Behind The Scenes With The Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team, Sponsored by Klean Athlete
The Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team, sponsored by Klean Athlete, made quite a splash during the month of May with daily stellar performances at its biggest race of the season, the Amgen Tour of California, followed by a stunning victory by Greg Daniel in the USA Cycling professional road race.*
But with only eight starting spots available in any given race, half of the team is not grabbing the spotlight or making headlines. Those riders are toiling behind the scenes and training hard to achieve their own moments of success.
Meet Chad Young, one of those riders on Axeon Hagens Berman who has played a supporting role in some of the team’s successes this season. And while his teammates were tearing it up in California or at the national championships in North Carolina, the 20-year-old from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was watching those performances on TV or via live stream from his training base in Golden, Colorado.
“Since I had been with some of those guys earlier this year at training camp and at some of early-season races like the San Dimas Stage Race or the Redlands Bicycle Classic or at the Joe Martin Stage Race, I knew there was the potential for some killer performances,” Young said. “It was great being part of the winning team at Redlands, and seeing Neilson Powless (who would go on to be the “best young rider” in California) come into his own was really incredible.”
Young has come a long way himself. After earning a mechanical engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines – a rarity for cyclists aiming to reach the professional ranks – he scored a pair of top 10 finishes at nationals. That earned him a role as a stagiaire (essentially a “pro team tryout”) for the USA Pro Challenge, a major race in Colorado. It was his performance there that earned him a roster spot with Axeon Hagens Berman this season.
Stepping up to one of the world’s top development teams – run by former professional and Olympic cycling medalist Axel Merckx – meant fine-tuning his training and recovery routines. One of the first steps toward that goal came when Axeon Hagens Berman Head Soigneur Reed McCalvin brought him some Klean Athlete nutritional supplements after the USA Pro Challenge last August. Since then, Young has come to rely heavily on two staples of Klean products: Klean Recovery, a chocolate-flavored powder drink; and Klean Isolate, an unflavored clean whey protein that is used to enhance daily protein and amino acid intake.‡
“Before Klean, I did not use any recovery of any sort,” Young said. “Now it is part of my regular training routine. And it’s not only good for my recovery, it also tastes great, too.”
Young said he reaped another benefit of using Klean products after undergoing two urine tests and one blood test as part of anti-doping protocol. Having the piece of mind that Klean Athlete’s entire line of nutritional supplements are tested and certified through its partner, NSF International, and the prestigious NSF Certified for Sport® program, was reassuring, he said.
“Just this week, I was in a sporting goods store to buy a foam roller and they were selling a big canister of ‘get ripped quick’ protein powder for 30 bucks,” Young said. “That is not exactly confidence-inspiring. So I am glad I am benefiting from Klean in a number of ways.”
Young is rapidly closing in on his own goal race of the year: the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. There, he plans to compete in three events: the road race, time trial and criterium. Last year, he produced top 10 finishes in both the road race and the time trial.
“I talked to my coach this week and we are going to do some focused time trial training,” Young said. “In the road race, if I cannot be in the top five then hopefully I can make an intense impact on the race for one of my teammates.”
But right now, Young and teammate Jonny Brown are in to Wisconsin to compete in the “Tour of America’s Dairyland,” a series of criteriums held over 10 days.
“It is a good way to rest and relax and race without stress and a fun way to prepare for nationals,” Young said. “Training can get monotonous, but criteriums are always fun and exciting.
“Ten days of racing is pretty high-intensity and you are definitely tired at the end of every day. So it is important to not lose ground on my recovery game as the races progress. If you recover badly after every race for 10 days, the last race will be much harder than if you had just been taking your Klean products.”
You can follow Chad and the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team on: