By: George Piepgras, Junior Cyclist
Under normal circumstances the following is the blog post I was hoping to write: I am really excited to share that I will be racing DK200 again this year! Last year I had the opportunity to race DK after winning the Saris drawing for the event. This year, while I hope to improve on my performance, I am most excited just to get to experience the amazing DK energy again.
I spent the majority of last Fall racing cyclocross all around the US at Junior UCI races, though, sadly, my season was cut short when I crashed hopping barriers and fractured my wrist/radius a few weeks before Nationals in Tacoma. After a two-week break, I pivoted on my goals and returned to training.
Since then I have been putting in the miles in preparation for DK. I mostly used a trainer to meet my needs during our long Massachusetts winter, and ramped up my training to incorporate much more base, tempo, and threshold work. Training during the week has always been a juggling act between school, homework, and workout duration. This year, as a senior, my workload was less than it has been in previous years and I have been able to train longer and harder, while still maintaining a 4.0+ GPA. Using a direct drive smart-trainer and Zwift has made riding indoors much more fun and productive.
I am really excited to have the opportunity to race DK again- no other event quite compares with it. DK has been a goal in the back of my mind since I finished 30th overall at the event last year. To be able to race again with the help of Saris means so much to me as a junior athlete and student.
But, COVID-19 has drastically changed the world that we live in right now. Racing bikes seems small in the grand scheme of things. Riding bikes, though, has been a great way to have some structure in my life and I am so thankful to have goals and dreams to focus on. My school has closed, and has moved to online classes, and I cannot see friends. Riding has provided me the mental space to clear my head, exercise my body, and think about a better future for our world.
Last week the decision was made to postpone DK to September 12, 2020. I am still training hard for DK but with the extension of time it means that there is less pressure right now to get ready. I look forward to the day when we can all race again, and I hope to see you rolling around the flint hills. I am so thankful Saris gave me that target. I wish you all health and peace.
George Piepgras, 18 years old, is currently a high school senior at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, MA. In the fall he will be attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where he will be racing on the varsity cycling team and studying biology. George loves all types of cycling; especially cyclocross and gravel. Last year George raced the DK 200 for the first time and placed 29th overall. He also raced in multiple UCI junior 17-18 cyclocross races, placing in the top 5 multiple times before he hopped those barriers and broke his wrist. In the Summer and Fall of 2020 George is focusing on gravel and cyclocross, but will also race road and MTB, (social distancing permitting). This coming cyclocross season George will be a first-year U23, while still a junior for road, gravel, and MTB. George is looking forward to college, and racing this fall!