Photos by Nick Wilson
You mentioned crits. What is your reaction when people say L39ION is “just” a crit team?
Cory: I laugh at that.
Justin: That is misinformed, to put it nicely. It's misinformed.
Cory: Yeah, for sure we have a really good team all around. People like to look away from Justin's road race national championship. A lot of those people want to say this team is not a road race team when the guy that put it together is road race national champion.
Michael: The thing is, I do love crits though.
Justin: The confusion is that we grew up in a place where we've done a crit every Thursday for, I don't know, 15 years. Cycling has this kind of dark cloud over it where everyone tries to discredit and devalue people around them. When we hear “you guys are a crit team?” Well, if a race didn't have 10,000 feet of climbing in 80 miles, if it was a race that suits me, which in Europe you see there are many different types of races, we would win more road races. If there were more road races to do, we would probably win more road races, so saying that we're just a crit team is not understanding that what's going on in American cycling, it’s not paying attention to what's actually happening. We're winners; we’ll win whatever you put us in if it suits our talent. Point blank, period.
Michael: It also devalues crits. Crits aren’t just a race. They’re an amazing race!
Justin: Ooh, I’m about to go off.
Cory: Have you ever been to a stage race in America, and you finish on top of a climb, and there's no one there?
Justin: That happens at EVERY road race we go to.
Cory: And then you look at Tulsa Tough [a popular crit in Oklahoma], there's people around! At every road race...I got second place at San Dimas stage race. I got $150.
Justin: Not $5000.
Cory: Exactly. Why would I want to be good at that? Why would I want to train at that when in America we only do seven of 'em a year?
Justin: In American racing, crit racing is where that racing thrives, and that's what we want to build: a future for racing. We don't need to do what other people are doing. Criterium racing is completely separate from road racing and we're just here to make that very clear. But we're capable of doing both.