The countdown to the 2014 Race Across America on Saturday June 14th has begun, and The Legends of the Road team comprising of Micky Dymond, Dave Mirra, Ben Bostrom and Dave Zabriskie is getting ready to rock. They will ride bicycles in relay from the Oceanside Pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean non-stop to Annapolis, Maryland. Ben Bostrom is one of the team’s two motorcycle racers. Fans of the Velocity Channel TV show, Café Racer will recognize him from testing custom bikes, usually with his brother, Eric. Ben burst onto the racing scene in 1993 when he won the AMA National 600 Dirt Track Championship and then switched to road racing which led to a Superbike Championship in 1998. Soon he was racing in the World Superbike series and won six races in 2001 but eventually returned to the AMA in 2003. These days, Ben is a professional mountain bike rider for Specialized. We chatted with him about that and his preparation for the Race Across America.
MLAS: Micky Dymond told us that it took a bit of convincing to get you onboard for the Race Across America. What ultimately convinced you to join up?
BB: Ha ha! It did. We were having a drink or several and he kept telling me about two dangerous yet fun sounding events: RAAM & Pike Peak. Both pretty awesome really. I am not too good at walking away from a good time suffering with friends so I committed to RAAM after a few emails and texts. Also, I have always loved long destination rides. My lady and I do that now and then. Just leave on your bike with nothing but the clothes on your back and a credit card. In MD’s defense, I told him to keep bugging me.
MLAS: When did you start mountain bike riding?
BB: 2008 [it] hooked me hard. I was coming back to cycling from a bout with EBV and a friend convinced me to race the Moab 24hr the week before. Like I said…NOT good at walking away from a good time. Bought an MTB that night and we left for Moab the following day. The rest is history.
MLAS:Besides your motorcycle career, we saw numerous articles featuring you as an MTB rider. Did you have any prior experience with endurance cycling?
BB: If you consider drinking and pulling all-nighters for a month straight in Sardinia…yes!
MLAS:Do you feel like your experience with MTB has helped you with the road cycling?
BB: I want to say yes. I started on the road and went to MTB’s. I still ride road, actually I ride everything from a unicycle to a Shiv. I have a passion for TT (tavern to tavern) racing on our bike paths in Vegas at night and pulling my daughter to all the splash parks. Not sure this training crosses over, but it sure is fun.
MLAS:What has your preparation for races been like?
BB: Depends on the race. Took a long time to figure out when to go hard and when not to. Seems we all start off thinking we have to go hard every ride, then some ass like Tim Johnson comes along and sets you right. Now I do the standard. Ride when daddy duty permits and throw in some intervals and rest a week before the “action” goes off.
MLAS: What are the more challenging aspects of the training?
BB: Time! Seems like as we get older and responsibilities compound, time management is the only way to hope for a solid training block.
MLAS:What’s the furthest you’ve ridden so far?
BB: In a day? 264 miles and 24,000ft or climbing. Moab 24 hour solo in 08. “Welcome to MTB’s!” Freezing conditions, throw in a severe dust storm = good times!
MLAS:Participants sometimes consider this race to be more like a journey of self-discovery. What are your personal goals for the Race Across America?
BB: I believe them. A true test of a person [is] in their most tired state of being. Let’s compound that by adding a few friends equally as tired and hanging out in a dirty chamois and an RV for several days. Can not wait! We were laughing at team camp (about) who was going to crack first. Goal is simple. Mother Nature may add a few variables though. Course record baby!!!!!
MLAS: With the race less than a month away. How do you feel?
BB: Too relaxed actually. A week ago I never ridden a TT bike (other than bar hopper) and I was a bit nervous about the aero position and power. Last Friday (May 23rd) I had my first gallop on the Specialized Shiv and got more nervous when I realized there were so many parts to change that could make a huge aero difference. Each outing would last 15mins and I would come back home and remove spacers. Yes, I was making the bike look pro. I however was using up the entire bike lane and then some. Mad respect to the TT (Time Trial) specialists! NOT easy to go straight.
A Final Word
You can be part of their effort by making a donation or applying to sponsor the team at http://www.gofundme.com/legendsoftheroad. Follow their progress by connecting with Ben Bostrom via the following:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ben-Bostrom-Fan-Page/179836335377989
Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/BenBostrom
Instagram account: http://instagram.com/ben_bostrom#
Also The Legends of the Road’s official social media channels:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Legends-of-the-Road/369354739869088
Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/LegendsofRoad
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RidingTheLineTV