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Mark McConnell Post CX Worlds Interview

by Ben Andrew

February 02, 2017 (Bieles, Luxembourg) – Mark “Hot Sauce” McConnell finished 55th in the Elite Men’s Cyclo-cross World Championships, held in Bieles, Luxembourg this past weekend. McConnell, a self-made pro who supports his racing primarily through personal sponsorships such as Louis Garneau Sports and 4iiii Innovations Inc., as well as by selling products to his “Hot Sauce” followers, has made a steady progression over the last few seasons, both within the Canadian cyclo-cross scene, as well as in Europe. Pedal Magazine had the opportunity to chat with McConnell following the World Championships, and this is what he had to say about his race:

Mark McConnell (Canada)  ©  Cor Vos
How was your race?
Mark McConnell: I had good legs with bad luck. I mean, everyone had their share of flats — we were riding through a freaking gravel pit after all. But I also got tangled up in a crash on the start, went over the bars, bent the rear derailleur and was DFL [dead last] with about two gears to use on my way to the first pit. I rallied hard and caught back up with Mike [van den Ham] and Jeremy [Martin], but paid for it later on the zapping course and faded a tad.

Mark McConnell  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Is it fair to say the course was as hard as it looked?
MC: Absolutely. It was the kind of course you had to really plan out and temper your efforts. The climbs packed a painful punch, and the descents were harrowing at times if you didn’t have your head screwed on straight. All this along with the proper mud made it a race to be remember for a long time. Hats off to the organizers — they foresaw the venues potential and delivered.

What was your tire of choice and pressure you ran?
MC: Challenge Limus. 21psi front / 23 psi rear. Two flats in total.

Mark McConnell  ©  Cor Vos
How was the atmosphere out on course?
MC: As good as it ever was. Worlds always brings out a great mix from all over. The crowd was electric in all the right places. It was so cool to ride around hearing people screaming “Go Hot Sauce” left and right. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it so often in any Euro race previously. Must be catching on.

What’s next? Looking forward to taking a break?
MC: I’m heading home to Calgary now after two months of extended racing overseas. I’m going to take my dog Charlie for a run, and catch up with my wife Aimee over a bottle of wine. If I were to repeat this process every day for the next month, I think it will be a fantastic off season! But maybe I’ll trim the wine a bit. After all, ‘cross is coming!

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