Amanda Miller Interview - Cyclocross and Country Music
Iowa native and country music lover Amanda Miller has made a steady rise up the U.S. cyclocross rankings over the past six years. Her 2016 includes two top tens at World Cup races, highlighted by a 7th in Namur. As the 16th ranked rider in the world, Miller brings more than a decade of road racing experience and a much heavier focus on cyclocross to Hartford, CT, for her best shot ever at the National Championship podium. Miller rides for Boulder Cycle Sport / YogaGlo based out of Boulder, CO, and credits her teammates, her off-season running, and her lighter road schedule for her marked improvement. Amanda sat down with us in her team tent to talk cross just ahead of the U.S. season finale.
Where do the US Nationals rank on your list of racing priorities?
My top three goals for this year include a podium at a World Cup, a top 10 at Worlds, and the U.S. National Championships.
You seem to get better every year, with this year as your breakthrough, tell us what’s working for you.
My road schedule was not nearly as heavy as in previous years. I also did a lot more running in the off-season, and so I was way more focused on cyclocross. I’ve also figured things out in Europe where the racing is a little different. Also, having the experience of Yannick Eckmann and Allen Krughoff on my team--pre-riding courses and just talking with them--has really contributed to my growth.
What type of cyclocross racer are you?
I think I’m pretty conservative, I tend to wait for others, and I’m trying to change that. I want to be more aggressive, I think putting myself in a better position and putting others under pressure could benefit me. In terms of courses and conditions, I’m pretty good technically and have good power, so I feel I’m pretty balanced. I’ve found the more technical and gnarly it gets it tends to be better for me. That’s when I’ve done well at EU World Cups.
What gearing will you run on your SRAM Force 1x?
Based on the course's steep sections I will stick with my 38 chainring and the 11-32 cassette.
Is tire pressure a day of decision or do you always run the similar pressures?
In terms of tire pressure there is only so much you can do on ice, and I generally tend to run higher pressure than others. Here in Hartford, if it gets as cold as predicted, I’m maybe expecting to run 16, 17 or 18 psi. If it’s muddy I’ll go 19 or 20 psi, I feel I can run higher pressure and get the same grip.
What occupies the majority of your time ahead of a major race?
I’ll be spending time in my hotel bed reading, watching TV, and on social media. I’ll also ride on the trainer, but I really try not to obsess about the race. Obsessing about the race can be a waste of time. It’s also really difficult to assess this course with how it's changing constantly. I’ve also been spending some time looking for a job. I have not signed a road contract, and so I am currently in a job search and potentially finishing my degree in natural resource management.
What will you absolutely not eat ahead of any big race?
I don’t obsess, I will eat virtually anything, but just usually pasta or something simple.
Name one race day tradition.
I always warm up on the trainer and only on the trainer. I don’t want to have to worry about traffic, finding roads, flats, etc.
Race day music musts?
I listen to my shuffle and lots of country music.
What’s next for you after CX Nats?
Hoogerheide (World Cup), and hopefully World’s. Hoping I qualified.
Amanda Miller, no relation to former US cross racer Meredith Miller, rides SRAM Force 1. We are grateful to Amanda for her time and wish her the best with rest of her season.
Image courtesy of Wil Matthews Photos