Felt Bicycles is excited to announce the return of professional cyclist Travis McCabe to its stable of athletes, where he’ll focus on gravel races and other endurance events. McCabe was a rider on the then-named Holowesko Citadel pro cycling during the 2016 racing season, when the team competed aboard Felt race bikes. McCabe scored some incredible results during that season, including stage victories at the Tour of the Gila and Joe Martin Stage Race. He also notched one of the very first wins for Felt’s flagship FR road bike, accomplished in the platform’s racing debut at the Tour of Utah. McCabe continued racing professionally on the road through the 2020 season at the World Tour level, but as 2021 neared, he sought a new challenge.
“There were a number of factors that led to this transition from road racer to endurance athlete,” says Travis. “COVID-19 hitting the world, quarantining, and falling in love all gave me a new outlook on life and what I wanted to accomplish as a human being. I truly love cycling and, after many years of tirelessly pursuing my dreams of racing at the World Tour, I was finally given the opportunity in 2020. But when the pandemic hit in March of that year, those dreams got a little derailed. The team signed Chris Froome and started to create a more GC-centric team, and I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be resigning after 2020.
“As much of a bummer as that was, I was strangely at peace with it. After coming back home and spending so much time with my girlfriend and friends, and living a relatively ‘normal’ life, I had a bit of an awakening and realized how much I loved being home. I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life traveling all over the world racing bikes, so being forced to stay in one place for such an extended period of time was a breath of fresh air. I realized that I really enjoy riding my bike, but having to live halfway across the world competing wasn’t really all it was hyped up to be. So I began thinking about alternative options.”
And what exactly were those options? Travis looked at the rising popularity of mixed-terrain and gravel events in his home country.
“I thought to myself, ‘How could I still race and compete in 2021, yet not live full-time in Europe alone?’” Travis says. “Fortunately, there is a plethora of racing still happening in the United States—hopefully still, despite the pandemic—in the form of gravel races. So, in July, when I moved to Florida with my girlfriend, I decided that I was no longer going to strictly race road bikes anymore.”
“We’re thrilled to have Travis back as a member of the Felt family,” says Eric Sakalowsky, Felt’s VP of Global Marketing. “He’s proven over the years to be a fierce competitor who can win big races. But, more importantly, he’s passionate about cycling and wants to extoll the virtues of bike racing in all its forms. His journey reflects that of Felt Bicycles, and we’re incredibly proud to have his insight from competing at the sport’s highest level to help us develop the next generation of road and gravel bikes.”
“It feels really great to be back on Felt bikes,” says Travis. “It definitely brings back fond memories of racing for Felt back when I was for Holowesko Citadel in 2016. That was probably not only one of my most successful years, but hands down the best year I ever had racing. I loved racing on the AR and FR road bikes. But what excites me the most about connecting with Felt again is the opportunity to still race in the road and gravel scenes and connect with all the people taking the same grassroots approach to the sport that we all love.
“I also love mountain biking—which is how I first discovered road biking—and spent pretty much the entire quarantine mountain biking in Tucson, Arizona. I believe that my mountain bike skills and my road racing experience will make the transition to the gravel scene feel a bit more natural. I explored all the gravel roads around Tucson long before gravel bikes were a thing, as well, and I love getting lost in the wilderness. So now I’m looking forward to getting lost on the back roads of Florida! That, to me, is one of the most beautiful aspects of riding bikes. You can kit up, throw the legs over the pedals, and go explore all day alone in areas that a car can’t reach.”
“A big goal for me in 2021 will definitely be on the gravel, and I want to succeed just like I did in road cycling,” says Travis. “The Unbound Gravel event [formerly called Dirty Kanza] in Emporia, Kansas, and the SBT GRVL event in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, are my biggest targets for 2021. But I also want to improve on my 7th place finish at Crusher in the Tushar in Utah. I’m sure there will be a bit of a learning curve along the way, but I thrive on that kind of stuff and I really enjoy the process of learning. One more eventual big goal—and I mean a really big goal—is to attempt the Continental Divide. I don’t know if I’ll race it or not, but it’s always been a bucket-list dream of mine!”
(Photos: Miguel Folch)
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