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An interview with Wade Bootes

Getting to World Cup level in one cycling discipline is pretty impressive, racing in two disciplines even more so. For BMX, mountain bike downhill and four-cross rider Wade Bootes, who recently made his track World Cup debut at Moscow, racing in four different disciplines at a World Cup level is all part of the job, as he tells Paul Mirtschin.

Cyclingnews spoke to Wade after he had returned to Australia, having just competed in the Moscow Track World Cup, and just before he flew out for the Trek/VW training camp and Subaru Nova Desert Classic.

Photo: © Keli N. Medcroft
Click for larger image

Wade Bootes

DOB: May 30, 1974
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 194 lbs
Resides: Broad Beach, QLD, Australia
Website: wadebootes.com

Selected palmares

Tissot/UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #6 - 5th (DL)
World Championships - 7th (DL)
Tissot/UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #5 - 9th (DL)
Tissot/UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #3 - 4th (DL)
NORBA #3 - 5th (DL)
NORBA #2 - 2nd (DL)
Tissot/UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #2 - 8th (DL)
Tissot/UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #1 - 2nd (DL)
Track World Cup #1 - 8th
NORBA #1 - 1st (DL)
Mercury Sea Otter Classic - 2nd (4X), 8th (DH)

US ABA Nationals - 4th (BMX)
World Championships Vail - 3rd (DL)
Vars-World Cup Kaprun #2 - 4th (DL)
Kaprun World Cup #7 - 3rd (DH)
Arai World Cup #5 - 1st (DL)
Durango World Cup #4 - 2nd (DL)
Grouse Mountain World Cup #3 - 5th (DL)
Sea Otter Classic Stage Race - 1st (DL)

Kaprun World Cup #7 - 3rd (DL)
Arai World Cup #6 - 2nd (DL)
Vail World Cup #5 - 5th (DL)
Subaru Gorge Games - 2nd (DL)
World Championships - 1st (DL)
Maribor World Cup #3 - 2nd (DL)
Les Gets World Cup #1 - 4th (DL)
Sea Otter Classic Stage Race - 5th (DH)
Winter X Games USA Snow Downhill - 6th (DH)
NORBA #6 - 1st (DL)
NORBA #5 - 2nd (DL)
ABA Grand Nationals - 3rd (BMX)
2000 ABA Champion (BMX)
2000 World Champion (Dual)

Cyclingnews: You recently raced at the Moscow World Cup track meet; can you tell us how that went?

Wade Bootes: It was well worth the experience... I ended up doing a personal best of 10.6 in the flying 200 but it was not good enough to qualify for the sprint race on the day, so disappointing in one way but good in another. We finished eighth in the team sprint which once again I did a personal best of an unofficial standing 250m of 18.5 (Moscow was a 333m track). So with the little time I have had on a track bike and the few weeks of training I had with the AIS in Adelaide, I think I am doing pretty good for a rookie track cyclist. I have to say I am really impressed with the world class sprinters, also I give a lot of props to the sprinters at the AIS.

CN: Has the transition from mountain biking and BMX to track been as easy as the transition from BMX to mountain biking? Are their any areas that you are still getting used to?

Photo: © Keli N. Medcroft
Click for larger image

WB: I always thought with track cycling all you needed to do is pedal hard, fast and turn left... how hard can the transition be? But it is more than just that. The big gears took a little to get used to, but it is the timing of running someone down and judging your speed for a sprint, this is still a problem area for me and it is only time and more race experience to figure and feel it all out. For sure, the training was a big transition for me, the road miles and constant hammering the legs at the gym and track in training sessions took its toll. But with mixing them all together, it is all explosive power but different bike and race skill.

CN: Why do you think that BMX riders seem to be attracted to track racing? Do you think there is a shelf life on racing BMX?

WB: The Olympics! With the waiting to see if BMX will ever make it to the Olympics, time may be the major factor for some athletes. So this is why you are seeing so many trying to give it a go, it is most definitely not because of fame and fortune, this is why you will only see guys try to go all the way with track racing if they have a chance to represent their country.

CN: Track is the fourth cycling discipline you have raced in at a UCI World Cup level (Track, DH, BMX, Dual/4X), are there any plans to add a fifth?

WB: I have not really thought about it, but if there is a chance for me to do so, it will have to be something short. When I am all done with racing, I want to be remembered as a successful, multi-talented cyclist... so bring on the challenge.

CN: Does road riding feature much in your training?

Photo: © Keli N. Medcroft
Click for larger image

WB: Not really, usually it is an hour easy ride a week, more of a recovery ride Monday after racing on a weekend. Lately it has been a lot more than that with training with the sprinters in Adelaide. They ride everywhere, to the gym, to the track to train, and then ride all the way back again. I think I am going to start riding to the gym and warming up more on the road bike before I do sprints or a work out.

CN: What do your sponsors think of the track racing?

WB: Hmmm, I'm not sure... I think the engineers at Trek are more excited with me racing track as they get to build a one-off track bike for me. But I think they are happy that I am able to ride many disciplines in cycling... I believe they are getting their money's worth out of me!

CN: You have come a long way since you landed in the US and drove a beat-up old van to races, is there anything you miss about the "old days"?

WB: Wow, the early days when I had to add a quart of oil for every fill up of gas in the van... I sure put in some time in doing it the hard way, and struggled to get to some races. Without those days, I don't think I would appreciate all the things I have accomplished or have right now. For sure it was a great life experience but I would prefer to be where I am now.

CN: You are currently dating Rochelle (Gilmore), between your schedule and hers; do you actually get a chance to see each other off the bike?

WB: You have done some research I see!

Sure, we have been spending a lot of time together lately between training and our races, at her place near Sydney and mine at the Gold Coast.

When we both finalize our schedules for the year, we will then arrange to spend as much time together as we can. As it looks we will be crossing paths a few times this season, with me racing in Europe a few times and Rochelle in the States. So yeah, things are looking good. Rochelle is a wonderful girl.

CN: With the rumour of BMX being considered for the Olympics, would the inclusion of the sport change your plans of racing for Australia on the track at the Olympics?

WB: Sure, I would like to race in the Olympics. For what discipline I don't think it would matter as long as I would get to represent my country and that I am fast enough to do well. But it is time that is not on my side, not having enough time to train on the track bike due to trying to make a living racing MTB and BMX and time with waiting to see if BMX will make it in there. I may be too old to jump 35 foot doubles when they finally figure it all out.

CN: Finally, where can you see Wade Bootes in ten years' time?

WB: Ten years? Hmmm, I guess I would be retired from racing bikes, hopefully married with a family and enjoying life at my house at the Gold Coast. I don't have any plans for now for when I retire from racing, I am just living one dream at a time.

With that, Wade was off to prepare for the Trek/VW training camp, where Stephen Medcroft caught up with him to talk mountain bikes. That interview will follow soon.


Images by Keli N. Medcroft at the Subaru Nova Desert Classic

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