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At only 16 years old, Gage Hecht’s (Alpha Bicycle Co.–Vista Subaru) palmares are already something to envy. Splitting his time between road and cyclocross, the Coloradan is one of the most promising talents within America’s junior ranks.
Dominating much of the junior cyclocross calendar in the States throughout the year, Hecht has also posted top results in American elite races and enjoyed success in Europe. At the start of November, he won the first-ever cyclocross junior Pan American Championships.
But his biggest cyclocross victory would likely be his win in the junior race on the infamously sandy and technical course at Koksijde, Belgium.
In late November, Hecht took to Belgium for the first time with the American national team. “It was amazing, I was shocked when I won,” Hecht said. “It was my first race over there, and I hadn’t had the chance to see what the competition was like before that. I just loved it over there, a lot more competition, and I just loved that feel.”
Perhaps more impressive, Hecht is high school student, balancing the labors of homework and life commitments while maintaining an extensive training and racing plan.
“It’s a pretty tough balance. I took a writing and ethics class this year, which weighed me down quite a bit,” said Hecht. “But I just love being on my bike and that’s what constantly keeps me fired up. I just want to be going fast on it, and that’s what really gets me excited about the sport and what gets me to train.”
Later this cyclocross season, Hecht looks ahead to early January for cyclocross nationals in Austin, Texas. But before that, he will return to Europe with the national team for the December camp in Belgium.
“I’m going back over for the December camp, which will be a really neat experience because we’ll get to do two more World Cups and Zolder,” said Hecht. “After that, I’m looking forward to nationals. It’s a really big race and being able to win would be amazing, I mean, it’s nationals.”
At 2014 nationals, in his home state, Hecht finished second in the junior 15-16 race. He won that age category at nationals in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin.
As for the future, Hecht remains unsure about what lies ahead for his racing career. With continuous improvement on the road throughout 2014, Hecht enjoys his time racing off of the dirt, despite his growing talent as a ‘cross racer. He won the 2014 junior national time trial championships in the 15-16 age group.
“I love both sports a ton. I think that I’m leaning more toward cyclocross for right now, but I’m still not completely confident that will be my final choice.”