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Meet Scott Price: Part One
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 8/28/2003
Meet Scott Price: Part One
 

Scott Price (Landis Trek/VW) has had over 103 victories. Born in Calgary Canada, the youngest of six children, Scott was first drawn to the popular sports of Canadian youth. Once the bike racing bug bit at age 15 he was off and running, starting his cycling career with a victory in his first race.

By 18 he was racing in Spain for two seasons under the guidance of Hubert Janssens. As Scott says, "I was coached by my Belgian mentor, Hubert Janssens, a wily and feared sprinter who grew up racing against the likes of Greg LeMond and Eddy Planckaert. He trained me in a very traditional way a la Eddy Merckx, which was based on very hard and long miles while focusing on suppleness and speed."

After a pro contract in Spain was lost in similar circumstances to those that hit this year’s pro peloton (lost sponsors), Scott returned to North America to win the 1992 Canadian National Championship road race, to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games in Havana, Cuba, as well as finishing second in the 1992 Olympic trials.

As a young pro rider he lined up for the start of the 1996 Tour DuPont, won stages in the UCI Tour de Peru, collecting victories along the way and establishing a reputation as a climber of note.

As many pro riders do, Scott went on to apply what he learned from his mentor Janssens and other coaches to develop his own style of coaching. As he said, "As an athlete and a coach, I have combined the technical aspects of coaching with my own intuition for maximizing individual athletic performance."

It seems to have produced results as Scott won the 1999 and 2000 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic on an average of twelve hours training per week.

He studied Holistic Nutrition and has worked in the health and nutrition field for several years. Currently Scott works with his wife Dana in Phoenix, Arizona, at the South West Center for Oriental Medicine. Scott comments, "These experiences have helped me become well educated about supplementation of vitamins, minerals and herbal therapies." On training, "…a program works on the premise that the body will adapt if the right stresses are put on it, the athlete needs change to improve, and the same weekly routine over and over will not get results."

His experience taught him that it wasn’t just physical training that made a rider a winner, "The mental aspect is the other 90% of competition. This covers motivation, suffering, concentration, tactics, visualization, understanding, focus, emotions. Basically the mental aspects of competition are what set athletes apart. Why do the same athletes win over and over? They have the confidence in their abilities and preparation as well as the focus and desire to get the job done."

This week the Daily Peloton will present an interview with Scott Price covering his seventeen years as a rider. Scott will share his insights, unique vision regarding training, nutrition, performance and his experience as an elite athlete and coach.

On Monday, 1 September, please join Scott in the Daily Peloton chatroom for a live chat.

Where: Daily Peloton Chatroom
When: Monday, 1 September 2003
12 noon Pacific Time
1 pm Mountain Time
3 pm Eastern Time
20.00 British Time
21.00 European Time


Scott Price Vital Data

Birth date: Oct 5 1969
Calgary, Canada
Height: 6'3
weight: 160
Started racing: 1986

First pro race: Washington Trust Classic
First pro contract: Team Plymouth
Teams: Cyclemeisters Calgary, Canadian National Team, Domenics Cycling Team, Plymouth, Landis Trek VW

Principal Victories and Results 103 Career Victories

Current or previous record holder for several hill climb races including Mt Graham, Mt Lemmon, Kitt Peak, South Mountain, Mt Norquay and Big Mountain.

1st Canadian National Road Race Championships, Canada
1st Circuito via Expresa Stage 3 Tour De Peru, Peru
1st Team Time Trial Stage 4 Tour De Peru, Peru
1st Ironhorse Bicycle Classic Road Race, Colorado (three time winner - 1999, 2000, 2001)
1st Gila Monster Road Race, Tour of the Gila, New Mexico
1st Tucson Bicycle Classic Overall, Arizona (two time winner - 2000, 2001 )
1st Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage Wins, Arizona (3)
1st Tour of the Sun Canada Cup, Canada
1st Colorado State Road Race Championships, Colorado
1st Alberta Provincial Road Race Championships, Canada
1st Mt. Norquay Provincial Hill Climb (course record), Canada
1st Redlands Bicycle Classic Hotspot Sprint Winner, California
1st La Vuelta de Bisbee Overall, Arizona
1st La Vuelta de Bisbee Prologue, Arizona (9:39)
1st La Vuelta de Bisbee Tombstone RR, Arizona Z
2nd Tour of the Gila Stage Race Overall, New Mexico
2nd Tour of the Gila Mogollon Road Race, New Mexico
2nd Canadian National Championships, Team Time Trial, Canada
2nd Iron Horse Classic Road Race, Colorado
2nd Canadian Olympic Trials, Canada
4th Nevada City Classic Time Trial, California
4th Tour de Guadeloupe, Guadeloupe
4th Tour of Hokkaido, Japan
5th Classica de Sevilla, Spain
5th Saturn Teamwork Challenge, Atlanta First Union GP USPRO, Georgia
6th Sunset Loop Stage Race (Redlands), California
7th Nevada City Classic Omnium, California
8th Colorado Cyclist Stage Race, Colorado
10th In Two Stages of the Giro della Regionnes, Italy
Canadian National Team Member
Pan Am Games Team Member Havana, Cuba
Competed in 1996 Tour DuPont

