Athlete Diary: Justin Oien

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Athlete Diary: Justin Oien

Blog by Justin Oien, Sponsored Axeon Hagens Berman rider

The following blog is the first in a series from Klean Athlete-sponsored cycling team Axeon Hagens Berman. Throughout the year, riders from the American Under 23 squad will share their unique experiences as they compete in races around the world. In this season’s first entry, native Californian Justin Oien shares his insight into the start of the season and the team’s first race in the United States, the San Dimas Stage Race.

Our first training camp of the season was in Calabasas, California, and it was really fun. January training camps are the time when you get together with all of your old and new teammates for the first time for the coming season. Some of the most memorable times were just sitting around, enjoying the good food that we had every night after riding really hard. After we had finished dinner, we usually would spend time watching the big pros in the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia. Seeing that race made us anxious to start our own season.

Photo © Davey Wilson •

After training camp, it was time for … more training. I did a couple of races near my home in San Diego and had a block of three weekends of racing in all. It was really awesome to get out and do some of those local races that I have not been able to do in the past because I had typically been out of town traveling for my own races at that time. This year I have been focusing more on the American racing circuit. So it was great to get out and do those races and see lots of those people I had not seen in years – basically since I was competing as a junior.

When you are racing outside of an official “team” race, it can be a different experience. That was the Chico Stage Race for me, though I did have three teammates there: Geoffrey Curran, Neilson Powless and Tyler Williams. It proved to be a good warm-up race. I think we were all “working out the kinks” but we rode really well together, and Tyler even won a stage there. Then I did a stage race in Murietta, which was very close to my house. I would ride to and from the stages, which was awesome. My parents were able to come out and I ended up getting second overall, so that was really exciting.

Our first race as a team was San Dimas Stage Race early in the month. I picked up the other five guys a few days before and we just hung out at the hotel, trying to stay really relaxed. But overall, there was a little bit more stress than usual because we didn’t have our usual team support. There was no sport director and no team helper (soigneur) with us. So we made sure we had all the details right, like start times and race locations. I think we handled it well.

As for San Dimas, I have always had a bit of a hard time at the time trial. I don’t know why. But Neilson and Geoffrey had good rides, so that was encouraging.

Photo © Davey Wilson •
Photo © Davey Wilson •

The next morning, we had our own little pre-race meeting. It was kind of funny because there was no sport director to guide us and share strategy tips like we’re used to. We did have a list of guys that we needed to watch and make sure they didn’t go up the road or get any time bonuses. At the same time, we had to look for opportunities for ourselves. Our goal was to get our best rider from the time trial – Neilson Powless – to take as much bonus time as possible or for one of us to win the sprints so no one on another team could get the bonuses. It worked out pretty well because heading into the last day, he moved up to third in the overall standings. Everything went to plan except for a late-race crash I had in the last 200 meters. That was kind of a bummer but it happens, and I ended up being OK.

Being sponsored by Klean Athlete means that after every race, we down a Klean Recovery™ shake. For me specifically, leading up to San Dimas, I consistently used Klean Isolate™. I take that a lot after a ride or if I am doing a nice, easy ride and I do not want to eat too much. I also like to take a Klean Multivitamin.

It was very hot on the last day of the race, so we were all using Klean Electrolytes™ as well. Thanks to those and lots of water, we made it through just fine.

Now the real season starts. With our first team race behind us, we looked back at what went well and where we could have improved. The more team races you do, the more you gel together. I am feeling pretty good about our next race, the Redlands Bicycle Classic, because the stages will be a bit harder and allow us to showcase our strength, form and opportunistic racing style.

Since this blog was completed, Justin and his Axeon Hagens Berman team raced the Redlands Bicycle Classic, April 6-10. His teammate, Neilson Powless, won overall runner-up and Axeon Hagens Berman won the team title! Next on the race calendar is Tour of the Gila in Silver City, New Mexico, April 27-May 1.

You can follow Justin on Instagram and Twitter.


You can also follow Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling team on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.



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