Nathan Haas enjoyed a stellar debut gravel season in 2022. He’s looking to shift things up a gear or two in 2023.
2022 saw former professional road cyclist Nathan Haas, supported by Campagnolo, make the transition to full-time gravel racer.
And what a transition it proved to be as the 33-year-old Australian racked up a series of impressive results including victory at the beautiful and brutal Rift Iceland 200km race.
Here, we catch up with Haas to see how his off-season’s panning out and his plans for 2023.
Can you reveal your 2023 race calendar, please?
I’ve not yet published my race calendar for 2023 albeit we’re about 95% there. But I can assure you that all will be revealed soon. However, there are a few races that I know I’m racing.
That includes The Gralloch [20th May] in Scotland, which is a new race in the UCI Gravel World Series and one I’m really excited about as it’ll be the first time I’ve raced in the United Kingdom. Other races I’m super excited about are the Rift in Iceland [22nd July] and many big races in the US like Unbound [3rd June] and the Belgian Waffle Rides.
I’m also excited about a new series called Gravel Earth. The Rift is part of that and it’s a big deal for gravel in Europe and all around the world.
What’s your goal race?
It’ll likely be the Belgian Waffle Rides in the US. They suit my technical ability and give me the chance to showcase the quality of the Campagnolo Ekar groupset and Levante wheels.
Both give you a huge advantage as they can cope with the crazy singletrack conditions and still be super competitive on the climbs as they’re both very light. In Europe, I’ll focus on winning as many as the UCI Gravel World Series races as possible.
I’m also looking forward to returning to Iceland to defend my Rift title.
How’s the winter training been coming along?
This winter’s not been so different to any others in my life. In Australia it’s the summer and I’m soaking up the weather, which gives me plenty of time to absorb the base miles.
I’m riding around 15 to 25 hours a week at the moment. I’m splitting my time between road and gravel at this stage.
Nothing too structured yet as my first important race isn’t till April; I have plenty of time to do structured work and intensity later.
Where are your regular jaunts?
My regular routes tend to be in the Adelaide Hills. It’s great, though a very difficult place to ride a bike if you’re not a good climber or fit. It really whips you into shape.
But smelling the Australian eucalyptus gums and smells that emanate from the Australian forest is wonderful.
It’s a stunning place to train.
What lessons have you learnt from the 2022 season?
The main lesson learnt is that gravel is a completely different sport than professional road cycling! You don’t have those moments of giving your absolute maximum for five minutes before sitting up and doing nothing like you do on the road.
Instead, you’re pedalling super hard all day and then, when the race attacks, you go even harder.
The other thing is, you don’t have someone looking after your equipment in a race. If you suffer a flat or have a problem, there’s no bike mechanic to help you on your way.
You have to learn how to fix things yourself; learn how to plug tyres yourself.
Fortunately, I had no mechanical problems in 2022, which is reason in itself to use Campagnolo.
Tell us more about your experience with Campagnolo’s gear?
I used Campagnolo’s groupset, Ekar, and Levante wheels and felt that everything paired perfectly.
As I mentioned, I didn’t break a single piece of equipment throughout the whole season of 2022, which is an amazing fact when you consider how many kilometres I covered over such crazy terrain.
When it comes to recreational riders buying equipment, they really want something that lasts.
It’s one area where Campagnolo’s head and shoulders above the rest.
Finally, one wish for 2023?
I try to inspire as many people as possible to come to gravel races, to experience this beautiful new side of cycling.
So, anybody that may have been inspired by my story, if you happen to see me at a race, let me know as nothing makes me happier than knowing I’ve had a positive impact on someone’s life.