Posted by Editoress on 02/13/08
Buck Miller Interview - update from the R.A.C.E. Camp
By Matt Hansen
Kevin "Buck" Miller has been a mainstay of Ontario and Canadian racing for a number of years, and has won several Ontario Cups, as well as a variety of races in the U.S. After several seasons with Jet Fuel, then a quick ride with the highly ranked amateur squad, Fiorda Frutta, Miller finds himself back in Canada on the revamped R.A.C.E squad, now run by legendary Canadian cyclist Steve Bauer. We caught up with Buck after the team's training camp in North Carolina.
Matt Hansen: How has your training gone so far? You started in Tucson and how has that gone?
Buck Miller: Tucson was great. I love that town. I was only there for a few weeks this time (usually there all of January-February-March), as our camp started at the end of January, but I was able to put in a solid block while I was there under beautiful sunny conditions.
MH: Did the whole team go to South Carolina? Where were you located and for how long?
BM: Yeah, we had the entire team there. Three Staff, and all 12 riders. We were staying in Seneca in a great big house on a lake for about 10 days in total. We went kayaking a few times, that was great.
MH: What kind of riding did you do there?
BM: The first few days were just 1-3 hour rides as we were all adjusting to our new equiptment. Argon 18 Gallium bikes, Shimano gruppos and shoes, so there were quite a few adjustment stops on the ride, but none of us had a problem settling in, and by days 3 and 4 we were in to some good training. Mostly long tempo rides.
MH: Talk about training with Bauer - what's it like?
BM: Steve is a pro. Although retired, he's still got that mentallity, which is great for us. With Steve the bike comes first, but it's a good balance of humor and and hard work. We put in a 32 hour week, a few 7 hour 200k+ rides, and Steve rode much of that with us. He took a few days off to work on some "team" things but he's fun to have on the bike, and he's always up for a few sign sprints too.
MH: What's next for you - what races in Europe?
BM: I'll finish up training here at Dan Timmerman's place in Asheville NC, then seven of us head over to Belgium on Feb 24th, our first race will be the Beverbeek Classic (Bel) 1.2, then on to the Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers Souvenir Bruno Comini (Fra) 1.2 , Omloop van het Waasland - Kemzeke (Bel) 1.2. Well wrap it up at the Tour de Normandie (Fra) 2.2. They're pretty sturdy season openers.
MH: How is the team feeling for this year?
BM: Being a first year pro team there's going to be some kinks that we'll have to work through, but with Steve and Josée on it I'm more than confident we're going to have a great year. We're all healthy, we have the best equipment possible, Steve and Jo are working very hard for the riders and the sponsors. The management and sponsors are giving us every advantage they can to race at our best all year long. The new additions to the team (Ryan Roth, Mark Walters, Keir Plaice, JD Poitras and Dan Timmerman) all fit in great. So the morale is high.
MH: What are your goals for 2008?
BM: I will give as much as I can. For now I don't have any one race on my mind. Nationals and Beauce are obvious Canadian goals so I'd like to go well there. Other than that I'll sharpen my elbows for the field sprints throughout the year, and be the best teammate possible, and get every job done that's asked of me on the bike. I've been racing for a while, and have been lucky enough to have learnt from some of Canada's best over the years, so I'll help out some of the young guys but be sure too keep my ears open when Steve and Mark (Walters) share their views because they've seen and done it all.
MH: Is there added pressure now with Bauer at the helm and the increased roster? Do you or the others feel it?
BM: With the increased size of the team over one season (err...winter), there is a bit more pressure. It's not from Steve directly, but when the program, equipment, budget and roster all increase, I think as a professional you have to feel that pressure. I mean, there's people that have put a lot of time and money into us now, so missing those breaks and not reaching team goals isn't like losing the town sign sprint on a local group ride. Now it matters. So I feel it a little, but I think it's a good thing.
MH: Will Bauer race any local races?
BM: Steve's first ride in months was at Camp, he's played a bit of hockey, so I'm not sure he'll be out racing anytime soon but maybe later in the year. He's always more fit than he thinks he is. Steve's talent alone having not touched a bike is always enough to do some kind of damage. I bet he could win something, like a Lachine. I wanted to put him on the roster.
MH: How do you feel about the long term plans of the team? Is it exciting?
BM: It really is. With the success of the Symmetrics program, I think it's an exciting time to be a Canadian pro team. Steve, Josée, and all of our sponsors are working hard to ensure a healthy long term plan for Team R.A.C.E. Pro. Us [the riders] will be sure to get done what's gotta be done and do our part as well.
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