Aaron Gwin agreed to answer our questions about his
2013 season and what he has in store for 2014.
Mountain Bike Action: What was the biggest obstacle
facing you during the World Cup series this year?
Aaron Gwin: I’d say the biggest obstacle was just trying to defend my World Cup title. Every year is harder
than the last, and every year you have to step up your
game to be at the top. I made a lot of changes in the
off-season that were really exciting for me, but with
that always comes a new set of challenges. I feel like
we worked through everything quickly and efficiently,
though, and put ourselves in a good position to continue
MBA: Was setting up your own team more work than
Aaron: Well, I didn’t actually set up my own team. I
ride for Specialized Racing, and they are my team. They
take care of everything as far as team responsibilities
go, and they do an awesome job. They did allow me to
piece together a few other parts of my program, though,
with bringing my own gear sponsor, Troy Lee Designs,
on board. I was also able to keep my longtime sponsor,
Fox Shox, which was important to me, as well as SRAM
components. It was a little more work, but Specialized
was so easy to work with and open to anything that I
felt I needed. From there, it was just putting the pieces
together. It was crazy to me how well everything worked
out in the end.
MBA: Did you arrive at the first World Cup feeling
confident or a bit rushed?
Aaron: I definitely felt confident. I’d spent more time
on the bike riding and testing than I ever had in previous
years. I had also put in a really good off-season of training,
so I felt like, win or lose, I’d done everything I could to be
ready. I ended up struggling at the first race a little, but
we learned a lot quickly and got it sorted out by the next
weekend. Sometimes you can do everything to prepare,
but until you show up and actually race, you never really
know for sure where everything will stack up.
MBA: You had your speed at the National
Championships, beating second place by over 10 seconds.
Would you rather just race domestically?
Aaron: That’s a funny question, but I honestly felt like
I had the speed at every race this year besides that first
World Cup. National champs went really well for me this
year, though. I love racing in the U.S., and it was the most
fun I had at a race all year. I wouldn’t say that I’d prefer
to only race over here, though. The things you learn and
get to see traveling the world are pretty amazing. In a
perfect world, I’d race in the States 75 percent of the time
and overseas the other 25 percent. Like any major sports
team would probably tell you, there’s always an advantage and something special about competing near home in
MBA: What are your plans for 2014?
Aaron: My plans for 2014 are pretty much the same as
they are every year. I want to get myself and my bike as
ready as possible and go into the season with the goal of
winning races. I want to keep learning and, most important, enjoy this awesome job that God’s given me! ;
TO AARON GWIN?
E READY TO SILENCE THE CRITICS
TALKING WITH AARON
Putting everything into perspective, the only reason Aaron’s 2013 season was a disappointment was
because it followed his 2012 and 2011 dream seasons.
His “poor” performance in 2013 still ranked him 16th
in the world, the best finish of an American rider in
the series. He missed two rounds due to injury and
never finished outside the top 20, with three top- 10
results. He even added the 2013 National Downhill
Championships to his season. Any American downhiller would be proud of that season. That is, any
American rider except Aaron.
“I want to keep learn-
ing and, most important,
enjoy this awesome job
that God’s given me!”