Jeremy Powers may have come out swinging with a spectacular come-from-behind second place in the season opening Star Crossed race in Washington last weekend, but will be turning down the burners to save gas for the US national championships and cyclo-cross World Championships.
Having just come off a full road season with the Jelly Belly team, Powers, racing 'cross for Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, said the US national championship is his "ultimate goal" for the 'cross season. His top finish in the championship at the elite level was a fifth place in 2006 and a second as a U23.
"I'm almost putting everything on Nationals. I don't have any other strong aspirations. I'm keeping my commitment to the NACT and USGP [series] to a lower level - I'm trying to focus on December and then the world championships. That's the Olympics of 'cross, so I want to do well," Powers told Cyclingnews at CrossVegas.
Powers learned his lesson last season after having a successful US season, a good start to his European campaign, but then a disappointing finale at Worlds.
"I think last year I realized I was tired when I got there [to Worlds]. I put it together for the early races - had some of the best results I've had in Europe. Loenhout was really good, and I got 7th at a C1 on the coast in Belgium].
"So that was awesome, but after January and we had to do a [road] training camp, and things slowed down racing-wise for us because Europe had its national championships, I felt burnt. I felt I could take a break instead of going into Worlds."
"This year I'm hoping to come into February 1st cookin'."
Racing on the road for Jelly Belly, Powers had a full season that included the Tour of Qinghai Lake as well as domestic stage races like Joe Martin, Nature Valley and, more recently, the Tour of Missouri.
"I'm starting out a lot slower [in 'cross], even though I'm coming off Missouri. The goal is to come into the season slower, not to come in flying and win a lot of races at the start.
"I used Missouri as a training tool. I rested after [US Pro Criterium championships in] Downers Grove, then came home and took a week really easy and trained into Missouri. I used that as another training block and then shut if off for now. CrossVegas will be the last race I really get out of that training block."
Powers took fourth place in CrossVegas behind winner and teammate Jamey Driscoll.