Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com rider Jamey Driscoll has taken the North American cyclo-cross scene by storm this season, becoming a regular face on the podium around the country. His frequent success has landed him in the leader’s jersey of the most prestigious series in the United States - US Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross (USGP).
His expertise on the bike is widely known. However, what most people don’t know about this young and modest athlete is how well he juggles professional racing with being a full-time student of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Vermont.
“It’s definitely a challenge to do it all,” said Driscoll. “Fortunately, I’m just racing on the weekends so that makes it slightly more doable than doing weeklong stage races on the road. It means that I have to plan ahead.”
Driscoll is committed to his studies from Monday to Friday and competes in a full schedule of UCI-ranked cyclo-cross events on weekends. The events locations span across the US and Canada thus, he typically misses Monday class to travel home from the races.
When asked how he balanced the two professions Driscoll said with a laugh, “I don’t know if my schedule is balanced in terms of the amount of effort that I put into each activity respectively.”
“I don’t want to brag or anything, but engineering is no slouch degree and I’m probably scraping along the bottom of where I should be,” he continued. “It’s hard but I’m struggling along. I’m having a good time racing my bike and having the USGP jersey is feeling pretty good.”
USGP dream heads to the Mercer Cup
The USGP series continues with rounds five and six next weekend at the Mercer Cup held in New Jersey. Driscoll aims to increase his lead however, he is confident that the leader’s jersey will stay amongst one of the three teammates.
“This series has a lot of history and I’m honoured to lead it,” said Driscoll. “I don’t think it will just be me and him [Ryan Trebon] battling next time. My teammates are also pretty close so hopefully we have power in numbers and it works in our favour.”
Driscoll’s USGP lead came as a pleasant surprise given that he had a mediocre start to the series with a couple of seventh places in the first two rounds at the Planet Bike Cup held in Wisconsin. He picked up his game and took double second places in the next two rounds at the Derby City Cup, held in Louisville Kentucky.
His results moved him into a tie with the previous series leader and US National Champion, Ryan Trebon (Kona), although the jersey was granted to Driscoll by virtue of his higher placing in the fourth round event. An unfortunate accident caused Trebon to pull out of the fourth stop in the series at the Derby City Cup.
“I actually didn’t know that I was that close to Trebon but I think it’s because he didn’t get in the points today,” Driscoll explained. “He definitely beat me by a few positions both days in Madison and yesterday he got even more points on me. I didn’t know I was the leader until Bruce [Fina] told me at the finish line. I guess we are tied.”
Driscoll kicked off the season with the biggest win of his career at CrossVegas, North America’s marquee cyclo-cross event. His achievements this season extend to podiums in various events such as Rad Racing and Grand Prix of Gloucester, plus doubles at the Toronto International Cyclo-Cross, Blue Sky Velo and the Boulder Cup.
“I’m happy about my performances this year,” added Driscoll. “Last year I had a few speckles of good races and this year I’m doing that a lot more consistently which is awesome. I didn’t fully expect it but I can kind of tell my fitness judging by the road seasons because that’s primarily fitness that increases.”
Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com teammates Tim Johnson, last year’s USGP overall winner, and Jeremy Powers noticed Driscoll’s talent for cyclo-cross following his strong performances during the previous year. The trio has reeled in a total of 15 season victories this far in 2009/10.
Driscoll captured his team’s latest win at the CycleSmart International held in Northampton, Massachusetts on Sunday. He attributes his success to the help of veteran teammates Johnson and Powers. “There is so much to learn from these guys because they have so much experience racing here and in Europe,” said Driscoll. “Just the one year of racing with them builds on itself and it’s very good to have them around.”
Driscoll also recently signed a contract to race with the National Racing Calendar (NRC) number one ranked team Jamis-Sutter Home presented by Colavita Pro Cycling team for the 2010 road season.