Aspire Interviews: Scott Hogg
Colorado master’s cyclist and Aspire Cycling athlete Scott Hogg (Modern Market p/b GR Capital) had a remarkable 2021 season. After an 8-year hiatus from racing, he returned in full force—never finishing outside the top 5 in road events and winning the Master’s State Crit Championships along the way while also combining his road ambitions with grueling gravel races.
With such a diversity of races and a long season, balancing fitness and fatigue while also preparing for specific demands of his “A races” was a unique challenge. We caught up with Scott to learn more about him, his 2021 season, his training, and his goals for the future.
Q: How did you get into cycling?
Scott: “As a kid I rode BMX bikes for fun, every summer I was out pedaling. Once I got a car, —I got a Datsun 510-- it was such a bad car that I got a mountain bike to ride across campus and that’s when I got into cycling. Not only was it a great way of transportation but I really enjoyed getting out on the trails. Then I eventually got a road bike and raced off and on since the 90’s… but recently took 8 years off, I was still riding recreationally here and there but this was my first year back racing.”
Q: What made you decide to come back to racing?
Scott: During COVID I got a gravel bike and getting out and exploring new roads helped me deal with the stress of the whole situation… and being out in the middle of nowhere was a great way to social distance. Then I started to think ‘well, maybe I could sign up for some gravel races…’ Then I started to put in more miles and got connected with my current team and that really energized me to get back into it at my advanced age.
Q: Did you ever think you’d come back to racing?
The last several years I was just riding for fun, but I wasn’t thinking about racing. I thought those days were behind me, but after COVID I got to put in a decent number of miles and felt stronger… that gave me that sense that maybe I would be able to hang in there in a race. That’s when I started thinking that maybe I could race again.
Q: What were your expectations heading into the first race of the season?
I felt like I would be able to handle the distance and that I could probably hang on… but then I also remembered how hard racing was and just that feeling of being on the limit when someone attacks and someone is just riding off into the sunset, then you’re like ‘man! I wish I was fitter.’ I was definitely anxious thinking maybe I couldn’t stay with the group… or maybe I could just hang on and finish in the pack. I guess I didn’t really know what to expect.
Q: Tell us about that first race
I was sitting at the back and three miles in there was a touch of wheels and I went down… I was so mad I was like ‘No, this is not how I’m going to start getting back into racing!” It wasn’t bad though. I was the only one who went down, so I got back on the bike and just powered back to the group and I was amazed that I could do that. I thought when I went down my race was over… but I ended up getting fourth. I was totally surprised that I could crash and get fourth.
Q: Your big goal of the season was the State Champ Crit. What preparation went into winning the State Championship?
Three weeks before I had done a really hard 100-mile gravel race. First it was all about recovering, having [Coach Landry] tell me to go easy for a week was key. Then it was some intensity with just a little bit of miles to come into the race rested.
Q: How did you feel heading into such an important event?
I was pretty confident in the preparation and so instead of being anxious, I felt excited to go and race. Instead of having all of those negative thoughts of “oh, it’s gonna be hard” or “I just don’t want to crash,” I was just positive and thinking “I can do this. I can be safe. It’s gonna be a good day.” I think having confidence in my preparation helped a lot with that.
Q: You’d been riding for 30 years or so before ever working with a coach. How did the coaching experience compare to your training in the past?
Most of the time it was just riding by myself and very unstructured. Just volumetric. I’d go out and ride, maybe ride hard on some hills and then taper for a few days and hoped I’d be ready. There was no way to quantify it without a power meter. It was just distance and time, that’s all I had.
When I started coaching in the winter, [Coach Landry] had me doing specific things to build strength: build large muscles, work on core strength, slow-frequency repetitions, certain intervals-- that sort of thing. I had all these weaknesses from before, just not having the strength or endurance. I had no idea about any of that.
I started riding with power and [Landry] was able to look at the data and give me specific workouts to help me with my weaknesses. I was riding maybe about the same number of miles, but it was spaced out over more days, like 5-6 days/week instead of 4 days per week. It was very intentional, and the results showed.
The other super important thing was rest. It was all very strategically placed-- but not too much rest. Oftentimes I would rest the week before the race but then I was supposed do a harder ride the day before. At times I thought “wow, that seems like a lot the day before a race,” but it really helped me to get ready for a race. It was much better than my haphazard approach before.
Q: What was the best part of the coaching experience?
I think just having a specific objective for each ride and the accountability. It was also great to have someone to readjust the plan when the calendar changed. It’s not like everything went exactly the way it was planned out in January, but it was adaptive to whatever I had going on or how a race went.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
I learned a lot this year and I’m looking forward to building on this and getting even stronger.
Q; What are you most proud of from this season?
I’m most proud of working hard, sticking to the plan and the results that came from that. Setting a goal, doing what it takes to get there, and executing is the best feeling.
Q: Did you think back in January you’d have a mandatory upgrade?
I thought maybe I’d get some top 10s and do OK in a couple of races. I didn’t really think I would have all of the success that I did. The results surpassed my expectations of what was possible. I thought maybe I’d get a few upgrade points here and there but I didn’t think I’d hit the limit.