U.S. Pro Road Champ Seeks Balanced Approach
We caught up with new Team SmartStop’s Eric Marcotte, the new U.S. pro road champ, to learn more about his equipment, his career as a chiropractor and his journey to the pro peloton.
A few weeks have passed since you won the USA Cycling Professional Road National Championship in Chattanooga, Tenn. What is one surprising thing that has come from that victory? Are riders in the peloton treating you differently? Do you feel different about yourself?
Yes, the peloton treats me differently. I feel that the jersey has a target on it. Even riders I've not competed against yet. I think any national championship garners a certain level of respect from others. So, I am less likely to get to roll of the front and be in the breakaway. And if I am, riders are less willing to roll and work with me. I do feel personally more confident, yet I maintain my respect and understanding of the level of riders’ capabilities I race against. It certainly was an unexpected victory for myself. I viewed it as another race that I could help our team obtain objectives and goals.
What was your post-race celebratory meal that evening after ProNats?
Haha… Well, I believe I had some Kombucha (fermented probiotic beverage) and I am one that doesn't tend to celebrate with “treats” or sweets, especially after a hard effort. It's when the body is broken down the most, needing the best building blocks to heal and repair.
Did you get a personal jolt pulling on that stars and stripes jersey for the first time at the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic? That had to be a thrill to debut it at such a big race.
No question, that race is such a great atmosphere anyway but to have the call-up and recognition was incredible. It was tough to not feel pressure in it there.
Your path to the pros is unusual. Tell us how you first got into bike racing and what drew you to it?
I picked up cycling after undergrad as I entered chiropractic school. For me it was a journey into a larger understanding of overall health – staying away from just how I looked on the outside and physical appearance being related to health but rather a well-rounded, multifaceted approach I learned in chiropractic school. Then getting to compete on the bike and being pushed further than I ever have been, I truly enjoy the sport and everything that goes along with it.
How do you balance your full-time work and other outside cycling duties?
It has been a bit of a tough schedule to balance. As I became a D.C. and moved to Arizona, the first year I barely was able to race. As the years have gone on, and being able to open my own practice caring primarily for endurance athletes, I have taken the knowledge over the years and applied it to myself. Thus, with the limited time I can train, it’s most effective. And utilizing the education and understanding I have of how the body heals and repairs, utilizing care such as chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, etc., in a manner to help my body stay as balanced as possible.
What are your goals as a cyclist, for the rest of the season and long term?
The rest of the season is to wear the jersey with pride and do it justice. I really gave it a full run to get a stage win at GP Saguenay, but came up just short three times. Long term is to make the most of my physical abilities and take advantage of any opportunity I am given. In short, be the best I can be, then take that knowledge and apply it to the community that I care for, enabling them to be the best they can be.
How does being a “working guy” change how you view the equipment you ride and race? Now that you’re getting more support, do you feel like you appreciate it more?
I've never had the support that I do in this situation, so I COMPLETELY appreciate it more because it allows me to focus on the things I need to do.
What do you like best about SRAM RED 22 group?
The equipment was great for Chattanooga. I ran an 11-28 (SRAM RED Cassette) so I could spin the Lookout Mountain climb, as I tend to have higher cadence. It was great to be able to drop into the 39 front ring no issues going into the Kent Street Wall climb, some 20 percent. It was an amazing day and all worked smoothly. In fact, I can't recall ever having an issue in a race with the drivetrain this year.
Have you had a chance to train on Force 22?
My home bike is Force 22. Honestly the only difference I can feel is in the wheelset on my home bike.
In what way has your Quarq power meter been most useful?
For me it's been the most critical to be able to monitor my fitness and output capabilities. Especially when in the break, it is important for me to keep a consistent output that I can be there ready and capable of helping my teammates to be in the best position in the final moments. As the year progressed, my conditioning was ever increasing in the total output I was able to sustain to set the race up for my teammates and, in fact, there were other races that had a higher output than the nationals. There are many factors for such, but one of them was that in the final circuits, I was the one feeling well and being raced for.
Photos © Jonathan Devich - Epic Images