Dan Bowman is a Fort Lewis College graduate and is currently on the Kelly Benefits Pro Road Racing Team. He lives and trains in the hills surrounding Durango. A local man of mystery and an international road racing workhorse, Dan is currently racing overseas and has his sights set on the Iron Horse in may and the national championships on the mountain bike in Sol Vista this July.
Q: How did you find out about FLC cycling and what brought you to Durango?
A: Mountain Bike Worlds were in June and I didn’t think I could be fit by then living in Michigan. I was going to graduate High School early and go live with my Uncle in San Diego, but my dad didn’t like that idea. He talked with the Junior Development Cycling Foundation and they recommended trying Collegiate Cycling. I applied at a few different Schools, but I only had about two weeks before the winter semester started and Fort Lewis was the only one that let me in on such short notice. I had never been to Durango, but it worked out and I am still there ten years later.
Q: You came to town as a mtber right?, When did you decide to focus on road racing instead of mountain bike racing?
A:I did my first road race ever with FLC cycling that spring. It was right when Lance was winning the Tour de France and there was a lot more coverage of road racing. Plus, there were so many more opportunities for support with the National Team and development teams that would give me bikes and get me to races. So I did a few mountain bike national races early 2002 and then was just doing road races by June. I still did some Collegiate Mountain bike races, though.
Q: What team are you on and what is your role on the team? Has it changed over the years?
A: I am racing with the Kelly Benefit Strategies Pro Cycling Team. I am a climber/ hard race guy. But depending on the coarse, I help the sprinters or get bottles. Our team is great in that we all work together to achive the best result for the team. I could get 12th in a field sprint, but I would rather work to get my sprinter in a good position and end up 87th in the sprint, because he has a better chance to win in that situation. Where the sprinter will help me before a climb, because I have a better chance for a result.
Q: What is your favorite 2 hour road loop from town?
A: I like the Valley loop. There is not a lot of traffic and I can throw in a few climbs. I love the Missionary Ridge Road.
Q: Who were your cycling heros as a junior? Who are they now?
A: As a Junior I looked up to guys like Ned and Tinker Juarez. The 1998 Tour de France came on at 3 in the morning and stayed up and watched Marco Pantani win the tour on a huge climb. I thought that was pretty cool. At first, I was nervous lining up with the guys that I had only seen in the magazines. But I got over that and realized they are just guys. They really aren’t as cool as you think. I guess Ned is a pretty cool guy.
Q: What was the junior racing scene like in Michigan? Where there any junior programs around where you lived?
A:There is a pretty good series of mountain bike races. I could pretty much race every weekend with a 3 hour drive or less. There were a good group of juniors that battled every weekend. My dad also raced and we would go to the races together. There was nothing like the Durango Devo. I was sponsored by Billy’s Bike Shop. Billy would give me a deal on bikes, help me with coaching and hand me bottles at races.
Q: What advice would you give to a junior mountain biker looking to make a profession of cycling?
A: I would not be afraid to try some road races. It is good for the fitness. Most top mountain bikers race or have raced the road. It will help you develop and there are a lot more guys getting paid racing road. There are many development teams that will give you bikes fly you all over the world to race. You can always race both, I am going to race Mountain Bike Nationals in Granby this year.
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