Team CLIF Bar Cycling is a great group of guys; a tight-knit crit team that truly enjoys racing and hanging out with each other. They’re also one of the most experienced D1 teams in the USA Crits series. After COVID forced a race-free 2020 season, it was anyone’s guess how 2021 would stack up. For these guys, getting back to racing, and even more so, back together as a team, has sparked new hunger.
We catch up with the team just ahead of finals in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Team CLIF Bar’s camaraderie couldn’t be more evident as they selflessly race to support Conor Mullervy towards a podium finish in the USA Crits leaderboard.
Being able to get back to racing with teammates you trust and are your friends sure does make racing that much more enjoyable.Conor Mullervy
VYNL Bikes: 2021 has been a condensed, action-pack season of racing after a year-long break. How has it been to be back?
Team CLIF Bar Cycling: I really enjoy the racing coming back. It’s been so fun to get all of the sensations of competition and taking corners at high speeds again! For me, getting back to racing has come with the goal to give it my all at every race, as there have been no guarantees that we’d have a full race season in 2021. -Paul Warner
VYNL Bikes: COVID protocols, a delayed start, you name it…what has been particularly unique about this season?
Team CLIF Bar Cycling: The season is stacked at the end! It’s unique in that we have to be quick on our toes and pivot when a race gets cancelled or something new comes up. Fitness is just sort of ongoing vs. really periodized but it’s all working out for us so far. It’s also been important to stay in the groove of distancing and wearing a mask as needed. -Zack Allison
VYNL Bikes: Is there a different energy to racing this year?
Team CLIF Bar Cycling: Yes! Everyone seems faster and the racing has never been more competitive! – Owen Gillott
VYNL Bikes: How has your team dynamic paid off in this unique season?
Team CLIF Bar Cycling: We are really close as teammates. We choose to stay in touch and be around each other on and off the bike. That camaraderie is hard to come by. In races, it translates to better and more efficient teamwork. I know Conor is really hungry to be on the USA Crits overall podium and he will do an unbelievable amount of work in a race. We’ve raced together since college so I can tell when he’s starting to get antsy and needs to roll into moves. At El Paso, I could feel that energy from him and knew that I had to cover moves as much as possible so that he’d be fresher for the bigger attacks and the finish. -Zack Allison
VYNL Bikes: What are your goals going into Finals?
Team CLIF Bar Cycling: Have a great race and hold onto my overall USA Crits podium position! -Conor Mullervy
Keep Conor in the top 3 overall! -Zack Allison
Help Conor hold his position in the overall rider competition. -Chris Stuart
Support Conor and cover as many moves as humanly possible. -Paul Warner
Hey, Team CLIF Bar, good luck this weekend!