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Off the Beaten Road with Chris Baldwin on BISSELL: healthy food, Hawaii, and a Big Wheel

March 24, 2012

Chris Baldwin at the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Vail (photo by Roxanne King, Flickr)

In what sporting profession are Midwestern values — like hard work and lending a helping hand — essential? Here’s a hint: Chris Baldwin on the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team knows the answer. It’s a career he’s dedicated twelve years to and counting — professional cycling.

Add to that list of values humility, stability, and love of family, and together with a pair of killer blue eyes you’ve got Baldwin, who was born in Chicago and grew up in Michigan. He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

  • Humility: in an interview before the 2011 USA Pro Challenge prologue in the Garden of the Gods, Baldwin said in reply to a question about his objectives for the race, “You have to be humble about your objectives. For me at my level if the moons align and I have the best ride I can possibly do, that’s a top 10 at these races, top 15 is probably more realistic.” He finished 15th in the GC in Colorado, ahead of Andy Schleck and Robert Gesink.
  • Stability: Baldwin has been a pillar of the American domestic racing scene since he turned professional in 1999, a solid performer overall without pretension.
  • Love of family: one look at a photo of Baldwin with his wife Kimberly says it all — she matters to him, more than anything. In an interview with Road Magazine, Baldwin said, “She is my biggest fan and where most of my support comes from.”

    Chris Baldwin casual, December 2011

Baldwin has brought that stability and experience to BISSELL, where he is “the elder statesman” on the team. ProVeloPassion hopes Baldwin considers his age an asset and will continue his career to mentor young talent, like Patrick Bevin, a teammate who just won Stage 1 on March 23rd at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, where Baldwin is also racing.

Does Baldwin seek out a “man-cave” at home, or carry a good luck charm to races? Get to know Baldwin better with this Off the Beaten Road set of “not your usual interview questions” that follow an update from him in-between racing at the San Dimas Stage Race and Redlands Bicycle Classic. 

Q: How would you compare San Dimas and Redlands in terms of what you enjoy about each race?

“San Dimas is a nice ‘warm up’ for Redlands, where the competition is deeper and the stages more challenging. They are similar in the combination of a good short TT and gaining or eliminating time bonuses are the keys to victory. Redlands is not a race that suits me other than that I work hard every off season, and am usually fairly fit.”

Q: You go into San Dimas having won that uphill TT before. What would be a great performance for you at San Dimas?

“Well, with San Dimas in the rearview mirror, personally it would be hard to call it anything but a disappointment. I like the 5km climbing TT to gauge the winter’s training and check the form. I was pretty far back! Team-wise, Bissell rode a fantastic race with the highlight 1st and 3rd in the criterium.”

Q: What are your passions outside of the bike and bike racing and why do you enjoy them?

“I am a pretty simple dude. I really enjoy relaxing with my wife, cooking or going out to dinner. We are both pretty into delicious, healthy food. We are currently searching the islands of Hawaii for the best fish tacos! I also like wood working (building furniture and home improvements). And I love to downhill ski, but I have put a bit of a hold on it during my career!

“I enjoy these things because….well because I enjoy them! I definitely feel a sense of acomplishment if I build or fix something myself. And eating and flying down a ski hill, well that’s just fun!” 

Q: I’ve read that you cross-train by hiking; if this is still right, what are some of your favorite places to hike?

“To be honest, I don’t cross train much. I lift weights and ride my bike a lot. I have always felt riding a bike is the best training for riding a bike. I do enjoy hiking though, and Boulder is full of great hikes. The coolest hike I’ve ever done by far is the Napali coast in Kaui, Hawaii.” 

Q: You often mention you love racing with the best in the sport. If we could create a cycling nirvana where you could race against three pros who rode before your time, who would they be and why?

“Lemond  (stories about an American breaking through a Euro sport), Indurain (always seemed like a crazy nice guy), and Ullrich (I enjoy hearing the stories from the Eastern Block, those are tough dudes).”

Q: What are your favorite beers?

“I love beer….all of it!  I like a Dos Equis Amber or Easy Street Wheat (Odell Brewing) if it’s hot out. I like Fin du Monde from Canada or Chimay Grande Reserve from Belgium if I’ve had a bad day. I also like Ellies Brown, and Ranger from New Belgium. Oh and Oberon from Bells in my home state of Michigan. And I can’t lie, my neighbor got me into Bud Light Lime….it’s like crack.”

