Ben Frederick is an UnTapped athlete who believes in all-natural athletic fuel. Frederick races multiple disciplines, holds an honorable list of palmares on the road and is currently focused on elite cyclocross with his BeyondCX program. As a vegan athlete be knows how quality, natural fuel can boost his performance and recovery. This is why he #GetsUnTapped
(Photo by Brett Rothmeyer)
Current Residence: Easthampton Mass
Years riding: 6
Disciplines: CX, Road, MTB
Website/Social Media: www.beyondcx.rocks @beyondcxcycling @benjamfred
What first got you interested in cycling?
I got really into watching mountain bike movies the summer before my freshman year at college. I scraped some money together and got my first “nice” dual suspension mountain bike and rode it around town. Dropping down stairs, finding jumps, but all urban stuff. After my freshman year, I got taken on an actual mountain bike ride and had so much fun! I entered my first race in baggie shorts, skate shoes and platform pedals, and won the beginner class. From there, I did 2 years of mountain bike racing, transferred to the road for 5 years, and now I’m back to the dirt for cyclocross.
You have competed in multiple disciplines but are now focused solely on Elite CX, what lead you to that decision?
I spent 4 years chasing the dream of being a road pro, sacrificing my cross season in hopes of scoring that pro ride. I would sneak into a handful of ‘cross races in Sept but always pull up early to do road prep. But I always had so much fun ripping the dirt!
2015, I came off racing a full road season with Kelly Benefit Strategies, going from winning the KOM jersey at Green Mountain Stage Race to slogging in the mud at Nittany the next weekend. The transition couldn’t have been more abrupt. It took me a good month to remember how to turn my cross bike. The guys I compete with and want to beat are on their cross bike starting in July. If I was going to compete with that, I needed to do the same.
Its too specialized of a discipline now to see the success I want, while doing it “part time”. Cyclocross is an honest sport. You have to be strong, you have to turn your bike well and you cant just sit in. The results you get are indicative of the work you put it. No faking it.
(Photo by Noa Smallwood)
Any goals for 2016 that you are really excited about?
YES!! I want to show off the amazing sponsors and supporters that are helping this program become what it is. Outside of that, I want to win races and enjoy the ride of my first season as a Professional Cyclist!!
I understand you are a #PlantBasedAthlete and take your nutrition very seriously. Can you tell us a little about your diet and why being vegan appeals to you as an endurance athlete?
Its no secret that I attribute most of my success on the bike to what I eat. I only perform as well as the foods I put into my body. I train super hard, and I don’t want to waste any access energy trying to digest my food that could be going to repairing my body. So this means a lot of fruits, veggies, grains and legumes. When I switched to a fully plant based diet two years ago, my performance increased exponentially. I could train so much harder, and longer, continuing to improve, feeling awesome. That was the driver in the decision making. It was getting faster. Period. Then there are all the added benefits that everyone rolls their eyes at. Longterm health, the environmental impact, the morality, (you know, all the preachy stuff) that supports the lifestyle.
My rule of thumb when it comes to food is, the less ingredients the better and only ones I can pronounce. My ride food consists of bananas, dates, and UnTapped. Thats why UnTapped appeals so much to me because its just maple syrup. Thats it. Straight into the body, easily absorbed and has the benefit of tasting AMAZING!! No added weirdness for the body to figure out how to break down. No more gut issues from the standard gels or bars.
You live out in the Pioneer Valley area of Massachusetts with quite a few other elite cyclists, can you tell us a little about that community and what it means to you?
If you look at the results sheets from most UCI races, a majority of them are from the area, or moved to the area and saw drastic improvement. In November of last year, I decided that I needed to end up here to give myself the best shot at success at the top end of UCI races. The history of strong riders in the Pioneer Valley speaks volumes to the culture of excellence that exists here.
I just got up here in May and am still figuring out my place here, but I cant say enough about the community. Not only do the riders up here push each other to get better, they also work so hard to give back and invest in the future of the sport. The epitome of this is Kids Cross. A weekly event where kids 5-14 come and get to ride bikes with the best cyclocross riders in the country. How cool is it that little rippers get to get taught run ups by Stephen Hyde and Ellen Noble? Barriers and sand riding by Al Donahue and Chris Neisen? Starts and corners by Jeremy Powers and little ol me? Its pretty incredible.
What is your proudest cycling moment in your career so far?
That’s a tough one. It would have to be either winning Killington Stage Race in 2014 or my third place at DCCX UCI Day 1. Killington was amazing because my teammates rode their hearts out to set me up to race for the win in the TT by doing a 5 mile, EPIC team time trial into the base of the last climb of the day. It was amazing to watch them lay it all out there, trusting that I could do a solid climb, then TT the next day. I ended up winning the overall by a close 7 seconds, and it happened to be on my birthday, which was a bonus.
DCCX was my home race, the first year it was a UCI race, and I had all my family and friends there. Everything clicked. I got the holeshot and was racing for the win the whole race. It was my first UCI podium and such an amazing feeling, especially sharing it with my people. It was a culmination of lots of work by lots of people to get this team from an idea the March before with the promise of top results, then seeing that realized. Pretty proud moment.
Do you have any hobbies outside of cycling that you really enjoy?
This is going to sound so cliche, but I recently got deep into coffee. I love the process of manual brewing and learning how adjusting the variables of water temp, grind size, the amount of beans and the ratio of water can produce such different tastes. Its a very artisanal process and one I love trying to perfect.
After a tough training ride what are you cooking up for dinner? (Recipes Welcome!)
Funny you should ask! I will have a weekly series called #realfoodfriday where I do just that. Check out www.beyondcx.rocks under the blog section! Share what I cook at home to make me the best cyclist I can. But no frills, on a budget, eat real food, easy to make, simple. Because I don’t have time to be fancy. Its about getting in all the energy you can to be able to smash the training you have the next day.
One of my favorite things and a go to is Chana Masala.
Can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Can of crushed tomatoes
Tablespoon curry powder
Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
Half Tablespoon Braggs amino acids
2 Cloves of garlic minced
Pour everything in a pot and heat until bubbling.
Serve over rice, quinoa, sweet potato, etc etc.
I also love to steam kale and squeeze a lemon over it with minced ginger and garlic. SO. GOOD. Its an awesome side or main over lots of rice.
(Photo by Brett Rothmeyer)
Do you have a favorite use for maple syrup?
Straight. In. My. Mouth.
What lead you to UnTapped and bringing #MapleToTheMasses?
In my search for real foods for riding, UnTapped was a smack in the forehead. DUH! Maple Syrup!!! After meeting you guys at Sea Otter this year, I knew not only was the product good, but the guys running the company were awesome dudes who love bikes and riding and just being stoked on UnTapped. The company is one I can easily get behind and share the maple love.
**But in all seriousness, there is this girl I’m really into who is way more into maple syrup than flowers. So far so good, and I have UnTapped to thank for that.