Athlete Interview: Robert McCuen

As a 4 year college baseball athlete the question was, what now that college sports are over? I tried many different things but landed in the world of racing dirt bikes in the woods (harescrambles) and pushed myself and bike for several years into the A class and getting stronger each season as my skill set progressed. That was until 2013 when I was racing for a podium spot at a local event when I lost my balance and hit a tree head on. I ripped my quadricep off my knee and shattered my knee cap. This injury took me a year to recover and the doctors told me I would not be able to ride a bicycle as I would not gain the range of motion back in my leg. That did not sit well with me so I worked at it, stretched my leg, pushed through the pain, another surgery to snap the scar tissue, and I was finally able to do a full rotation on a stationary bike after 6 months of work. This is how I found MTBs. 
With a young family my wife asked if I would give another sport a try as she did not want to see my go through the pain I just endured again. She said “why not try mountain bike riding” I was 35 years old and never raced a bike before that. Better late than never and I had something to prove to the doctors. That year I won the Mid Atlantic Super Series Cat 3..30-39 age group. Next season I won the Cat 2 30-39 age group did my first cat 1 race and won by 7 minutes so I choose to jump to the Open Cat 1 Pro Elite class and have been racing in this class since 2017. 
I live in southern NJ with my lovely wife and 3 beautiful babies. We live a very active life and it’s the best thing in the world. I’m a regional sales manager for EP Henry and I sell backyard dreams to homeowners all over the region. I live my life by this saying “it’s later than you think” and I do not waste a minute. 

Height: 6’ 2” 

December Weight: 180 lbs 

Race Weight: 175 

Birthdate: September 11, 1981 

Childhood Heroes: my grandfather was an amazing human. We spent a lot of time together when I was young and he was one of my first best friends. 

Hobbies and Interests: Taking pictures I do my best to catch as many sunsets as I can. Typically watch them while on the bike 

Favorite Movies: Dumb & Dumber, Big Fish, Into the Wild 

Musical Tastes: ha EDM is my go to…

Favorite TV Shows: I do not watch TV 

Favorite Meal: Taco Tuesday. Always searching for the best burrito. 

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: Frosted Mini Wheats 

Favorite Pre-Race Meal: Oatmeal with raisins 

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food 

Childhood Dream: Train Engineer 

First Car: 1998 Ford Ranger and I drove that thing like it was a sports car 

First Job: Laborer for a construction company…jack of all trades…shingles to lawn maintenance I did it all 

Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere that has mountains…I Loveeee the Adirondacks and plan to be a ADK 46er in the future 

Pre-Race Feeling: can’t sleep, sick to my stomach, can’t sit still. I have to get to races early and walk around in order to calm down 

Robert McCuen

Early Racing Memory: my first race was French Creek and I blew up on the first climb and could not see straight for the entire lap. It was the worse feeling of my life but I loved it and wanted more. 

Funny Racing Memory: traveling to IronCross and staying the night at the grungiest of hotels I’ve ever been in. They had to burn incense prior to me entering the room. I can only imagine what they were trying to hide. I look back now and just laugh at how awful it was. Race went well however l

Greatest Racing Moment: qualifying and racing XC MTB Nats in 2018. The entire scene was amazing and to line up against the fastest racers in the county felt unreal. I took 9th in the country and that feeling of accomplishment has stuck with me since then. 

Most Painful Moment In Life: Failing to start my own business. As a family we put all we had into it being successful but it was not enough and cost our family big time. At that point we did not have a penny to our name but I knew that we were meant to do bigger things. It was the most painful learning experience I ever had 

Robert McCuen family

Worst Injury from Racing: Prior to MTB racing I raced dirt bikes (harescrambles) and while battling for a poduim spot I lost my balance in a fast section and crashed head on into a tree. My left knee took the brunt of the hit and I ripped my quadricep off my knee and shattered my knee cap. I had to walk 1 mile out of the woods while my boot filled with blood. It took me 1 year to recover from that crash. This injury is how I found MTB racing as the doctors told me I’d be lucky to ride a bicycle ever again…I sure showed them lol 

Closest Racing Friends: we like to call ourselves the dawn patrol. In the woods and workout done before most are out of bed. 

Favorite season to Ride: I love riding in all seasons but Fall is the most amazing time to ride. Watching the leaves change color and how beautiful the world looks keeps me smiling from ear to ear all fall. 

Favorite Race: I love Lewis Morris 

Favorite type of Workout: I’m a big fan of 1 hour hammer feats. The tougher the better. I enjoy being in the zone and testing the boundaries. Always amazed at what the human body is capable of. I also enjoy any workout that involves repeat climbing. How’s it go ? “the first one is always the hardest” 

Robert McCuen Mid Atlantic Super Series

Toughest Competitors: anyone that shows grit. You know the racers that will never toss in the towel. 

Favorite Athletes to Watch: I absolute love watching the Olympics. To see all the hard work and sacrifices that go into making a world champion is mind blowing. Much respect to athletes that make their dream their reality. 

Qualities You Most Admire in People: Kindness wins every time in my book, does not cost a thing to be kind. 

What You Love Most About Riding Your Bicycle: I enjoy disconnecting from it all. Exploring a new place, crushing a new workout. I ride 90% of the time by myself and I love exploring a new park, or a new gravel road. The things I see while on my bike with stick with me forever. Season by season I watch them change from the seat of my bike. 

Robert McCuen