More Results

1st Mt. Graham Hill Climb (3 time, course record, state champion), Arizona
1st Tour of St. George Stage Race, Utah
1st High Uintas Stage Race, Utah
1st Hualapai Mountain Hill Climb, Arizona
1st Hualapai Stage Race, Arizona
1st Jamie Fallon Hill Climb, Arizona
1st Usery Pass Time Trial, Arizona
1st Cancer Society Stage Race (3 time winner), Canada
1st Tour of the Flathead, Montana
1st Mt. Lemmon Time Trial Series, Arizona
1st Heritage City Cycling Classic, Canada
1st Panorama Stage Race (3 time winner), Canada
1st Oak Flats Road Race (2 time winner), New Mexico
1st Highway 6 Road Race, New Mexico (2 time winner)
1st Dave Brown Memorial Stage Race, New Mexico
1st King of the Mountain at Vanwood Cycling GP, Canada
1st Pagosa Springs Mtb Stage Race, Colorado
1st Delicias Criterium, Mexico
1st Unser Road Time Trial, New Mexico
1st Nob Hill to the Crest Hill Climb, New Mexico
1st Great Beat the Train Over the Mountain Bicycle Race, Colorado
1st Thunder Road Time Trial, Arizona
1st Tucson Crit Series, Arizona
1st Kitt Peak Hill Climb, Arizona
2nd La Vuelta de Bisbee, stage 3, Arizona
2nd Tyrone Time Trial, Tour of the Gila, New Mexico
2nd Ojo Caliente NMORS, New Mexico
3rd Tour of the Gila Stage Race, New Mexico
3rd Tour of Nevada Loneliest Road, Nevada
3rd Andy Finch Memorial Road Race, Colorado
4th Mogollon Road Race, Tour of the Gila, New Mexico


Interview with Scott Price: Part One

VT: Scott when did you first start riding seriously, do you remember what interested you in starting racing? How old were you?

Scott: I started riding with my brothers and friends when I was 15 years old. I was a serious basketball player, competitive at the Provincial State level and had college potential, but cycling had become my passion. My first race was the week after I watched a local crit series that was conveniently three blocks from my house at the University of Calgary.

VT: Did you do well at first or did you struggle until you won your first race? What stands out in your memory about winning that first bike race?

Scott: I actually won my first race. I was 16 years old and in good shape from riding with my three older brothers, playing basketball and doing other sports since childhood. I entered the B race of a local crit and won solo; everyone asked me to enter the A race immediately after. I declined but came back next week as an A racer in my second race. I really enjoyed the individuality of cycling after playing team sports like basketball and volleyball. I mean, only you can pedal your own bike, no excuses. What really stands out is after the race someone came up to me and snuck a banana up the leg of my shorts as there was so much room between my skinny legs and the baggy Lycra!

VT: It's interesting to me how many times I hear that a pro rider got started just seeing a local race. For me it was just seeing a racing bike for the first time, I wanted to just get on it and see how fast I could go. Do you remember your thoughts at the time that made you show up the next week to race?

Scott: I don't remember it as a thought but more of a feeling. I was immediately hooked as cycling gave me a great outlet for my high levels of energy and provided the great challenge I needed. There was never any doubt that I would show up at the next race.

VT: At what point did you go to Spain to race for two seasons?

Scott: I went to Spain upon graduating from high school when I was 17 years old. It was quite a departure from my family, friends and the college path that was commonplace. I had only 2 seasons of racing, including Tour L'Abitibi, but I was motivated to race towards the top. The decision to go was not a thinking one; it was more like a calling and to this day I can’t explain it. I never doubted it and everything simply fell into place for me.

VT: How different was it to go to Spain compared to what you had experienced racing in Canada and the USA? Was it a big adjustment? What stands out most in your memory from those two years?

Scott: Oh yeah, a huge adjustment. I actually missed the start of my first race (a time trial) the announcer mispronounced my name. I remember distinctly hearing "Eskot Preethay" and thinking that was a weird name.... The racing in Spain was an order of magnitude more competitive and it seemed every race was a mountainous race of attrition. I was actually not considered a great climber there but rather a good sprinter.

