By Kirsten Robbins
Jeremiah Bishop, double US national mountain bike champion in the short track and the marathon, has added cyclo-cross into his off-season fitness program. While he has yet to win a race, the Trek/VW rider has captured a podium placing in nearly every UCI race he started, giving riders like Jeremy Powers, Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon a run for their money.
"I have a lot of fun with this," said Bishop who does not train specifically for cyclo-cross, but said his summer training program for short track mountain biking carries over well. "I'm well put together this year and I've been working on my aerobic capacity more. I've developed into a better rider in the shorter distances. It's been a lot of fun jumping into 'cross and being able to ride with the top guys - really fun."
Bishop made his 'cross debut at the Cincinnati 'cross festival, a three-race weekend in Ohio where he placed second in the two UCI C1 featured events, behind Powers. "It was an eye opener for me to be going up against Powers in Ohio," said Bishop. "I broke my chain on one of the days and I really thought I had him."
The Harrisonburg, Virginia native is adding a fresh dynamic to the regular group of front row riders in the US. Last weekend, he placed just off the podium after a duel with Johnson for third in Granogue and took third place in the following day's Wissahickon Cross.
"I've known Bishop from his mountain biking," said Johnson, the reigning US national cyclo-cross champion. "He's really strong and it's nice to have a new player in the lead group. When you are dealing with only a couple of teams playing against each other, it's nice to have an independent rider in there to keep things honest."
Bishop has reevaluated his initial decision to compete in the early 'cross season for fun and has since decided to take the sport more seriously. "I'd like to talk to my coach this week and give 'cross a real chance," said Bishop. "I like to tangle with the front riders and I think it might be fun to give it a go - I'm getting the bug and it's real exciting."