SoCalCycling.com caught up with Jon Hornbeck, who currently rides professionally for the 5 Hour Energy pb Kenda Pro Cycling Team and is also is the owner of Fast Tours Cycling camps. Jon tells us about his rise to the pro cycling ranks from a motocross background and his new business venture with Fast Tours Cycling camps, which offers professionally guided luxury tours in Temecula in November, December and January.
SoCalCycling.com: How did you get into cycling?
Jon Hornbeck: I started cycling the last year that I was racing motocross. At the tim,e I started working with a trainer who was helping me get ready to make the transition into professional racing so my training was becoming more fine tuned. Unfortunately, that same year is when I had to leave the sport of motocross due to issues out of my control. I believe that was 2008 and my current trainer told me to give cycling a shot because he thought I was a bit of a natural. I wasn’t too eager to start another sport from the bottom, but I would still ride with him from time to time. It wasn’t until 2010 that I really started racing and actually bought a bike. All the previous times of riding I would just ride my trainers wife’s bike.
SoCalCycling.com: I understand that you come from a motocross background. How has this helped you progress in cycling?
Jon Hornbeck: I believe that racing motocross has helped greatly with my cycling. I may still be very new to the sport of cycling and many other guys that I am racing have many more years of experience than I do, but most don’t know that I spent almost 10 years pursuing and racing another sport. One attribute as well is that I believe I can handle my bike well, it’s something that still surprises me racing now at the professional level is how bad some guys are at riding a bike when it comes to handling.
SoCalCycling.com: How long have you been riding and racing?
Jon Hornbeck: Well when I was racing moto I would do a bit of cycling but that consisted mainly of 45-minute recovery spins with my trainer on his wife’s bike. I consider 2010 to be my starting point since that is when I got my own bike and began racing as a Cat 5. Almost 5 years now that I’ve been doing my cycling.
SoCalCycling.com: This year you had the chance to race for the 5 Hour Energy pb Kenda Pro Cycling Team. How has this helped your career?
Jon Hornbeck: Racing for the 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda Team this year was a great step up for me as far as developing as a rider. This team allowed me to make the jump up from being an amateur to a professional cyclist. It was a bit of a jump up for me with more travel & racing, but I learned a lot and I believe that I showed that this year with the progression that I have made.
SoCalCycling.com: What is your favorite race?
Jon Hornbeck: As of right now, my favorite race would have to be Tour de Beauce or the last stage at the Tour of the Gila, the Gila Monster stage. Those races are real road races and I believe we don’t have enough of those types of races over here in North America. Last year, while I was living over in France I was able to do some French Cups and those were some great races as well.
SoCalCycling.com: What type of rider do you consider yourself?
Jon Hornbeck: I would definitely say that I fall into the category of being a climber. I have that type of build and that’s where I have excelled. That being said though, I would like to become a better GC rider, I just need a bit of work done on my time trialing. I don’t ever want to consider myself as just a type of rider that is good at one thing, I believe that if you want to excel and keep moving up in this sport you need to be a well rounded rider that can hold your own on whatever may come your way.
SoCalCycling.com: It seems like their are less stage races on the schedule these days. How does it effect your racing and training?
Jon Hornbeck: That is becoming more of a problem in the US today. It’s a bit of a hit and miss scenario because on one hand our races seem to be dwindling as far as stage races go with the NRC, but on the other hand we have the Tour of California, Tour of Utah, and US Pro Challenge. I believe if you can be on a team that can do the NRC as well as the major North American stage races you have a solid schedule on your plate.
SoCalCycling.com: What are your long term goals in cycling?
Jon Hornbeck: My long-term goals for cycling I like to keep to myself. I will say that as long as I progress and develop each year as a rider I will get to where I want to go with cycling. I just don’t like to put out these big lofty goals for everyone to have something negative to say to. When I first started cycling when I was 20 there were so many people that would tell me you can’t go from a cat 5 to a cat 1 in just over a year or that I’m too old to be a professional cyclist but I’ve accomplished those goals and have new ones I’m working towards now, but I’ll keep those to myself.
SoCalCycling.com: Who has been an influence in your riding and racing?
Jon Hornbeck: People that have really influenced my cycling over the years at this time would be Casey Johnson, Derrin Stockton, Ben Day, and Frankie Andreu. Casey Johnson was my motocross trainer who first convinced me to give cycling a shot and believed I had something to gain from it. Derrin Stockton was my first coach who really took me under his wing and really taught me a lot about cycling and racing in my first year as a racer. Ben Day is now my current coach and started working with me in 2011 while I was still a Cat 2 and in 2 years he brought me up to be a professional cyclist. Frankie Andreu really helped me this first year while being a pro and has taught me a lot and who is someone I respect greatly for what he has done for me.
SoCalCycling.com: What do you like to do when your not racing and training?
Jon Hornbeck: While I’m not racing I like to keep busy and stay productive with my time, probably a bit too much at times with the rest and recovery, which I should be doing. I still do a bit of working when I’m not racing but I’ve been excited with a business that I’ve been starting this year. I also have been playing around with an event I put on in my offseason, which has been going on for 5 years now, and watching the growth of that has been great, last year I had just under 900 people attend my event and I am currently working on it for this year. I coach a few kids here at home and other then that just hanging out with my girlfriend and friends since while I’m racing my travel schedule is pretty busy.
SoCalCycling.com: You started Fast Tours Cycling camps, which will be held in Temecula in November, December and January. How did this come about?
Jon Hornbeck: I’m really excited with the progress that Fast Tours Cycling has made this year. I’ve always had an interest in business and having something of my own and this works out perfect for that. I believe there is a great growth happening currently with cycling camps and that I have found a way to have a different experience with the camps and offer the best package.
SoCalCycling.com: What are your goals with the the Fast Tours Cycling camps?
Jon Hornbeck: My goals with the camps are to have them grow into there own niche of cycling camps. On one hand you have most people that want to ride with current professionals and learn from them and on the other hand a lot of domestic professionals don’t exactly make a lucrative living with racing. So, what I offer is the chance to ride with a pro and then I also hire professionals to be camp guides where they can make a bit of money on the side doing what they do, ride their bikes. I have had great support from sponsors coming on board with the camps with Spy Optic, Cytomax, Muscle Milk, Rockwell Training Facility, James Coffee Co, and Harmony Bars. You can learn more at fasttourscycling.com & facebook.com/fasttourscycling
SoCalCycling.com: What advice would you give up and coming riders trying to make it to the pro level?
Jon Hornbeck: I would tell them to just put in the work. Cycling is a pretty basic concept with what you put in is what you get out. Like I said earlier, I have had many people doubt me and say what I’m trying to do isn’t attainable, but I have just kept my head down and keep putting the work in and I’m happy with where I’m at today.
SoCalCycling.com: Thanks for the interview Jon! Best of luck in the 2015 season and with Fast Tours Cycling camps!
Interview by Frank Sarate, SoCalCycling.com