Hard to believe, but that December 17, SuperCup final in Overland Park, Kansas, was the last time Bart Bowen lined up for a race in a Saturn jersey.
The 10-year road pro has been a fixture on the squad since 1994 — just a year after the team moved from the amateur ranks up to professional. But at the end of 2000, his contract was set to expire.
Bowen shrugged when asked why he wasn’t riding for the team in 2001. “We just never got an agreement,” he said. “I’m not all that sure what happened.”
Frustrating as it might be, Bowen said he is not fixating on what might have been. “I’m looking around and I’m looking at different opportunities,” he said.
One of those opportunities, he said, is the chance to finally concentrate on something with significantly wider tires.
“I’ve been racing on the road for 10 years,” Bowen said. “That whole time, I’ve been looking at and thinking about mountain-bike racing, too. This now gives me the chance to try it.”
In that sense, said Bowen, “the timing couldn’t be any better.”
The Albuquerque resident sees two major opportunities “right in my own back yardo” in 2001.
“Durango gets a World Cup this year and World’s are in Vail,” he said. “That’s all within driving distance.”
Though he might qualify for cyclo-cross world’s in February, Bowen said he was unsure whether he would take the chance if an offer came from the USA Cycling coaching staff.
“It would take a commitment, a time commitment, to go over there and compete for a while leading up to world’s” he said. “I really want to focus on building my chances for Vail.”