The life of the NSC Velodrome is coming to an end this year. But one young rider is making the most of the time he has left to ride it. Peter Moore has been riding the track at the NSC since he was eight years old. Now a senior at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School, he has some lofty goals for his final year of racing, and rightfully so. His resume contains a national age-group record, numerous national championships and a selection to the United States Junior World team, which earned him the privilege of representing the U.S. at the 2018 Junior Track Cycling World Championships this past fall in Aigle Switzerland.
In the 1980’s, Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich had a vision to build an Olympic caliber sporting complex and to use athletics to develop traits in our young local athletes to help them succeed, not only on the national and world sporting stages, but in life. Peter is a product of this vision.
“Through amateur athletics, our youth can realize physical fitness, develop intellectual prowess, and build character, making them better citizens and strengthening the social fabric of our state. Through sport, our youth become mature adults able to compete in the Olympics and in the marketplace.”
- Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich
When Peter isn’t on his bike, he’s on his skis. At the time this interview took place, track cycling had just concluded, and nordic ski season was just around the corner for Peter. Training, studying for finals and visits to potential colleges didn’t leave a lot of spare time in this young man’sday. To say his schedule is “hectic” is an understatement. We were finally able to catch up with Peter and he was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions we had for him.
What got you interested in the sport? And when did you start?
My Dad had taken the adult intro class and thought I would enjoy it, so he signed me up for the VeloKids class at age eight.
How long have you been racing your bike?
I started racing with the Category 4 men when I was eleven.
Do you hold any records? And if so, what are they?
I currently hold the 15-16 age group 3 Kilometer Individual Pursuit National Record with a time of 3:37.435. I set it at the Los Angeles Velodrome at the Junior National Championships in 2017.
Do you hold any titles? If so, for what?
I am a six-time Junior National Champion in the Omnium, Scratch, Team Pursuit, and Team Sprint, and many times over State Champion in many disciplines.
What race/results are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my win in the Endurance Omnium at the 2017 Fixed Gear Classic at the NSC Velodrome. That race weekend is the hardest I have ever raced locally, and the competition was extremely good. The other race result that I am very proud of is my 7th place in the Madison at the 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland, with Ryan Jastrab. We both raced within an inch of our lives and dug deeper than we ever thought was possible.
You do most of your racing on velodromes. What draws you to track racing over, say, road racing or criteriums?
Track races, especially the longer events that I do are like a very condensed road race or criterium. Track racing takes incredible tactical acumen as the dynamics of the race change with every lap. I also prefer the high speed that track racing allows for, reaching upwards of 70 kph.
Do you have a race in the past that stands out for you or holds a special place for you, regardless of outcome?
At the 2018 Junior World Championships I raced in two races, the scratch race and the Madison. I crashed out of the scratch race qualifier with one lap to go while in a position to go through to the final. I had been so focused on adapting to the incredibly aggressive style racing that I forgot to see the larger picture of the race around me and caused myself an unnecessary crash.
Your home track at the NSC is a 250 meter track. The track in Aigle Switzerland you raced on for the World Championships is 200m. What was the biggest difference you noticed riding on a smaller track?
The largest difference, although obvious, is that sprints for points or the finish of the race start earlier in terms of lap count. While on a 250 meter track the sprint winds up with two to three laps to go, on a 200 meter track the sprint winds up with three to four laps to go. This means that you must keep close awareness of the lap cards in anticipation for the sprint.
Was this your first international racing experience? Was there a notable difference in racing styles, being it an international event vs. domestic?
The Junior World Championships were my first international racing experience, and yes, the racing style was very different. Compared to racing in the US, riders at the top international junior level are ruthlessly aggressive both in their attacking as well as physically bumping and pushing other riders out of the way during the race. Racers also ride far closer together, making crashing that much more likely.
Everyone in your family (mom, dad, and brother) have taken the track classes here at the NSC and have ridden the same track you race and train on. Do you feel that helps when you try to explain your experiences you have on the track to them?
I would say that in some ways it is helpful as they understand the power it takes to stay up on the banking, but you can’t quite explain the feeling of coming around a motorcycle at 70 kph during training.
You are one of the top high school nordic skiers in the Midwest and ski in the off-season when most of your competitors are training on the bike. Do you feel this is an advantage or disadvantage for you?
Until very recently, I saw it as an advantage. Skiing in the winter gives my body a break from the extremely repetitive motion of cycling, and as I am prone to overuse injuries, this is very helpful. It also complements cycling very well in that it is a hugely aerobic sport. Now that I have reached a top junior level, I do believe that I could become faster if I chose to train solely for cycling during the winter. However, I will continue to ski this winter.
If you could ride any track in the world, which one would it be, and why?
I would want to ride the Gent Kuipke Velodrome in Belgium. The Kuipke Velodrome is a 166 meter track and is home to the Gent 6 day every fall. 6-day racing is some of the coolest track racing there is, and to ride on a track with so much history would be a cool experience.
Are there any similarities in nordic racing and track racing? Or are they two completely different beasts?
In ski racing, there generally isn’t much involved in terms of tactics. Ski racing is generally a race of who can hang on to the leader the longest except for sprinting. The speeds are also low enough that drafting doesn’t really play a role. So, there are some similarities, but more in terms of differences.
What are your goals on the bike for 2019?
My main goal is to try to qualify for Junior Worlds in Frankfurt, Germany this coming year. I haven’t quite ironed out the details of my season yet, but I’d like to go sub 3:30 in the 3 Kilometer pursuit and hopefully have a strong showing at Elite Nationals in Los Angeles.
What are your goals on the skis for 2019?
The ski season is soon upon us, and I have three main goals for this season! I will be racing at Senior Nationals in Craftsbury, VT to try to qualify for an international racing trip in mid-January. After that, I would like to be able to win the Minnesota High school State Meet and win one race at Junior Nationals in Anchorage, AK.
As of press time, Peter missed his qualification goal at Senior Nationals, but on February 14, 2019, won the Minnesota State High School Nordic championship. Junior Nationals in Anchorage AK take place March 11-16, 2019. We here at the National Sports Center wish Peter the best as he continues to chase his goals, both on his skis and his bike.