In today’s interview we sit down with DDA coach Sam Bassetti for a quick look at what makes him tick.
10 Questions with Coach Sam
- Q – When I hear the name “Bassetti” I think of pasta, meatballs, and the mob. Any truth to my stereotypes?
- A – While I am a big fan of pasta and meatballs my heritage is only slightly Swiss Italian, but mostly Swedish (hence the pasty white skin and blonde hair).
- Q – What’s your absolute best memory on the bike?
- A – It’s hard to nail down a single moment. However, my favorite feeling on the bike is racing up a long climb against someone that you are evenly matched with. I love the feeling of being right on the limit and knowing that your buddy is in the exact same spot, and I love it when the winner is whoever can make that last little kick.
- Q – You’re from Santa Rosa, CA. Describe your favorite stretch of road in the area.
- A – Meyers grade descent has to be one of the best roads in all of Sonoma County. The context of the road is important to understanding why it’s so great. It comes a few hours into the Kings Ridge loop, after the main climb, and after Seaview road. At this point in the ride I’m usually pretty cracked, Kings ridge is hard just to ride, and Seaview is surprisingly hard as well. After rolling along the ridge with some small views of the ocean, suddenly you come over the top of one roller and you can see all the way down some of the most beautiful coastline in California, and all of southern Sonoma County. You then get one of the fastest and most fun descents in the county, all with the coast in the background. I love that moment of cresting the last roller, and the descent after is a treat after all the climbing it takes to get there.
- Q – You’ve ridden on pro teams in some of the biggest races in the US. Give one piece of advice for an aspiring young rider looking to make the jump to a pro team.
- A – Being a professional cyclist in the US is not easy or glamorous. You probably won’t make much money, if any, and you will be away from home for extended periods of time. You will be trapped in a team van for days at a time, sleep on a bunch of air mattresses and couches, you will be stranded at the airport, have your flight canceled and show up the day of the race. Your team will run out of money half way through the year, you will get sick part way through your trip and be stuck in Silver City, and you will be expected to perform through everything because it’s your job. My biggest pieces of advice are that attitude and approach are everything, and you have to do it for the right reasons. You have to be flexible and positive. When you walk into your one star hotel room in the Dominican Republic that will supposedly fit your whole team and find out that half the guys are sleeping on waterbeds, you just have to roll with it.
- Q – “You can’t triple stamp a double stamp”. An extremely important quote from a seminal American film masterpiece. Please tell me you know where it comes from, no Googling.
- A – I’m very disappointed in myself right now, I think I would have recognized a more famous quote from this one.
- Q – A lot of young riders go “all-in” and abandon college aspirations to take a crack at bike racing full time. You chose instead to pursue an Exercise Biology degree from UC Davis. Any regrets?
- A – I only wish that I could have focused on school and cycling at different times. While I received an excellent education, I wasn’t able to participate in all of the additional educational opportunities available to me like working in a professor’s lab or participating in research projects. At the same time, I found it difficult to be a great racer while attending school. It wasn’t until my last year that I was able to put everything together on and off the bike at the same time.
- Q – You’ve been racing in NorCal since you were a junior. What’s your favorite race on the NCNCA calendar?
- A – I am a big fan of many of the classic NorCal road races, but Copperopolis is one that sticks out to me. It’s a race that hovers right on the edge of what I am normally capable of as a rider. I have always wanted to win it because it’s so difficult for me.
- Q – Research shows music can make you faster, what’s on your playlist if you’re looking to dig extra deep.
- A – Only the classics: T-Swift, Dr. Dre, Imagine Dragons, plus whatever random techno/electronic/house music I have laying around.
- Q – Bike racing is stressful, expensive, and potentially dangerous. How would you convince a new rider that racing bikes is worth the hassle?
- A – I think that it’s hard to describe why this sport is worth it using words. I believe that this is a sport that you have to experience for yourself in order to understand. The sensations and feelings that we all experience as racers are the foundation for why we love the sport. I can try and tell you why it somehow feels great to come home from 5 hours in the rain completely wrecked, or what it feels like to know with 100% confidence that you are the strongest on the last climb of a 100 mile road race, but at the end of they day you have to do it to really understand.
- Q – You’ve been using power data in your own training for a while. Give one piece of advice for a cyclist just getting started with a power meter.
- A – Don’t use power to compare yourself to others, use power to compare yourself to yourself.
Sam’s curiosity about his own physiology led him to pursue a degree in Exercise Biology from the University of California, Davis.
After finishing his degree, Sam rode professionally for the 5-Hour ENERGY Cycling Team and the IRT Professional Cycling Team gathering race experience in North America and across the globe.
Sam continues to race on the Herbalife 24 p/b Marc Pro-Nature’s Bakery Elite Cycling Team and is excited to leverage his experience and educational background to help you become a better cyclist.