Late last week we caught up with Ryan Trebon of LTS-Felt. He was coming off an up-and-down weekend at the USGP races in Louisville. On Day 1, amid the deepest field yet to race this season in North America, Trebon showed that he and Rapha-Focus rider Jeremy Powers are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. It was an impressive display of dominance by the pair, but Trebon was ultimately beaten in the sprint when he shifted a bit too aggressively. Day 2 was less a mixed bag – Trebon crashed hard in warmup, badly bruising his leg. Though he toed the starting line and raced to 10th place, cameras caught him limping up the course’s staircase each lap.
We talked with Trebon about his impressive season to date, Louisville and his injury, the partnership between him and his mechanic Dusty LaBarr, his plans for the rest of the season, European vs North American racing, and more.
Pavé: First of all, how’s the leg?
Ryan Trebon: Well, you know, nothing’s broken, nothing’s sprained, you know? I’m not like, injured, man. But I’m waiting for the swelling to go down. My whole leg is black and blue, crotch to calf.
P: You’ve made some comments about how you’re changing your plans for the season. Is that related to the knee?
RT: No, not really. I’ve been racing pretty well, feeling really good, so, I just want to keep racing. [editor’s note: Ryan elaborates on his new plans in Part 2 of the interview]
P: Yeah, so, you’ve been on ripping form this season – it’s looked like things have gone really well. Do you agree? And, what have you done differently?
RT: Yeah, the season’s been really good – I’ve just been trying to be competitive and race well; I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that, things have really worked out well up to this point.
P: What changed from last season?
RT: Well, sometimes you’re a little bit better than other times. It’s not like I wasn’t working hard last season. Sometimes you’re a couple percentage points off one direction or the other and it makes a huge difference.
But also, this year you know, we’ve done a good job of getting things done on time, which takes the stress away from the work. It lets me just focus on the racing. That’s a huge positive element of the program. Working with Dusty [LaBarr], I don’t have to worry about anything but showing up for the races.
P: How long have you and he been working together?
RT: Since, like, 2006 or 2007, but we’ve known each other since like 2004. And at this point, we’re good friends – we enjoy working together, we enjoy hanging out together. I trust Dusty a lot, and that’s a really positive thing.
P: You picked up a nice win in Cincinatti, part of a three-day weekend of racing. Was going after day 3 of a 3-day weekend a tactical decision? Did you decide to gun hard for that day, or do you just take each day as it comes?
RT: You know, Saturday’s course least suited my abilities. It was one of those flat and twisty grass crit type of courses. And for some reason, I just – I don’t know why, on Friday I felt bad, didn’t have good legs, I just wasn’t riding very fast, and on Sunday it was the same thing, and Jeremy was just a little bit better than me.
You never really know what you’ll get out of a day, so, it’s hard to plan for when you have a good day or a bad day.
P: Speaking of good days or bad days you had a great race at the USGP race, but you said a few things about a misshift in the sprint. Can you elaborate on that?
RT: That course, you know, it was pretty slow going onto the pavement, you come around this corner, it’s like a 180 from the grass to the pavement. And I wanted to, you know, get into the biggest gear I can sprint with, so I went from like the 46-19 all the way to the 11. I don’t know, I was going down the cogset really fast, and leaning through the turn and flexing the bottom bracket and everything…
P: So it was an eagerness problem, you feel, not an equipment problem?
RT: Oh absolutely, I mean, the chain fell off the front. Sometimes you make a mistake. I’ve had zero problems with the equipment this year.
It was a good race, though. There’s been a lot of good racing this year. In Madison, it was tight racing the whole weekend, and in Fort Collins, and Louisville. It’s nice when one person can’t ride away and put minutes into the field, you know, it’s better for the spectators, for the racers – it’s better racing.
P: Speaking of which, Powers and Johnson – no longer teammates. Does that change the dynamic of the racing? Or was that overhyped, the extent to which that mattered last year?
RT: Yeah, it mattered a bit last year, you know, I got a lot of second place finishes last year, it was tough. But even this year, if Jeremy was still racing with Cannondale[-Cyclocrossworld.com -ed.], I don’t think it would be a similar situation. Tim’s a little bit off his form, we haven’t really been racing with him anyway.
But you know, in cross, if you’re good, it’s not like road racing. Tactics kind of go out the window. If you’re fast you’re fast.
P:…which informs your strategy of going to the front and making hurt.
RT: Yeah, pretty much.
P: When you first announced that you were leaving Kona, you indicated the new program would target the 2013 World Championships in Louisville. Is that still the case? What’s the long view for LTS-Felt?
RT: Well, the fact that Worlds in Louisville is awesome for US cyclocross, and it’ll be a great event. But it’s not the be all end all – we’re not really basing the next two years on trying to go down there and finish where ever. We just want to race year-round and be competitive at all the events, instead of pinpointing one event.
I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket – I just want to try and be a good cyclist all-around instead of just for one day.
We’ll publish Part 2 of our interview with Ryan tomorrow. -Editor