By Walt Armstrong & Jaime Nichols
USPS Support man Dylan Casey is known for his strong time trialing abilities and for giving his all in support of his team. Dylan is a US Olympian, from Sydney's 2000 games, and can list stage wins at the Redlands Classic, the Tour of Luxembourg and The Four Days of Dunkerque in his palmares. In 1999, he has finished 6th in the first Union Invitational.
He is also quite an accomplished track racer. In 1998, Dylan won both the USCF National Road Cycling Championships individual time trial and the EDS National Track Cycling Championships individual pursuit. He is a gold medallist in the 1999 Pan Am games in individual pursuit on the track, as well.
Dylan has had some hard knocks in the past two years, and they all seem to hit him at the same time! Last year's Four Days of Dunkerque left him with a broken pelvis and collarbone, and this year, he left that same race with two broken fingers and a head injury that left him disoriented and bleeding, but somehow he managed to carry on. Dylan's a tough cookie, and you can read all about it on his very engaging and frequently updated website.
He returns to the states this month to prepare to support USPS teammate George Hincapie's bid for the Stars and Stripes jersey at the USPRO Championships in Philadelphia on June 9th. The Daily Peloton caught up with Dylan and found out that he is on his way back from his injuries and what's more, he's ready for some candy!
You had a lot of trouble in Dunkerque! How is your health now?
After crashing in Dunkerque I spent two days in bed not being able to hold down any food so I didn't arrive home in the US until last Monday. It was a rough week because in addition to being injured and all the travel, I was completely empty from not being able to eat. But, I'm happy to report that my legs and health came around at the Housatonic Classic, so I'm feeling a ton better.
Have you recovered from your injuries in the Dunkerque race?
I'm still having difficulty holding onto the handlebars, which is why I didn't even attempt to go for a place in the sprint at the Housatonic; but other than that I'm feeling really good and have been able to train well this week.
Would you have raced the TT stage this year if your Doctor hadn't pulled you out?
Ultimately, I could have finished the TT, but the team Doctor looked at me after finishing the morning stage and told me that to continue would be stupid, and that I was only doing more damage. He was concerned because I was looking really bad, and after a head injury it sometimes takes a day or two to really determine the severity of the injury.
What kept you going for so long in Dunkerque?
I was determined to have a good ride at Dunkerque because I had really good form. I've won there before, it's a race where I have the opportunity to win, and to ride for myself and I feel like I owe it to the team after not winning a race in 2001.
Plus it's my job to race so I don't give up very easily.
George Hincapie tells us that the USPS team is "strong and we have several cards to play." Will you be riding in support of George or will you be one of the "cards to play?"
George will for sure be our designated leader going into the races, but as the race unfolds there are always opportunities that present themselves and since we have many guys on the team that can accomplish the team goal of winning, we have several cards to play.
How is it working for George?
Working for George is very rewarding both personally, and for the team. One year at the Tour of Holland George gave up a stage win to help me finish 3rd overall and those are the types of situations that make it easy to give everything for him.
George and I are really good friends and I not only enjoy working for George, but also know he appreciates it, so it makes it that much better.
How about the Lancaster or Trenton races, will you get the green light in either one of those?
In a race like Lancaster, it usually comes down to a small group and if I'm there with George or one of the other guys, we'll work together to win the race. That's all the matters. It doesn't matter who wins only that we accomplish the goal of the Team. This is the philosophy at US Postal and it's one of the reasons our team is so strong and special.
How does racing in the US compare with racing in Europe?
Racing in the US requires us to be much more tactical because there are fewer big teams to control or animate the race, and everyone always looks to us to make things happen when we race here so we have to take those factors into consideration here in the US.
How are us fans in the US compared with the European ones?
US fans are great, and they really get into the races, but they also expect way more of us than the European fans do.
When you say American fans expect way more than the Europeans what do you mean by that?
Many of the fans that we (The US Postal Service Team) have are not necessarily big cycling fans, or really know all the intricacies of cycling like many of the Europeans do, so it seems like American fans expect us to totally dominate every race.
For example if I run into a fan in the airport they almost seem confused to hear that I got 2nd.
What do you love about your job? What keeps you turning over the pedals in spite of all the suffering and sacrifice?
I never started cycling to pursue it as a career or job. Cycling was, and is my passion.
I have an addiction to racing my bike and racing on my team. Even if I don't win, or my teammates don't win the race, if we're there mixing it up and really having a go it totally fuels my excitement for suffering and sacrificing each and every day.
Besides, the sweet taste of victory and success are afforded to those who can eat bitterness. I'm ready for some candy because I've had my fair share of lemons lately!