EMPORIA, Kansas (VN) — Just seven weeks ago, U.S. cyclocross great Stephen Hyde and his wife, Hayley, welcomed their daughter, Georgia, into the world.
Since then, Hyde, 34, has developed a new perspective on bike racing. Sure, he still loves to race his bicycle, and he definitely loves to win. But now, the pull of parenthood has shifted Hyde’s perspective on which priorities are worth worrying about, and which ones are not.
“I’ve always put a lot of weight into my career, and I’ve been stressed and emotional about things, and I’ve been affected by racing, and I’ve worked really hard to not be as affected by this stuff,” Hyde told VeloNews. “You get attached to races and results because you spend so much time thinking about this stuff. And then when she was born, it was this interesting shift in priority. Bike racing still matters, but there’s something I care a whole lot more about now. And I’ve found a new joy in bike racing.”
— UNBOUND Gravel (@unboundgravel) June 5, 2021
Hyde, the U.S. cyclocross champion from 2016-2018, is carrying that joy and new perspective into the 2021 season with the Steve Tilford Foundation team. His racing program includes a full U.S. cyclocross campaign, as well as a smattering of gravel events. On Saturday Hyde won the 100-mile race at Unbound Gravel, outlasting Nate Maddox by seven minutes to win in a time off 5:20:13.
Hyde was one of eight riders to make the front group of the race after the 25-mile mark, and he spent the rest of the day racing alongside Dave Wiens, Nade Maddox, Chris Brown, and other top riders.
Flat tires and mechanicals sidelined some riders, and Hyde’s accelerations eventually dropped Wiens. After 70 miles Hyde caught John Croom, who had broken away early in the race. Croom suffered a flat tire, leaving Hyde to ride the final miles by himself.
“It wasn’t the most fun 25 miles of my life — I was crawling,” Hyde said.
Still, the victory at his first experience at Unbound Gravel further cemented Hyde’s new outlook on bikes and competition. No stress. No worries.
Hyde said that his new team has also helped him shift his perspective on cycling. The Steve Tilford Foundation team was founded in 2020 as a non-profit to help kids pursue their passion for cycling. The foundation is named for the late Tilford, who was killed in 2017 in a car crash.
“It’s a community-based program and we have a really large Masters program that trickles through the devo program, and everyone is really involved,” Hyde said. “There’s a cross course out at [Tilford’s] ranch and trails that are build for NICA racing. The team’s focus for me adds a whole new level of joy when things go right.”
So, does Hyde see himself jumping into the 200-mile race anytime soon? Hyde is doubtful, for now.
“I don’t know if I have any motivation to ride 200 miles,” Hyde said. “To be honest, my whole career has been build around 90 minutes of exertion.”
Unbound Gravel 100-mile race
- Stephen Hyde, Steve Tilford Foundation, 5:20:13
- Nade Maddox, 5:27:09
- John Croom, 4:34:35