Racing home

Logan Owen returns to his roots

“The rumors are true. Logan Owen is warming up on the course, and he will be racing this afternoon,” came the voice on the PA system at the nationals cyclocross course in Lakewood, Washington. A few loud cheers went up; the crowd would soon see the return of its homegrown star after years away from ‘cross racing, years away from racing in Washington.


“Cyclocross is where I came from, so I’ll always have a special connection to it."

When Logan clipped in and rode up to the start line, he was coming home. He grew up less than hour from these woods, and he grew up racing cyclocross – the discipline that combines running, mud, strange obstacles, crazy fans, and twisting trails — and won more than 10 national titles as a kid and young man. Like many, he left the muddy courses to pursue a career road racing.


But this season, the EF Education First team blazed a new path through the traditions of road racing; we’ve raced on the gravel roads of Kansas and the U.K., and on mountain bikes through Colorado peaks. The thick mud of the pacific northwest, complete with its vibrant cyclocross community, marked a perfect last stop in 2019 for Owen and EF.


“Cyclocross is where I came from, so I’ll always have a special connection to it. I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world,” Owen said. “It’s a unique space in cycling, because the community aspect is the very fabric of the sport. Kids race in the mornings, their parents can race, then the professional men and women go later in the day. We all have a common thread by the end of the day and swap stories about the shared experience. I just love it.”


By the time he took the start, the sun was breaking through the clouds, and the crowd lined the craziest parts of the course. Owen was in the fourth row and made his way up to the top 10 just after the race started. Music blared from an RV, and fans waited for their chance to urge the riders on each lap. Part bike race and part party, cyclocross is never boring. Lap after lap, Owen showed he still had his old magic. He finished seventh, in spite of not truly preparing for the race since he’s still a full-time road racer.


Not that it mattered — he came for a homecoming ride. As the sun dipped low in the pines and treated fans and racers to a rare winter sunset in this part of the world, Owen stood at the finish line, mud on his face, a wide smile as he hugged his competitors.


Welcome home, Logan.


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