Sprinting against a bunch of 120 lb climbers makes one look fast (Scott winks and smiles). I also remember the level of work and commitment of the riders was extremely high. Most riders had family pressure to work if they did not succeed as a pro cyclist by a young age. Whereas racers in the US seem to blossom near 30 years old, most racers in Spain were retired by 21 or 23 if they had not turned pro. There was a strong willingness of riders to do anything or put anything (like performance enhancing drugs) into their bodies if they thought it would help them succeed. I was fortunate to have my brother and guardian angel, Bo, come over to Spain with me initially to get settled. I actually had a "verbal" (funny now) pro contract with a short lived Spanish pro team for the third year I went back to Spain. Upon arrival another Spanish team had folded and all of the foreign riders were understandably displaced with Spanish riders.

VT: Someone familiar with the scene in Europe said it is a more "blue Collar/working class" mentality in Europe in the cycling scene. Do you think this describes how it was with the riders in Spain?

Scott: Absolutely. I still find that cycling is a difficult sport for a cerebral person, they can constantly struggle with rationalizing the pain and sacrifice cycling requires.

VT: You met your coach and mentor Hubert Janssens, in Spain. Tell us a little bit about him, and the coaching and training you received then. How did this effect your training then and in the future? How did it influence your coaching other riders?

Scott: Hubert Janssens was a blessing. He was the next Freddy Maertens when he was a lightning fast junior sprinter in Belgium. He raced with Greg Lemond, Eddy Planckaert and Co., and was on the path to the promised land of cycling until in one race, in a chaotic bunch sprint, he went to bunny hop a curb in a bunch sprint.

Well at 35+ mph that is not an easy thing and this time he rolled both his tires and ended up in a coma. After that accident and ensuing recovery, he moved to Spain with his family and never raced again at that level. I met him on a training ride and he quickly took me under his wing as his protégé. All he asked in return was that I teach him English (he managed to learn English in a few months while I still struggled with Spanish after 2 years!).

The training we did was a strange mix of European traditional and intuition. We did what worked for the old school of Belgian cyclists, tons of high rpm mileage, motor pacing, pace line and highly competitive dog-eat-dog group rides. Truly only the strongest willed and strongest physically survived. I guess the biggest lesson I learned is that you do not have to explain something if it works or know it is a truth. Western coaching tends to get overly technical and scientific, trying to over justify coaching and training methods when the truth is simply in the pudding.

A favorite analogy of mine is using a tree to show how words pale to reality. If you read a description of "tree" in a dictionary or had someone describe a tree to you in words and then you went out and saw a tree, felt a tree, smelled a tree, listened to the leaves dance in the wind and even became aware of the tree’s energy field, you would wonder why we take words so seriously and understand why they are just useful signposts for communication and education, but they are not a tree.

VT: Right, Scott - "The map is not the road." When you came back to from Spain you had a good year; winning the Canadian Road Race Championship and representing Canada in the Pan Am games in Havana.

Scott: I actually won the Canadian Road Race Championships over a year after returning to Canada. The amazing thing was that I had a hamstring injury that spring after a massive training camp in Tucson, Arizona, and then placed 2nd in the Canadian Olympic Trials (and got flicked from the Olympic team as too many riders from Western Canada were strong that year). I was off my bike for 5 weeks, then I did the Cascade stage race with no base, which I survived, and it brought me back to a high level for Nationals a few weeks later.

Nationals that year was on the toughest course we have had recently, if not ever. We climbed this 3k long beast of a climb 12 times over a 160k race and the finish was at the top. Roland Green won the junior race and Clara Hughes won the women's race. Looking at my preparation for that race I still believe that I won that race on sheer will and self-belief, as I had a lot of fire and a lot to prove. This opened the door to the National team for me the next year but I still had to win my spot on the Pan Am team in another trial. In the sprint I came around Todd McNutt of Evian for that Pan Am spot and I remember him punching me in the helmet right after the finish line!

VT: Of all the victories, what victories are the sweetest to recall?

Scott: Well, nothing beats winning your National Championship as an underdog; but on par I'd have to say my first of 3 Ironhorse Classic Road Race victories. I just plain love that race with the fresh mountain air, magnificent scenery, battles between top road climbers and World class mountain bike riders and of course, the two passes up towards 11,000 feet! I had raced Ironhorse several times before tasting success.

The first year I finished an uneventful 7th. The next year a rider (Bob Roll?) crashed about 20 guys, including me, out of the race as Jonathan Vaughters set the course record. The next year was to be the ultimate climber showdown as a lead group formed of Mike Engleman, Scott Moninger, Michael Carter, Ned Overend, Greg Randolph, Burke Swindlehurst, Mike Carter, Drew Miller, Rishi Grewal, and myself (apologies to anyone of this dirty dozen I can't recall).

The problem was it was pouring rain and freezing cold as we were at 7,000 feet and that meant trouble at nearly 11,000 ft. The police stopped the race at the base of the first pass as the road was closed with snow. We still almost all died of hypothermia trying to either ride or hitch back to town. I am pretty confident that Mike Engleman would have crushed all of us on that day.

The next time I raced Ironhorse I was the strongest rider on the climbs, riding most of the time solo with Mike Engleman, Ned and Burke Swindlehurst chasing me into a slight headwind. We were grouped for the downhill run into the sprint finish. I jumped at 300m and got a convincing gap, and as I cruised to the line I lost focus (easy to do at altitude), and Burke Swindlehurst passed me at the line. The next year I came back with a chip on my shoulder and rode away from Ned to a solo win. Riding the last part of the race solo was an out of body experience that I will never forget.

VT: Your toughest race?

Scott: Any crit! No actually that one is a tie. La Cabra Montana Classica in Spain and that Zinger/Saturn Classic beast in Colorado.

La Cabra was a climber’s trophy race in Spain of 130k that started on a 40k long climb the width of a goat path. Only 35 riders started as if you weren't a great climber you would get shelled 2 miles in. I yo-yoed off the lead group of 12 riders all day and ultimately finished 13th. I was so shattered that I could not physically leave my apartment for 2 days afterwards! That was my last race in Spain, eh.

La Ruta de Sol ran up this climb one year and only 30 riders finished! The 130 mile Zinger is simply the Paris Roubaix of climbing, I have never been a natural endurance guy and factor in allergy-induced asthma in Colorado in August and that equals suffering. I made it to the 100 mile mark both times I entered the race and both times following the race I did not touch my bike for a month afterwards.

VT: Your favorite race?

Scott: La Vuelta de Bisbee (www.lavueltadebisbee.us). If you have not ridden this race, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

VT: Amazing list of winners in the past 25 years at Bisbee: Greg Lemond 1978, Roy Knickman 1985, Kent Bostick 1989, Mike Engleman 1991, Alexi Grewal 1992, Scott Price 2000 and 2001, Scott Moninger 2002 and Drew Miller 2003. Must be nice to have your name in such illustrious company?

Scott: Yes, Bisbee holds a special place in my heart. It is interesting to see the ebb and flow of races and their attendance over the years. Bisbee has gone from one of the biggest pro races to a more local rebuilding period. I actually begged Albert Hopper (the promoter) for 2 years to put the race back on after it was cancelled due to municipal reasons. La Vuelta de Bisbee, with a challenging time trial and road stages, a deep history and a unique local scene, is a mini Tour de France for the working rider.

VT: In these years, you must have seen a lot of changes and growth in the elite and pro racing scene in the USA. What changes stand out the most to you? In your opinion what were the best, the worst?

Scott: One major stand-out is that races like Tour DuPont and even Tour of Georgia come along and muscle in on dates of established races in the West. This has repeatedly put classic races like Washington Trust Classic and Casper Classic out of commission. Then the big budget races like Dupont seem to have a short lifespan and blow up. That leave huge holes that takes sometime to fill if ever. Tour of Georgia is a joke - how it sat on the firmly rooted Bisbee and Gila this year. We will see how many years it (Georgia) lasts.... I give it 4 years max, whereas Bisbee celebrated their 25th in 2003.

VT: I agree as I was shocked to see that Tour of the Gila started two days after Georgia. I mean what is the sense of it? All those years building a race and then undermined by a scheduling snafu. I will say I did predict the Gila would still be as competitive as ever and an exciting race which it was. In fact it was a faster race than last year, in spite of riders telling me it was windier than in previous years, and with the absence of the "big" pro teams. It tells me one thing -  that there has to be a mechanism in place to protect the "classics" so scheduling nightmares on the national calendar like this don’t happen.

Scott: Preach on. It will never happen. Money and politics talk with USA Cycling, period. It is a business first and foremost, and does not always do things in the best interest of cycling. Profit first, appeasing the members a distant second, maybe?

VT: Well, hopefully something in the future can be done to preserve the longer running races in the NRC circuit; I know a few race organizers who would agree.

Join us tomorrow for the next segment where Scott talks more about the change of pro cycling in the last 15 years and lining up with Lance, Eric Dekker and Bobby Julich at the 1996 Tour Dupont. The Landis Trek/VW team and the 2003 Tour of the Gila.

Related articles:
2002 Tour of the Gila - The Gila Monster
2003 Valley of the Sun Stage Race
2003 Tour of the Gila - Road Race

 
Related Articles
Meet Scott Price: Part Two
Meet Scott Price: Part Three
Meet Scott Price: Part Four

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