Athlete Interviews: Keegan Swenson – Stan’s Pivot Pro Team

During our time at Sea Otter, @Jonathan sat down with each member of the Stans-Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis to discuss their pre-race routines and ask some of the questions you submitted for them.

Keegan Swenson is one of the best cross-country MTB racers in the USA, and is currently focused on earning a spot to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. I’ve never met anybody who approaches the training process with so much enthusiasm and optimism, and I think we can all learn from that in this interview. Enjoy the podcast, and be more like Keegan!

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • Keegan’s ideal dinner before a race
  • Sleep hacks to deal with sleeping in different places
  • Keegan’s morning routine
  • Does spinning on race morning help or hinder your race performance?
  • Ride or Drive to the Venue?
  • What is the best pre-race breakfast?
  • Keegan’s warmup music and routine
  • How Keegan gets “in the zone” on race day
  • Does visualizing the course help you during the race?
  • Keegan’s Sea Otter race recap
  • How to prioritize training vs rest/recovery
  • Recovery tips from Keegan
  • How to fit strength training into your cycling training
  • Keegan’s favorite place to ride
  • What Keegan likes to treat himself with after a successful race
  • Why Keegan wishes he did consistent strength training when he started racing

Stay tuned for the final interview from Sea Otter tomorrow, and if you have any questions for Keegan regarding his approach to training, racing, equipment, nutrition, etc., reply below!


Enjoying these. I’m not an MTB guy (yet), but I’m learning something from each one.


This comes up with Sophia Gomez, not Keegan Swenson

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Wrong link?

Couldn’t find it on Soundcloud either.

Its on iTunes.

@T_Field fixed! Sorry about that!

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@Jonathan What shoes and pedals does Keegan use in the video that you posted of short track? And what XC/MTB shoes and pedals do you recommend, @Jonathan?

Keegan uses the Shimano S-Phyre XC9 shoes and Shimano XTR 9100 pedals.

I use Specialized S-Works XC shoes and XPEDO M-Force 8-ti pedals.

While my XPEDO pedals are very light and use the SPD system, they aren’t as durable as the XTRs. In 3 years I’ve only bent one pedal, but I’m also pretty careful about my pedal placement. If you aren’t, then I’d recommend those SPDs.

I’ve used Crank Brothers pedals in the past but I don’t like how they have constantly resistive float and no clear indication of when you will pop out. I’ve had some accidental releases with those pedals that have caused some bad crashes.

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Thank you @Jonathan

I don’t think you can go wrong with Shimano XT pedals…they are bombproof.


@Jonathan i just bought the S-Phyre and XT pedals. Can you give me some guidance on setting the fore/aft position of the cleat on the bottom of the shoe?

Old school placement aimed to have the center of the pedal axis right under the ball of the foot. This places a bit more tension on the calves (good or bad depending on your preferences) and on the ball of the foot (which can lead to hot spots for some riders).

To avoid the two issues above, new thinking leads to placing the cleat such that the pedal axis is a bit behind the ball of the foot. The default starting point for Retul (Specialized Body Geometry of old) is to set the axle half way between the 1st metatarsal (ball of the foot) and the 5th metatarsal (pinky toe’s first knuckle).

Here is a terrible graphic to try and show the positioning described (called “New Neutral”):

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Thank you @mcneese.chad :wink:

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@Jonathan did not set the link for Keegan’s pillow.