Brevard professional cyclist Matthew Busche won the USA National Road Championships last week for the second time in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Busche rode the 179-kilometer race without any teammates to assist him through humid conditions, with the skies eventually opening up and dumping rain on the racers.
“It wasn’t super hot or sunny, but it was really humid, and you could feel it,” he said. “It rained a little part way through the race, and the last 10 or 12 kilometers it was raining quite hard. It made things a little interesting. The last descent off Lookout Mountain was tough. When it first starts raining, all the oil comes up from the road, and it was super sketchy. Thankfully, I avoided any mishaps.”
The championship is a tough race, as many cyclists across the country have their eyes set on it and spend a whole year training for that one race.
Busche won in 2011, and he said every year he gets extra psyched up for it.
“It’s always a race I’m going for,” he said. “For any champ they all want to wear their country’s colors. I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have won it again.”
Busche broke a bone in his wrist at the end of January. This set his training back, and he had only one race before the Tour of California, but he was able to use his accumulated fitness from that race to piggyback over into the nationals.
“You can train as much as you want, but it’s hard to race a week-long race and be at your top level,” he said. “In stage seven or eight (of California) I fell off the pace due to a lack of miles in my legs.
“Everything fell into place, thankfully. I was able to be in the right place at the right time and things worked out for me.
“California was my main goal, so it’s easy to carry that form for one week more. My family was there. It’s nice to race in the U.S. and have them there to watch. When I’m in Europe, they can’t see me race.”
Busche finished five seconds up on second-place Joe Dombrowski.
Busche is headed to the Criterium du Dauphine next week, an eight-day stage race in France and then will return to the States to focus on both the Tours of Utah and Colorado, and then the UCI World Championships in Richmond, Va., which starts Sept. 19. His sponsor, Trek Factory Racing, has made it a goal for Busche to focus on the American races this year, and Busche is particularly excited about the World Championship.
“It will be really fun for me, and it’s not so often you can race the Worlds in your own country. My family will be there too,” he said.