Danny Summerhill is aiming for a strong cyclo-cross season in Europe this year in the hope of preparing for a Under-23 World Championships medal-winning performance during his last two years in the category. Summerhill won a silver medal as a junior at the cyclo-cross worlds in 2007 but has endured a steep learning curve since riding as an U23.
"Now that I'm in the older half of the age group hopefully it will go better for me," said Summerhill. "I feel like I'll be able to keep progressing and moving forward, of course, but the next two years I'm looking forward to growing years, learning years and hopefully pay off years.
"You know honestly, I've put so much pressure on myself ever since I got a medal at worlds as a junior that it's always to try and go back and do it again, but if that's not attainable then at least getting some good results, good press for the team," said Summerhill.
"Just get some really good notoriety for myself is what I really want to do. If I can make it look like it was worthwhile to those that helped me out on my other venture then I think that will be just as useful as a lot of European results."
Summerhill spent the road season with Garmin's Under-23 squad and will again ride under the team's colours during the ‘cross season. This continuity is something Summerhill finds comfort in.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it, I'm really excited that I'll be riding with Garmin, it means I get to keep it really local as far as help goes," he said. "I can go to the same people for tickets and flight plans and all that, as opposed to changing hands half way through the year."
Summerhill said he's enjoyed a successful season road racing and is eager to start the ‘cross season after finishing the road on a high note. Despite the year-round schedule, Summerhill says the variety offered by his two disciplines helps him stay fresh and prevents him from burning out.
"I will head over to Europe around Christmas time and most likely stay all the way from Christmas through early February to race worlds and a couple of World Cups, and also some of the big European cup races like the Superprestige," he said excitedly. "I'm definitely looking forward to it, that's for sure."
While he's still a young rider with much development ahead of him, Summerhill will one day be faced with a choice between road and cross racing as his primary career path. The choice will be made tougher by his success in both disciplines, with the ‘cross worlds medal counterbalanced by road national championships as a novice and a Tour de l'Abitibi team time trial stage win alongside the likes of Taylor Phinney and Benjamin King.
For the time being, Summerhill is delighted to have the opportunity to race both disciplines and glad that any decision over which path to follow is still some way off. "I get asked that all the time, but it's so hard to say because I enjoy both of them so much I can't really put a finger on which I like more," he said.
"It totally comes during the season, like halfway through the road season I get anxious to get some snow and some cooler weather going on when I'm just frying my arse off out there. So it's hard to say, I enjoy both of them so much at different times of the year I don't have a set idea of what I really would like to pursue in the future.
"Most likely it will be road, but I still have such a good time riding cyclo-cross that I don't want to put my finger on either one yet," he added. "Give me some time to fully answer that question, I can tell you what will most likely happen but I can't tell you what I'd rather happen."