Eli Iserbyt Q&A
We wanted to get to know Eli a little bit better, so we asked him a few questions:
First things first, do you have any pets? Are you a dog person or a cat person?
I have 2 dogs, Wolf and Moos. I’m a huge fan of dogs. They’re always very kind and give you a lot of love.
How many languages do you speak? Any hobbies we should know about?
I speak 4 languages. In Belgium we are obligated to learn Dutch, French, German and English!
I like to make coffee besides racing. With my Rocket Espresso machine, I’m well equipped!
How (and at what age,) did you start riding/racing bikes? Were you always involved with Cyclocross, or did you start with other disciplines?
My first love is indeed cyclocross. At the age of 13, I started doing some races but always combined with playing football (soccer). At the age of 15, I stopped playing football and cyclocross became my number one hobby!
CX racing is huge in Belgium. How did that affect your start in Cyclocross?
I always watched cyclocross on TV when winter arrived. It made me start riding my bike and it’s definitely the reason why I started cycling.
Your family is a big part of your support team; how did they impact your racing?
Without the help of a family, there wouldn’t be a good rider. They help you throughout the week and during races. My family are my mechanics, soigneurs... so everybody is well connected!
Now some questions about your racing! Do you have a pre-race ritual? Any superstitions?
Starting the warmup on the rollers 35mins before every race is the only real ritual I have.
What warm up music do you listen to?
Most of the time electronic dance. It really pumps up the feeling
How do you decide gloves/no gloves for a race?
Below 10*C I mostly decide to use gloves
You’ve had an amazing season so far: did you do anything different ramping up to your first season in the Elites?
I started a little bit earlier (July) with specific cyclocross training. Less endurance and more interval on a hilly trainings parcours. It helped a lot to increase power!
You train with ROTOR 2INpower but race with simple Aldhu cranks. Is seeing the power number less important when you’re racing or are there other considerations?
While training it is very important to have the 2INpower. Without that I could not perform on a high level! You need to know the data to improve as cyclist.
In the CX races it’s very hard to get info out of your power meter. We are always going full gas so heartrate is also important.
How do you use your 2INpower in training?
My training is build through power charts. So without the 2INpower I could not do the best training rides as possible. We use it for endurance, interval and vo2max training. It’s great to use the 2INpower because we know it’s the best product on the market!
Do you have any tips for riders that are new to training with power?
The first year you have to get used to what power is and how you can adjust your training on power charts. L/R balance is very important as well. In the beginning, it’s like you cannot ride a steady pace but after a while you really use your muscles more efficiently
Your wins in your first Elite fields in Waterloo, Jinglecross, then Bern showed everyone you are a serious contender for the UCI overall points win for the season. Was it part of your strategy to own the UCI standings from the start?
The plan was indeed to be as good as possible from the beginning of the season. It was a bit unexpected to perform that well in my first year as elite! So we were surprised as well!
Waterloo had some really challenging conditions, with crazy mud. How do you decide what tire pressure to run for muddy races?
It’s all about feeling the ground and having as much grip as possible. When I feel that it’s still to slippery, then I lower pressure. But considering stones and roots as well. It’s a bit like finding a balance between as low as possible for grip, but still not too low to avoid a flat.
How do you keep your peak form fresh for months of racing during the CX season? Any pro tips?
Don't overreach your body. Listen to it and plan a rest day if you need it. Doing too much is very easy in a hard season. The balance between resting a lot and training a lot is hard to find. But most of the time you body tells you what to do!
You are known for being a clean, consistent rider, making few mistakes. How do you decide when to take risks to make a big move?
I like to feel comfortable on track and risks are always calculated. When I attack, I mostly know on what part I can take a big risk and where not. So the pre race course ride is very important!
We’ve seen a lot of other top CX racers getting involved in other disciplines, like Road & MTB racing. Do you see yourself branching out at any point?
I really like to ride uphill in road races. So maybe I want to try to start one day in the Tour de France! :-)
Last one: what are your big goals for this season, and how does that build into next year?
My big goal this year is the overall UCI World Cup win. Besides that, the Belgian and World championships are very important! Next year we have the same goal.
Ride what Eli rides: