike racing?
I rode BMX for a long time and somehow I made my way into bike shops in high school. I eventually did a local MTB race on a junker of a bike and knew I loved it. I didn't make my way back to racing for a couple of years after that but never put down bikes.
How was racing the BC Bike Race this year with Kaitie Keough?
Oh man! I loved every minute of BCBikeRace. The crew behind the scenes really blew my mind. The riding was absolutely amazing as well. I cannot wait to go back. Kaitie and I did the race as a co-ed team but this year I will be returning solo to try and give it my go for the overall.
What has been the most memorable race of your career?
This is a hard one. There have been so many epic and amazing days in the saddle. Maybe it was last year at Nationals? The conditions were so hard and the course was so beat up and gnarly, it was so wrecked from the stampede of racers through out the week that we had zero lines left and there were a lot of land mines to avoid. All the while I was unsure of my fitness and abilities having been sidelined for so long that season. I had just gotten married a few days before and felt like all was right. I never gave up and just kept pushing, it all worked out. I crossed the line with my family and my new wife crying at the finish. It was pretty unreal.
You’ve had your fair share of injuries in the past couple of years. How were you able to recover and come back so quickly?
Yeah, I have. It hasn't been fun. I have had to dig pretty deep to keep up with it and find the speed at the end of the day. My whole life I have been in one injured state or another and my racing career has been about the same. I have really been lucky to have some wonderful and talented people in my corner, who have helped guide me and keep me on track. There are others in my life who also have a much harder life than I, and that gives me some amount of strength. When it's time to push I think about them and I think about what I have and why I am here doing this.
Now that you’re on this National Champ winning streak, is there any added pressure wearing the Stars-And-Stripes?
There's pressure from day one! Haha. There's always a target on my back, no matter the race. Wearing the RWB all the time is basically the Bat Signal for half-wheeling and elbows. Everyone wants to be the one who beats the champ. The good part about the National Champs race itself, is that when we line up that day, I am no longer the champ. No one is. We all start without it. So, I can't LOSE it. It's not mine to own. One only gets a title for 364 days a year.
What’s next for Stephen Hyde?
Great question! Haha. I have been able to make some good goals based on the World's returning to the US. I just missed the start line in Louisville in 13'. I started racing elite that year and didnt make my way onto a roster till the year after. I am looking forward to getting off road as much as possible over the next few years. I love MTB racing and could see my self doing more events like the Epic Rides and BCBikeRace.
How has the National Team support improved this year and helped your career because of the MudFund? How do you think this will impact the future of the sport?
The National team has really changed over the last year. I mean, when I first started on it, it was just a plane ticket. Now we have direct support from Jesse and everyone behind the scenes. Camps, travel and just knowing that someone is there that cares about what we are doing. We have more of a conversation around what is needed and how the team can help riders, so it's an ever changing dynamic. I think it will get better and better and I hope that it continues to grow as our sport grows here on home soil.
What is your ideal vision for the future of cyclocross in the U.S.?
This is easy. My vision is that we build our sport at the elite level on our own terms. We look to our riders, our races as worthy of our efforts. I hope that we see a future where riders have a say in how our national series is run and that series becomes so strong that riders want to make a career out of it. I hope that one day soon our riders and teams will look at the end of our domestic season as fulfilling and that heading to Europe after word comes as a bonus of added competition and travel and not "the next step". Why can't we have a program that other countries look to for success? Why can't our teams and sponsors look forward to an epic story line of US racing? I hope that we have control over our own destiny instead of taking Euro hand scraps. I am not an isolationist, I just simply want the US to keep moving forward with the progress that we have made on the grass roots level. We've followed our nose to where the entry fees are coming from and narrowed in. We need to make the top of our sport worth watching and worth showing up for. I think we will see that in my career. I hope we do anyways. Otherwise, we lose.
To cheer on Stephen throughout the year, follow him on Instagram @stephenhyde and Twitter @stephenthyde.
Developing young talent and supporting our National Team would not be possible without the help and support from the USA Cycling Foundation's MudFund. If you would like to be a part of the future of American Cycling, consider donating today: https://www.usacycling.org/foundation
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Cyclocross Nationals is around the corner! Don't forget to register today! https://www.usacycling.org/events/national-championships/2019-usa-cycling-cyclocross-national-championships