Cyclist home from European Trek

Senior Chris Wallace is not the kind of athlete featured on the announcements every week.

Wallace, who returned Feb. 2 from a two-week trip that spanned Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, competed in the World Junior Cyclocross Championships. Wallace was ranked second of the five U.S. racers who were selected to compete. Of 80 starters, he placed 39th.

BIKEMAN2“I was kind of disappointed, but I couldn’t really be,” Wallace said.

Wallace has been cyclocross racing for four years and road racing for six. Cyclocross is a combination of running and racing. The race combines riding on and off the road and, at least once during a race, riders are forced to carry their bikes either up and down stairs or until the path is clear enough to ride on.

“The running is definitely the hardest part because it’s an extra 20 pounds on your back,” Wallace said.

Road racing takes place in the spring and summer and is strictly on the road. It’s a relatively long race, usually about three hours. This made the transition to cyclocross racing much easier during the fall and winter due to his road experience.

Wallace trains during the week in cyclocross season, with an average road ride of 30 to 50 miles. Wallace has now been to Europe three times to compete and has traveled all over the United States.

With traveling and competing taking up most of his time, school has had to take a backseat.

“I’d be gone from school for weeks at a time, and for what I did this fall and winter, I kind of had to put school aside and had to focus everything on racing,” he said.

Although he missed multiple weeks of school for racing, Wallace manages to get all his school work done when he returns home. His parents allow him to race and miss school as long as he keeps his grades up. His teachers will e-mail him assignments, and he is given plenty of time to make up tests when he returns.

Wallace plans to take a month off and then continue into the road racing season this spring and summer. Next fall, he will move on to the next age group, ranging in ages 19 to 23.

“It’s going to be a lot harder to be chosen to go to the Cyclocross World Championships next year,” Wallace said. “It’s a lot harder competition.”

-Rachel Ferencz