|Logan placed third at the World Cup in Plzen.|
If you’re not familiar with the name Logan Owen, you probably will be after the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships coming to Louisville, KY, at the beginning of February.
Owen is the most dominant junior cyclo-cross racer in the U.S., and a real contender to win the junior men’s race at worlds. At the close of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup season on Jan. 20, Owen was ranked third among juniors men, behind Mathieu Van Der Poel and Martijn Budding of the Netherlands. His world cup race results were:
5th place in Tabor, Czech Republic
3rd place in Plzen, Czech Republic
5th place in Koksijde, Belgium
2nd place in Huesden-Zolder, Belgium
4th place in Rome, Italy
Add to these results another impressive first-place finish at the 2013 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships earlier this month in Madison, Wis., and you begin to understand why eyes around the world are watching this racer.
Owen, who is 17 years old (racing age 18), lives in Bremerton, Wash., and rides for Team Redline. As a senior in high school, Owen takes his schoolwork with him as he travels to ’cross competitions across the U.S. and Europe. “I’m still taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes and I get good grades,” says Owen. “My teachers are really helpful and accommodating of my schedule.”
No struggle to juggle…
Owen is probably used to juggling his life around his riding—he started racing BMX with his dad when was just 4-1/2 years old! He raced BMX until he was 12 and, in the process, earned three world championship titles in the amateur classes.
At nine years old, already on Team Redline, he was asked to be their “prototype kid,” testing their Conquest mini 24-inch ’cross bike. (See the 2013 Conquest 24 here.) Riding in his first ’cross race (racing age 10-12), Owen placed second…and loved it. “I continued to ride some road, and do speed skating in the summer until I was 13,” says Owen. But he knew then that cyclo-cross was for him.
Now, looking ahead to the ’Cross Worlds in Louisville, Owen says he’s been working on his strategy all year, especially for his competition with van der Poel of The Netherlands and Quinten Hermans of Belgium, who finished the World Cup season in first place and fifth place, respectively, in the UCI World Cup junior men’s standings. “We’re all battling together,” says Owen. “No one wants to blow themselves out early in the race.”
A different kind of holiday…
Owen excelled at EuroCrossCamp in Belgium over the holiday season, and says he got to “try different things.” One of the benefits of the camp—where America’s best ’cross racers “live, eat, breathe the toughest, most effective period of cyclo-cross racing on the planet”—was the opportunity to learn how to take advantage of his rivals’ flaws…“but there aren’t many!” says Owen.
“I think I’m a better runner,” says Owen, “and a muddy course would be good for me. I’ll go in knowing I can challenge the best in the world.”
Owen is also anticipating the value of that storied home-field advantage. “For some of these riders, the Worlds will be their first visits to the U.S.,” says Owen. “I won’t have to deal with the travel and the adjustment to such a different time zone.”
Plus, Owen is counting on the crowd in Louisville. “It’s really motivating to hear the crowd cheering, and I’m confident I can do well for them.”
To the podium, and beyond…
Owen credits his success to a few basic factors: great coaches and mentors, a dedicated work ethic, and the support of his family. “My mom sent Christmas presents with me to EuroCrossCamp,” says Owen with a laugh. “I had a lot of extra weight to carry!”
The sacrifices—for both him and his family—are worth it, Owen says. “The experiences I get over there (at EuroCrossCamp) are not just about cycling, but also life skills such as traveling and keeping track of everything. It’s a hard racing block that really gets you into shape.”
His goals for Louisville? “I want to be on the podium at least, and I’d really like to win for this first time that the Worlds are held here in our home country,” says Owen.
“That would be the coolest thing ever…I’m ready to go fast.”
The World will be watching.
Source: USA Cycling