Jason McCartney: Pro Bike Racer and Maybe Pro Skier (Someday)


Jason with Serious Hair Jell


My neighbor Jason McCartney is now riding for THE SHACK. That is the pro cycling team sponsored by Radioshack for those not in the pro cycling loop. Perhaps his nickname will change from JMac to Shack-Mac. Or, Mac-Shacker. Anyway, Jason is not really my neighbor, but he does live about ten minutes away in Iowa City, Iowa. Last year he rode for Saxo Bank and I briefly, recently blogged about him here.

But will he become a professional nordic skier? Well, that may be his new direction as soon as he delivers Lance to the podium in the 2010 Tour DAY France. Why do I say this? Because he can’t stop talking about skiing in this article from cyclingnews.com. 


Jason McCartney is anticipating his ride with Team RadioShack next season.

American veteran looking forward to possible 2010 Tour ride

After two seasons at CSC/Saxo Bank, Jason McCartney signed with Team Radio Shack for 2010, reuniting him with the personnel from the former Discovery Channel team which gave him his first European pro ride. His tenure at CSC/Saxo Bank was highlighted by King of the Mountains jerseys at both the Tour of California and Tour of Georgia.

McCartney, known affectionately as ‘JMac’, explained the reason for the changing focus within the Saxo Bank and his subsequent move to RadioShack. “They [Saxo Bank] had a US sponsor at first, now they have a mainly Danish sponsor. They have a lot of great young Danish talents coming up; Matty Breschel, Chris [Anker] Sorenson so their focus has shifted to their homeland.”

When asked about which cog he will be within the Radio Shack machine, it’s clear McCartney’s comfortable with his role is a team player. “They know me, I know them. They know where I fit in and what I am good at,” he said “If I get an opportunity in a stage race, I can take it. But, mainly I am here to kick some ass and help Levi or Lance or whomever in the big stage races.

“I am good at climbing. I can ride on the front all day. I can time trial. I think I am an ‘all arounder’ who is going to fit in perfectly. That’s kind of where I was on Discovery.”

Despite having ridden the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, McCartney has yet to ride the Tour de France. One of his goals is to ride the Tour in 2010. ” I’ve been on all these big teams. Discovery Channel was arguably one of the best teams in the world and Saxo Bank was one of the best teams in the world so it it always tough to make the Tour team. I think now I have a lot more experience and I am just a lot more confident in myself. For me, that’s a goal,” said McCartney.

What does ‘JMac’ need to do to get a ticket to the Tour? “I need to show consistency. That I am strong. That I am motivated. I think I fit in… With Tour teams or any team it is all about fitting in the right guys with the right spots. Hopefully, I can be one of those guys who fits in and can help out and they see that,” he explained.

Johan Bruyneel is a big reason McCartney returned to his first European pro team. “You can be on the bus and it can be raining out and everyone is like ‘this sucks’ and then he [Bruyneel] comes on and he’s a motivator. He is able to change things around. Every race I ever did where he was the director, it was amazing. Mayeb you weren’t riding so well or whatever – he’ll just say one little thing to you or to the group and it just changes the whole group,” said McCartney.

Off-season training is critical, especially for a ProTour team which needs to be ready in late January for the Tour Down Under. McCartney does a little bit of running, but cross country skiing is his real passion. “I will be skiing every day because I am addicted. I ski two, three, four hours, just what I can do. We have two great places the University [of Iowa] grooms. There is about 15km in town and 20-25km in the country. You can just do loops there all day. It is up and down. Perfect training,” he explained.

Apparently McCartney used cross country ski training to take a podium place in the 2007 Tour of California, so what’s the draw? “It’s just so great for your mind. You are doing something different. It is the same muscles as riding so you aren’t really missing anything,” he said. “It kind of changed me as a rider doing it instead of drinking beers in the winter. Now I am addicted. I go skiing. It’s my new thing. Hopefully it can pay off again this year. I know it will give me a great base.”

At 36, JMac still has a few good years left, but he’s also frank about what lies ahead. “You realise that it is not going to last forever. For me, I would probably like to do this season and two more in Europe and then maybe call it quits or come back and do something in the US.”


Here he is riding next to Lance:

Who Would Win in a Nordic Ski Race? Hmmmn?

Now, I don’t want to make waves with his new team. I certainly don’t want to ruin his winter training regime by inviting him to the Iowa City Ski Race Smackdown (which were slated to start today and were so sadly cancelled due to poor snow conditions). But if he shows up, I certainly won’t be upset. 

Finally, I want to posit a hypothesis. I wonder if he might have been the man in yellow last year in my Birkie adventure. You decide:

I See a Fine Skate technique Here.


I See Jason's Pedal Technique Here. Don't You?


I will leave you all with this nugget of Street Theory: 

“Science derives from a variety of cultural events (such as cross country skiing) and it generally does not necessarily impel or predict such events (such as me winning a cross country ski race). But although scientific theory is necessarily underdetermined, it is as good as we can get (except for Street Theory, which we now know to be superior to scientific theory). It (Street Theory) provides us with the structural conditions of the world’s being and of how we know them (especially how we know ski races and also bike races)” (pp. 156-7).

– from Gerald M. Edelman’s Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge (Yale UP, 2006). This quotation is from an uncorrected proof that I helped edit. The precision of this quote, especially the parenthetical asides, cannot be verified. Ps. This book is a worthwhile present for those on your Christmas list.

Is this One of Those of Energy Saving Light Bulbs, Dr. Edelman? I Don't Think So! Get Hep!


Pax and Ski Wax,


One Comment on “Jason McCartney: Pro Bike Racer and Maybe Pro Skier (Someday)

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