Interview Cedric Gracia at Sea Otter
A conversation with Cedric Gracia Champion downhill and 4X downhill at Sea
by Stephanie Gutowski
Cedric Gracia, World Cup Downhill and 4x Rider, chatted with Daily Peloton
after an early morning downhill practice run at the Sea Otter event today.
Stephanie G - As a road racing fan I am always fascinated as to how & why a
rider chooses mountain riding over road riding. How did you get started in
Cedric - My background in riding is all on the road. My dad and my
family were all road riders.....I am the only one that chose not to ride in road
racing. My dad rode in Paris Roubaix and in the Road World Championships. I was
born into road biking. I started riding BMX but everyday after school I would
ride with my dad. We would ride Tourmalet and Mount Blanc. This is when I was
about 11 or 12. I was road racing in France back then and winning alot.
As I got older and started to ski, the road racing became harder for me so I
began to shut down. My dad was very disappointed. He really wanted me to race on
the road but it was too difficult for me. I road raced until I was 16-17. I
switched to mountain biking because I had so much fun jumping around on my bike
and it was very difficult to do the 3-4 hours of road riding every day. I was
training a lot. I would ski early, go to school, and then go ride for hours
after school...sometimes in the snow. I do still enjoy road riding...but just
for fun. I like to ride with Brian Lopes (World Champion-4x) here in California.
We were riding in Laguna Beach together. It was fun! We like to chase the
roadies....some of the semi-pros and pros....and try to beat them in sprints. I
did not beat them but Brian did (laughs).
Stephanie G - When did you start competing in mountain biking
Cedric - I started competing early. I was skiing and BMX'ing when I
was 6. I did BMX until I was 11 and became World Champion. I then quit BMX and
did skiing and road biking. I didn't do many races in the road bike but my dad
encouraged me to go riding everyday.
With the daily riding I turned into an endurance rider. I had a very high
VO2-Max (the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can take in, deliver, and
use in one minute). When I was 16 I had a VO2 of 74. My body was actually better
for skiing and road biking. When I was doing BMX I needed alot of warm-ups
before I raced. It was very difficult for me. Right now training for me...I do a
lot more sprints.
It's easier for me to do the resistance and endurance training than sprints.
Sprints I am terrible....with endurance training even if it's hard...it's more
mental and I can keep going. It's what I have learned to do with my dad. The
maximum training I do right now a day is one hour on the road or on the trainer.
I do a lot of weight training. I do jumping to activate my fiber because in 4x
and DH you need to be explosive and this is what I train for.
Stephanie G - So is your focus going to be more on the Downhill?
Cedric - It's going to be more of my focus because I am 29 years old
now and it's getting hard to be really good, race and compete in two or three
events. I would have to train and compete on one event only to have to train and
compete in the other event. Most athletes now are specializing in one event. I
like competing in all the races but I want to win.
Stephanie G. - I saw on your web site that you have an annual mountain biking
Cedric - I do camps for kids. I have so many kids that come to my
camp. I love riding with the kids. I have parents bringing their kids from as
far away as Malayasia and Hong Kong. It's amazing! The last camp had 30
kids...it was crazy fun.
Stephanie G -What are your plans after Sea Otter?
Cedric - I go home and prepare for the race in Vigo, Spain in one
SG - Are you still riding for fun...or is it just work now?
Cedric - If this was not fun I would stop. If I really did stop riding
I would be a team manager. I would love to work for Oakley (laughs) because I
really like their product. I am very lucky because I love my sponsors...I like
their products. I am very involved with the design of products that have my
Stephanie G - You have so many young fans...what advise would you give them?
Cedric - I tell them to start racing. My best advise to the young
riders is to go faster than me (says with a huge smile)
Maxxis Cup - Gouveia, Portugal - 4th
Maxxis Cup - Sant Andreu de la Barca, Spain - 4th
Urban DH - Valpraiso, Chile - 1st
Urban DH - Santos, Brazil - 1st
I just wanted to thank Cedric for taking time out of his busy Sea Otter
schedule. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with him!! Good luck at Vigo!!