Fort Lewis College cyclist and pro downhillist, Cody Wilderman is on a mission this year. His well rounded approach to training has an old school feeling. This past fall he took up cyclocross racing and made the FLC National Team. He is currently taking to Moab every weekend to get a jump on the skills, and he is planning on a couple spring road races to hone his fitness. Dang.
Q: What was your first bike race where you knew that was what you wanted to do?
A: Well, my Dad was a pro cross-country racer, so I have always been around racing. I don’t remember a specific race where I said this is it, but since I was about five years old I knew I wanted to be a pro mountain bike racer, and at that time it meant cross-country, but now my focus is downhill.
Q: When did you decide to focus primarily on gravity events? And why.
A: When I told my Dad I wanted to race downhill, he said that I would still have to race cross country, so from about age 13 to 17 I raced both, but then it became evident that I needed to choose one or the other and at that time I was having more success in the gravity events.
Q: After a full season of gravity racing, you came out and raced a full cross season, and now there are rumors you will hit the spring road season as well. What is the reason for this?
A: Well, for starters, I can’t race road for the school because I just graduated, but I am planning on doing some local races. I raced cross because for the last three years I have focused on residual fitness to carry my through the downhill season. I did train, but not properly and to be honest for the last few years I have been a little overweight. So, I decided that it was time in my career to start being really serious and to train properly and to become fit like a real athlete should be, and cross was the best way to do this. Ruthie showed me how to train properly so that on race day I am 100%.
Q: What were the benefits of racing the cross series, for a dh racer like yourself?
A: The knowledge about training and the fitness level I achieved are the benefits for sure. Now I know whether it is a non race week, or a race week, what I have to do every day of the week and why I do it, so that for my race, I am physically and mentally the best prepared. Many DH racers, just do DH runs and dirt jump, with no real training and expect to do three days of practice and still be ready for a good race run on Sunday. The truth is you have to train right every day of the week, which includes rest, to perform at 100% on Sunday. Because of cross my confidence is at a whole new level.
Q: What is the latest skill you have been working on and give us a little tip…..please?
A: I have been working on cornering because that is the most important part of a DH track. With cornering I have been trying to focus on snap out of short tight corners, and I have found that if you shift your weight towards the back of the bike in the middle of the corner it helps to push the bike through the corner faster.
Q: You have 2 hours to ride town trails, what route do you take?
A: I would probably ride in Horse Gulch, I would go out on the valley loop, then up telegraph, down sidewinder then do big canyon or that cowboy trail, then back up crites then down Anasasi and whatever else I can fit in.
Q: Who are your past and present mtb heroes and why?
A: Myles Rockwell because he was World Champion, Jared Graves because he kills it on any type of bike, Nico because he is the greatest of all time, Todd Wells because he made his dream come true, my Dad because he is 48 and still kills it on the DH bike, Aaron Gwin because he has shown the world that America is back in the DH scene.