The months of October through December are usually considered “off-season” for competitive road cyclists. This generally means there is minimal, or no, racing on the calendar to disrupt preparations for the upcoming season.
But for Leo Bugtai, this “off-season” included the three-race CBR Resume Builder Series, as he was striving to move up from Category 2 to 1, in order to race at the highest level of the sport of road cycling.
The CBR Resume Builder Series was hotly contested, as riders from all over California were looking to use these winter races to earn their upgrades and propel them into 2018 at a higher-level of competition.
With that said, and having won the overall title as well as earning his Category 1 upgrade, Leo is poised to live his dream of racing at the professional-level in 2018.
Following his Resume Builder Series success we caught of up with Leo for a four-question interview in this weeks BWC Athlete Profile. Enjoy!
The overall win was determined by the final sprint in the last race of the series. Each rider on the podium, and more, were scraping for every position possible to earn the coveted JL Velo winners jersey! Photo Credit: California Bicycle Racing/Jeff Prinz
Primary Sport/Discipline: Road Cycling
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 18-22hrs
Upcoming Goals: The 2018 Road Racing Season
Question #1: Congratulations on winning the CBR Resume Builder Series, Leo! You raced aggressive throughout the series, and had some great results, what are a few of your highlights from the races?
Leo Bugtai: CBR's are becoming the most competitive races here in SoCal. At any given race you will have many talented riders, in every category, bringing their “A-Game”.
Some of my highlights stem from not limiting myself to just 1-tactic, always going for the break-away, to learning how to best position myself properly for a sprint-finish.
This growth, being able to both attack and sprint, has been my most memorable highlight from the CBR Resume Builder Series.
After each race, I reflected upon how I could better execute my race strategy in a break-away situation as well as how I could better myself as a sprinter, should it be a "bunch finish".
Although I did not win any of the races, I had consistent results, which earned me the series title.
Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: I am so proud of Leo for winning the CBR Resume Builder Series. This is a great accomplishment that could not have happened without great fitness and a tenacity to finish strong in every situation.
Leo brought his best to every race in the series and was rewarded with the overall win in the end.
Leading into, and following, each event Leo and I would talk tactics as well as race strategy to go over possible race scenarios and outcomes.
This attention to detail paid-off as Leo transitioned from racing one-dimensionally (always for the break-away) to being a threat in a sprint-finish.
He can now score a result from any race scenario!
Leo took to his local group rides to practice sprinting in order to be the most versatile rider possible at the races. Photo Credit: Alfred Aldaco
Question #2: In addition to winning the overall series, you received your Category 1 upgrade, allowing you to race at the highest level of the sport in 2018. Tell us, how does that change next years' race calendar?
LB: Though the upgrade was not an unexpected result, I certainly did not prepare for it to come so soon!
That said, receiving my Category 1 upgrade will change my racing calendar in quite a few ways. Depending on various factors I am preparing to compete is some big races this year:
The San Dimas Stage Race, The Redlands Bicycle Classic, and the USA Cycling Road National Championships.
Though many of these are locally hosted events, they will provide me an opportunity to experience racing with professionals.
Having the opportunity to compete with these riders is something I have envisioned for so long, and I am excited to go for it!
Coach Brian: Racing the CBR Resume Builder Series presented a unique challenge for Leo as his goal was to earn great results and get his upgrade, while preparing to a race as a Category 1 cyclist in professional-level races throughout the season.
This dichotomy meant that Leo had to race each of the races in the series with a deep-level of fatigue. This is because his long-term goals require that we keep building his fitness toward multi-day stage-races rather than simply focusing on single-day events like road races and criteriums.
Developing this level of depth was an important transition for Leo and his results show that he is ready for the next level of racing.
I am very excited to see him race the biggest events in our region and get a taste of national caliber racing!
Cycling is a family affair in the Bugtai house. Leo is supported by his parents, sister, and long-time girlfriend Rebecca. Photo Credit: Leo Bugtai
Question #3: What is one of your long-term cycling goals? And what is next on your cycling ‘to do’ list?
LB: This may sound like a cliché answer, but honestly, I want to be the best cyclist I can be!
I want to use all the opportunities in front of me and take full-advantage of the tools available to become the best cyclist possible.
When I look back at this time in my life, I want to know that I gave it everything and I want to live my life knowing I did all that I possibly could to better myself.
Next on my “to-do” list is to apply everything I have learned in my 2017 race campaign to the races on my 2018 calendar. Reflecting on past notes, workouts, and having the privilege of being a member of the SoCalCycling.com Race Team has taught me how to, both ride for myself, and also ride as an efficient/effective teammate.
Long story short, the next thing on my “to-do" list is to go to these bigger races and "show what I got!”
Coach Brian: I have said it before, but to be a great cyclist, one must love the process of being a cyclist, not just the idea of it.
Leo’s goal, “to be the best cyclist I can be”, may seem vague on the surface, but knowing Leo I can attest that his passion for process is driving him to levels he doesn't yet see as possible.
This is very important because I don’t want him, or any of my Athletes for that matter, to limit themselves.
Together we will work relentlessly to ensure he continually improves and can achieve his absolute best!
I am very excited to be a part of his journey and watch his progress!
In addition to racing the CBR Resume Builder Series, Leo volunteered at each race to help set-up the race course in the early morning hours. Photo Credit: Leo Bugtai
Question #4: Describe your favorite workout in your training program, also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with Big Wheel Coaching.
LB: As puzzling as this may sound, recovery rides are the best part of my training.
Recovery rides have always been the most difficult for me because I always felt the need to keep getting stronger and thus dismissed the recovery process.
In this sport, recovery is crucial and easily overlooked, so taking a recovery ride is, in a sense, almost as serious as an interval workout because no-one truly understands how much recovery is enough.
Working with Big Wheel Coaching has been an eye-opening experience for me.
Brian and Joy have been nothing but helpful and encouraged me to grow tremendously as an athlete.
That is not to say that I haven’t had other crucial coaches or people in my life who helped me grow, but Big Wheel Coaching has showed me that you need to train your ass off because:
“Your work ethic will eventually match your talent!”
Coach Brian: This is excellent advice and I love that quote!
Leo eludes to something very important for Athletes, really everyone, it’s a concept I’ve heard called a Performance Team. That is, there are many people that contribute to our success in life, Spouses or Significant Others, Parents, Coaches, Managers, Teammates, and Friends can all be a part of our Performance Team.
Each person in our lives can inspire us to be better, offer us valuable experience, knowledge, and support, or simply provide an example of how to live our lives successfully.
I encourage all Athletes to develop their own version of the Performance Team concept so that they have the support they need when adversity strikes on, or off, the bike.
A love of long bike rides has taken Leo to some great places and with his Category 1 upgrade, he is poised to keep that practice going strong. Photo Credit: Leo Bugtai
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about Leo Bugtai’s CBR Resume Builder Series success and it inspires you to set a few "big-time" goals for yourself in 2018!
With the New Year just around the corner, this is the time to dream big and write-down what accomplishments will motivate you to strive for your best.
At Big Wheel Coaching, we are proud to be a part of our Athletes’ “Performance Team” and support them in all their cycling endeavors!
And as the dawn of 2018 nears, we want to wish everyone in the BWC family a happy and prosperous New Year!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching