Editor’s note: This interview is part of the 2019 USA Cycling Season Guide published in the January/February issue of VeloNews magazine.
Christopher Blevins is one of the most promising names in American cycling. A cross-discipline star, Blevins has scored national championships in mountain biking, BMX, and cyclocross, and won major professional races on the road. Blevins recently won a silver medal at the cross-country mountain bike world championships in the U23 division. The result is confirmation that Blevins is the next hope of American mountain biking.
Throughout his development, Blevins has relied on USA Cycling programs to help him gain valuable experience.
“There’s a disparity between racing in America and at the World Cup level, so I’ve been very lucky to have USA Cycling send me, year after year, for the World Cups,” Blevins says. “I wouldn’t be able to compete in Europe without that.”
A Colorado native, Blevins got his start racing BMX, landing multiple age-group national titles. He began to transition to mountain biking as a teenager, learning under the guidance of the Durango Devo team, which has helped develop numerous national champions in recent years. Before long, Blevins was winning national titles on the mountain bike, too. His off-road exploits earned him invites to USA Cycling training camps, where he further refined his mountain bike skillset.
Then he began to emerge as a talent on the road.
Through the national juniors team, Blevins gained experience racing on the other side of the Atlantic, both in the dirt and on the pavement. He learned firsthand just how challenging the international mountain bike field could be. He also came to understand the finer points of racing as part of a team on the road.
“You have to learn that style of racing, the mentality and just the chaos of it,” he says.
A victory in the junior Peace Race caught the eye of the Hagens Berman Axeon road team, earning Blevins a spot in one of the world’s premier development squads. Meanwhile, Blevins’s success on the mountain bike proved that he was worthy of increased support as a USA Cycling athlete at the under-23 level.
By 2018, Blevins had made his mark on the pro road scene with a stage win at the Tour of the Gila, while simultaneously holding national titles in cyclocross at the U23 level, and on the mountain bike at the elite level in the short track discipline. He achieved all of those results as a student athlete — Blevins is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at California Polytechnic State University.
Towards the end of the 2018 season, Blevins made the tough call to put his road ambitions aside to focus more heavily on “the dirt side” of his repertoire. With the 2020 Olympics as his focus for the future, Blevins will try to secure a spot on Team USA for Tokyo. That will be a challenging task. Then again, Blevins has been making it all look easy since he was a kid.