 Q: What kinds of things make you absolutely nutty?

“Any action or person who acts like they are the only person in the world with no regard for those around them. You know, the driver that sits at an intersection without a turn signal on so you can’t go because you don’t know what they will do, that sort of thing. Or motorists who think it’s ‘their’ road.”  

Q: How would you describe riding on the trainer during a snowstorm in Boulder?

“Work.”

Q: When I was a kid, I liked to ________ .

“Haul ass on my Big Wheel.”

Q: Do you have a good luck charm that you wear or carry to races?

“I usually bring a note my wife wrote me when I won a national championship. It reminds me how lucky I am to have the support that I do.”

Q: If you were alone on a deserted island and only got one thing to eat, what would it be?

“Large fig and prosciutto pizza from the Secret Stash in Crested Butte Colorado. But don’t tell anyone about this place, I don’t like to wait!” [sorry for sharing this, Chris; maybe fans will get you one in August during the USA Pro Challenge.]

Q: Do you have a “man-cave” at home and if yes, when do you go there?

“Not really, but we have an “L” couch and Kimberly is nice enough to give me the sweet spot on ‘er.” 

Q: What’s the happiest moment you have ever experienced off the bike?

“Wedding day.” 

Look for Baldwin at his next races, the Tour of the Gila and the Amgen Tour of California in May.

Teams

2011 to present — BISSELL Pro Cycling Team

2010 — UnitedHealthCare p/b Maxxis

2009 — Rock Racing, Ouch p/b Maxxis

2006 — 2008 – Team Toyota United Pro

1999 — 2005 – Team Navigator Insurance

Career Highlights

  • USPRO Time Trial Championships, 3rd 2002, 1st 2003, 1st 2005, 2nd 2006, 8th 2007
  • Pan Am Games Time Trial, 2nd 2003
  • 2011 — 2nd overall, 2nd stage 2, Tour de Toona; 2nd stage 3 and 6th overall, Cascade Classic; 3rd overall, Redlands Bicycle Classic; 15th overall, USA Pro Cycling Challenge
  • 2010 — 1st stage 1, 2nd stage 2, Steamboat Springs Stage Race; 6th stage 1, San Dimas Stage Race
  • 2009 — 1st, Mike Horgan Hill Climb; 1st stage 2, 2nd overall, Mt. Hood Cycling Classic; 2nd stage 1, 3rd overall, San Dimas Stage Race; 2nd KOM, 4th prologue, 7th overall, Redlands Bicycle Classic
  • 2008 — 1st, Bannock Criterium; 1st race 6, 1st race 7, 2nd overall, Boulder Time Trial Series; 2nd stage 1, Cascade Cycling Classic; 2nd overall, 6th stage 1, 7th prologue, Redlands Bicycle Classic; 6th stage 1, San Dimas Stage Race; 6th overall, Tour of Utah
  • 2007 — 2nd stage 1, TTT International Tour de Toona;2nd stage 1, 2nd stage 2, 2nd overall, Cascade Cycling Classic; 2nd overall, Tri-Peaks Challenge; 2nd overall, Tour of the Gila; 3rd overall, Joe Martin Stage Race; 3rd overall, NRC individual Points Standing
  • 2006 — 1st stage 5, Tour of Utah; 1st stage 1, 1st overall, Tour of the Gila; 1st, Boulder Roubaix Road Race; 1st stage 1, 2nd overall San Dimas Stage Race; 2nd overall, International Tour de Toona; 2nd stage 2, 2nd overall Redlands Bicycle Classic; 9th overall, Tour de Georgia; 26th, World Time Trial Championships
  • 20051st stage 1, 1st stage 3, 2nd overall Boulder Stage Race; 1st stage 1, Nature Valley Grand Prix; 3rd stage 3, Dodge Tour de Georgia
  • 2004 — 1st stage 3, Cascade Classic Stage Race; 1st, Boulder Roubaix Road Race; 1st prologue, 2nd stages 3 & 4, Colorado Classic Stage Race
  • 2003 — 1st stage 1, Fitchburg Longsjo Classic; 2nd overall, G.P. Cycliste de Beauce; 3rd overall, International Tour de Toona

[With gratitude to Roxanne King, for sharing her wonderful photography skills.]

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5 Comments
  1. I love this! Helps me get to know more pro-conti riders. My goal for 2012

    • Wonderful. Chris rode in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last year, and I expect he’ll be there again in 2012 if the team is selected. You should see him in CA.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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