Scott Funston Has a Plan
Team USA

Scott Funston Has a Plan and He’s Sticking to It

By: Jim Rutberg  January 20, 2022

Funston has one goal: Worlds.

Through a tumultuous two-year period that included a largely lost racing season due to COVID, Scott Funston has stayed faithfully focused on one goal: the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

“The overarching goal of the last two years, since it’s been announced, has been to go top 10 at the Fayetteville World Championships. Underneath that, the sub-goals were to win Pan-American Championships and National Championships. And I wanted to go top 10 in a European race, as well.”

Funston’s dedication to training and preparation paid off, and he’s checked off objective after objective throughout a strong 2021 cyclocross campaign.

Fall CX Campaign

A college student at Colorado Mesa University, Funston tuned up his fitness at the end of the summer with collegiate mountain bike races before competing in Elite fields in September at Go Cross in Virginia and Charm City Cross in Maryland. Top 20 finishes in those races qualified him for the UCI World Cup races and earned him valuable UCI points for improved starting positions in subsequent events.

Although still a U23 rider, Funston competed in the Elite fields at two of the three UCI World Cup events held in the United States in October 2021. “I did the first two World Cups in the US, in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and Fayetteville, Arkansas. I was top 30 and on the lead lap for both of those. I had never finished on the lead lap of an Elite World Cup, so I was really proud of those efforts.”

Collegiate MTB Nationals

Following the World Cups, Funston decided to skip a few cyclocross events to race Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships with his CMU teammates. “The team aspect of collegiate racing is really different, and fun. One of the awesome things about MTB Nationals is that it’s endurance events and gravity events combined, so my performance in a cross-country race and my friends’ performances in downhill races impact the team as we work toward the same goal. That’s unique in cycling, to have that broad range of skills and disciplines working together.”

Scott’s contribution to the team effort helped Colorado Mesa University defend its National Championship in the Varsity Team Omnium.

CX Continental and National Championships

Between Collegiate MTB National Championships and the Pan-American Championships, Funston confirmed that his cyclocross fitness was on track by earning his first UCI Elite podium and victory in back-to-back races at the Major Taylor Cross Cup in Indianapolis, Indiana. A little more than a month later, over the span of eight days Funston raced a tactical battle to win the 2021 U23 Pan-American Continental Cyclocross Championship and rode away from the field to win the U23 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship by more than two minutes.

Christmas in Europe

With few major cyclocross events in the U.S. between National Championships in mid-December and the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclocross World Championships in late January, Funston joined several junior and U23 members of Team USA for a 3-week MudFund-supported development camp in Sittard, Netherlands. “My preparation for World Championships would have been a lot more challenging without going to Europe, and I don’t think I’d be as well prepared. I’m taking a lot of confidence from that trip. It’s going to be hard and I’m going to have to ride well, but the results I had there confirmed that a top 10 finish at World Championships is within my capabilities.”

Between December 19 and January 5, Funston competed seven times, including two World Cups in the U23 field and a third in the Elite field at the Hulst World Cup. Apart from major championship and World Cup races, Elite and U23 riders often race together. Racing in the Elite field at the Hulst World Cup provided a further boost to Funston’s confidence. “I got a good start and I was able to run top 30 in that race. I’d done that in the U.S. rounds, but those fields weren’t as deep. Before the race in Hulst, I was thinking top 40 would be good, and then I was fighting for positions in the late 20s most of the race. I faded toward the end because the race was longer than I’m used to, but I took a lot of confidence from that race, not only for World Championships but for next season when I move up to the Elites.”

Providing opportunities for Junior and U23 cyclocross athletes like Scott Funston to learn and gain confidence racing internationally is one of the primary objectives of the MudFund-supported USA Cycling Cyclocross Development Program. “I think some people see 17 and 18 as ‘development’ and then figure once you’re an ‘elite’ by age group you’re fully developed. But those first years in the Elites you can be just thrown to the wolves. So, having more development opportunities and steppingstones from USA Cycling to get to that level is really important.”

Before hanging up to head out for a ride, Funston complimented USA Cycling Cyclocross Director, Jesse Anthony, on the evolution of the program. “Jesse talked about creating a positive culture there, with people who really want to be there and want to do the work, and I think they’re doing a great job at that. Our time in Sittard was happy and upbeat; everyone wanted to be there and everyone was working toward the same goal. It was a complicated time to do that, with COVID surging and people being away from family at Christmas. So, I have to commend Jesse and the team on that, and I think it showed in our performances.”

USA Cycling relies on thousands of individual annual contributions from cyclists and other supporters of our mission to champion the sport of cycling in America. These contributions fund programs like the European racing development camp and the World Championships, as well as many other elite-level development so the Stars and Stripes shine on world-class podiums. Let's grow the sport of cycling together.