Eaton: ‘Every chance I had to better myself and improve I went for’

Two years after Mesa’s Danny Eaton (Axeon Cycling Team) set a record time of 17:57 at the South Mountain Time Trial fans watched online as he took home a top spot at a pro tour stage.

The 22-year-old secured fourth place at the USA Pro Challenge last week, beating top riders like Taylor Phinney (BMC), Roman Kreuzinger (Tinkoff Saxo) and Arizona’s own Travis McCabe (SmartStop).

It’s been a successful year for Eaton – he also donned the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey in this year’s Tour of Utah, and he won the 2015 USA Cycling U23 Time Trial Championships. The win secured him a spot at the UCI Road Wold Championships this fall in Richmond, Va.

A year earlier, he beat Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) for a sixth-place finish in the 2014 USA Pro Challenge.

How has Eaton, who will age out of Axeon next year, changed and grown? Eaton told Clipped In there wasn’t just one thing that made him more successful on the bike this year:

“The most notable quote my coach has ever told me is, ‘doing what you did gets you what you got.’

“I think for me I really took this quote to heart in every aspect of my racing and training over this past season.

“Every chance I had to better myself and improve I went for.

“This winter I did lots of unconventional training off the bike, which I believe helped in many aspects of my riding. Every race and course profile/map I diligently studied and tried to see where an advantage lay.

“As well in just overall professionalism and maturity, I have tried to grow and change. With cycling being such a competitive and ego-driven sport, being professional and courteous goes a long way.

“In terms of race results I believe I have grown in my understanding of the different race styles and tactics. People may not realize but there is a big difference between U23 racing and pro racing, even so much that you have to change your training to prepare for them.

“In summary, I am always growing, maturing and learning in this sport. I try to stay humble and learn as much as I can from senior riders and in the end just have fun and appreciate that I get paid to do something l love and am passionate about.”

Photo by Axeon Cycling Team