Tomi Misser, hooked on cyclocross

POST PHOTOGRAPHSJordi Puig

Besides being a die-hard MTB fan, the Orbea Factory Team biker feels a predilection for cyclocross, a discipline he’s been hooked on for several years and one in which, without any specific preparation, he has achieved excellent results, such as sixth place in the Spanish Championships held in Legazpi on January 14.We found out a little more about this side of Tomi Misser and some details about his calendar for the 2018 season.

This season, besides giving it your all in MTB, we’ve seen you compete very hard in the rough, bellicose discipline that is cyclocross, in which you have earned admirable positions in important races. How long have you been doing it?

I’ve been hooked on this discipline for about the last five years. It’s a category which I enjoy a lot, because I see that it is complicated and difficult, and that appeals to me. Since I have other goals during the season, I never prepare for it perfectly well, but even still, I always have good results. Someday I have to seriously prepare for it.

What was your first time like?

Wow, it was a long time ago. I think it was at the Catalonia Championships – still in the Master’s 30 – and I fought it out to the end. I remember that I ended up on the podium. Then, since no one from Team Relay wanted to go to the Spanish Championships, I went with the Catalonia team and it was quite a surprise: I had a lot of fun and ended up in fourth or fifth place. That good experience grew year after year, until now, when I go there much better prepared, thanks to Orbea.

Do you think of CX as a complement to MTB -XC and enduro as a discipline, or is it more of a training?

Right now, everything I do is aimed at enjoying myself as much as possible. For me, CX is like a family gathering where I have a good time because there are many categories, all different types of riders get together, along with well-known people… And my children also compete. It’s a different discipline – intense and very difficult – but also very fun and that always gives me a lot in return. Besides, it also lets me keep on riding in the winter.

On your YouTube channel, we enjoy the tutorial on cyclocross technique where you are joined by two celebrities in cyclocross, namely Ismael Esteban and Felipe Orts. What are the keys to success in this category?

The first thing, like everything in life, is to do it with desire and enthusiasm and to give it your all. In cycling, no matter what the category is, being in good physical shape is super important. So is having clear, set goals, knowing where you are and where you want to go. Like you say, Ismael and Felipe are two experts who are competing in the World Cup, in the best races in Belgium and Holland and doing so at a very high level. And that’s good, because it promotes competitiveness.

Among the good results we were talking about were the 6th place finish at the Spanish CX Elite Championships in Legazpi, the victories in Xàtiva and Sant Joan Despí and the 3rd place in Vic, among others. What is your overall evaluation of your CX campaign? What other races would you highlight?

I am very happy and satisfied because I started out in Sant Joan Despí without many expectations and I managed to come away with a fairly comfortable victory. It was also my first race on the Terra, an all-road bicycle that I also use for cyclocross and that offers great performance. The shame is that the next week I left for the Transcumbres MTB Argentina, an extremely tough and very long race, which eliminated any chance of continuing with that ‘spark’ I need to continue in the CX season. Later, I was able to recover and earn that sixth place at the Spanish Elite Championship, which I am very proud of…

“COMPETING IN CX RACES IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY IS CRAZY”

If we’re talking about specific races, and knowing that it is a category in which the mud is another rival, was there any one that was sheer hell… What CX race was the toughest and most complicated?

In Catalonia, cyclocross is held on dry land. I’ve had only a few races with a lot of mud and bad weather. I always say that competing in CX races in the Basque Country is crazy for me, because of the amount of mud there can be, because I am not used to racing and having to carry the bike, because you need different wheels, you need more bikes than normal….Luckily, this year, thanks to Orbea, I have been able to have all the material I need and I have been able to compete in a race in these conditions (the Spanish Championships in Legazpi) and come in ahead.

On the other hand, you have run into a race in which you were surprised by your performance and the ease with which you have ridden. Which races do you have the fondest memories of?

In particular, the first ones. The Spanish Championship in Gandía was special. My kids were still little and we went to see how it would go. We were there for the weekend of racing, seeing the different categories, preparing for mine. This experience was special and it was what hooked me on the discipline.

In these races, you’ve relied on Orbea’s all-terrain gravel bike: it. What did you think about the performance of a bike that, a priori, is not designed for this discipline?

It’s true that the geometry of the Terra is more oriented towards gravel than cyclocross, for which it might need just a bit more acceleration and a specific wheel pitch when you have to mount wider tires. However, I felt quite at home with the Terra and the projected angle worked well for me in certain areas. It also provided me with a great deal of security in stretches with fast curves, since it is a little longer than a cyclocross bike. I’ve supplemented the acceleration with more effort and entering faster into the curves. In short, it’s a super comfortable multipurpose bike that I have also used for long road rides. In the end, more and more, with such specialization, people can’t have ten different bikes at home. A bike like this that lets you ride on gravel, cyclocross, spend the day on the road with your friends…its highly recommendable.

“I WOULD LOVE TO TELL ABOUT WHAT THE ENDURO WORLD SERIES ARE LIKE ON THE INSIDE!”

What are your challenges for 2018 with the Orbea Factory Team?

This year, I’m very excited because I am going to do new and different things. We’ll be with the ‘Imparables’ at several stage events and then I’ll focus on shorter road races and an enduro competition or two…I would love to tell about what the Enduro World Series are like on the inside! Especially the Ainsa EWS, in Huesca. There are other cool challenges, like the Singletrack 6 in Canada. They’re commitments that are making me feel very motivated for 2018.

Can you tell us about your upcoming calendar for 2018?

Well, the next thing is that in February we’re going to the Mediterranean Epic, in Castellón, with the ‘Imparables’, where we will select the new member of the group from among all the participants in the contest we launched a few weeks ago. The truth is that the proposal has generated a lot of excitement, and more than 6,200 people have participated. I feel bad that only one can go, because the truth is that it’s been incredible how people have responded to this proposal.

What is your goal for this race?

I don’t just participate in anything. If I enter, I’m there to win. Just participating is not part of my DNA.I always try to do my best possible and be in the top positions. I’m competitive and I try to be the best in what I do. I’ll try to do as much as possible and to do my best. The goal is to transmit to people passion for bicycles so they can learn from our experiences.

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