Interview with Ian Sullivan, ECCC Assistant Director

Ian Sullivan, ECCC Assistant Director

How did you first get involved with cycling? I was raised in a pretty cycling-friendly family.  Both of my parents ride in a recreational fashion every day during the summers.  As a kid, bikes were just a part of our family activities.  My dad got into mountain biking for a little while in the early 1990's so that was my first introduction to more Hard Core riding.  My intense interest in cycling really got lit by attending a mountain bike camp at Catamount Family Center in Williston VT when I was 11 or so.  That really got me interested in racing.  To more directly answer your question, I can't remember a time before cycling.

What about collegiate cycling? During High school and the first 2 and 2/3 of college I was a really committed runner.  Cycling was a recreational thing that I did in the summer.  The Varsity Cross-Country and Track programs didn't really allow for a lot of cross training.  Anyhow, the spring of my junior year I was wicked burned out on the running teams.  I needed to get back to cycling.  So I joined the UVM cycling team and did a few races.

How long have you been conference director? This year. Why did you get involved? As a sport cycling has given me a tremendous amount.  I have personally had a ton of great experiences in the sport.  I have always believed that anything worth participating in is worth contributing to.  Being part of collegiate cycling was very worthwhile to me, so I felt as though I should give back to try to help prepetuate the high standards of quality that the ECCC has enjoyed throughout the years.

Describe a typical race weekend; what do you do? Well, I haven't done a road weekend yet.  During the mountain season I just tried to help things go smoothly. 

What are your goals for the conference? I really want to see women's racing continue to develop.  Collegiate racing is unique because it marginalizes women's racing a lot less than the regular seasons.  I think there is still a long way to go, but we are in the middle of some programs to try and make the ECCC (and hopefully the broader community) a better place for women's racing.

I also really want to see the mountain season continue to grow and innovate.  There are very few series that are as cool as the collegiate one, I would love to see road season like attendance at mountain races.  The events, as products, are getting to a really high quality and are a lot of fun, it is just a matter of time for the attendance to follow.

Intro/Skillz clinics.  I think that Collegiate is awesome because it is provides a place where riders of immensely disparate skill levels care deeply about each other’s races.  I want to see our ability to educate and guide new racers into the sport grow and evolve.

Do you ride very often? I try to. Race? You could call it that.  It is really entertaining to watch.  Every time I pin a number on I say a little prayer to avoid embarrassing myself.

Road or mountain?  Both What kind of bike(s) do you have? I am going to be on a Trek Top Fuel 9.9

What’s your favorite part of the job? Being there when the spark is lit for somebody.  Seeing somebody really want to make racing happen for themselves.  It is such a rush.  So much of our everyday lives is terribly mundane and devoid of passion.  Racing is one of the few things that you don't have to temper your passion.  You can unabashedly love racing and pursue it with your whole heart, and everybody knows where you are coming from.  I get to see this working with the Intros and the Skillz Clinics. Least favorite? When I mess up.  Lord knows it has happened and will happen again.

Why do you keep doing it? I haven't been doing it long enough to know.  Should I be worried....?

What is special about collegiate cycling? I am not sure if many people have the same experience that a UVM cyclist would.  A lot of the things that made collegiate special for me had to do with the team and shouldn’t get reprinted.  I loved all of the stuff that happened outside of your own personal racing.  The inter-team rivalries, the heckling, the trash talk, the pranks and above all the van trips.  In the real world people aren't down with that.  In Collegiate it is all about the glory and passion.  I really dig that,

Do you have any good stories (funny, heartwarming, dramatic) from being a conference director? My absolute favorite moment so far was at this past mountain season's Easterns.  The XC race was held in cold slow drizzle.  Perfect New England Racing.  My friend and victim of a horrible Car v. Bike collision, Rose Long, won the race.  My little sister, Maggie Sullivan, got second and tied up the season omnium.  In third place was my longtime girlfriend, Emily Gassman.  I don't think I have ever been so happy, or felt so connected to a podium I wasn't on.  

What is your paying job? I am the Camp Director of a Mountain Bike Camp.  Check it out at  We work with about 400 kids over the course of the summer and do a lot of work with skills and riding.  This is my dream job for the moment, during the summer I get to spend all day everyday on my bike.  The winter sees a lot more paperwork and planning.  It is really good.

Tell me three things about yourself that don’t involve cycling.
 1. Someday I want to be a Lawyer, and wear a suit and tie every day.

2. I love Nordic skiing.  This is the second great athletic passion of mine.

3.  I take notes, but don't reread them.  If I write it down I will probably remember it.  Besides, my handwriting is so bad I have a hard time reading it.

This Article Published March 1, 2010 For more information contact: