The spring block of Joe Martin, Gila, and Redlands just ended and I thought it might be good to look back and give an update on the good, the bad, and the ugly of racing the American spring calendar again.
Basically, my major goal was to try and avoid problems (crashing and sickness). This didn’t really go my way: nothing crazy, but a couple brushes with the pavement coupled with a few rounds of stomach trouble left me chasing fitness more than I hoped. Obviously, there are steps I’m taking to try to reduce these risks in the future, and I see my mistakes in certain instances, but there’s also just an element of luck that wasn’t on my side this spring.
Of course, a lot of things have been great this year. I’ve started with a new team, Silber Pro Cycling, and I’m super happy with my choice. I feel that I’m fitting in well with the riders, and the staff are top notch. With the new team comes new equipment, and while I am still happy on the “old faithful” Xenith SL, I’ve also been super pleased with the new time trial bike. Jamis built us a new bike from the ground up, and from my experience it’s really fast. Additionally, the team has invested in our time trialling by providing everyone with home TT bikes, something of a rarity in domestic racing. This means we can train on the same setup and start to really dial in the positioning.
Speaking of time trialling, the new equipment and a renewed focus have led me to some of my best TT performances so far. 12th in tests against the clock at Gila and Redlands certainly aren’t the end goal, but these are a big step up compared to my previous record. Turning a weakness into a strength feels like a great progression towards being a more complete bike racer. Some of this is clearly great equipment from Jamis, Easton, Velotoze, and Vittoria, but I think some of it is experience and a little bit of composure coming into play.
I’ve also been able to infiltrate breakaways at each of the major races this spring. In Gila, I even snatched up a time bonus to put me in the Best Young Riders jersey for a day. On Sunset at Redlands, thanks to a great team effort, I made the breakaway, and then was able to relaunch when the bunch came back together to set out on another attempt. My strategy of “get up the road and pray for rain” didn’t ultimately work out, but it put us in a good spot to give our GC leader Nigel as easy of a ride as possible. Again, trying to be a complete bike racer.
I’m disappointed not to earn any results to write home about in road races, but I think the fitness is on the way up, just set back a bit by accidents. I’m glad to have a relatively long time at home coming up, and I’m sure my coach Nate will be cooking up some great workouts to get the system back to firing on all cylinders (after a few days of rest!) Coming up next for me will be a criterium and road race in Winston-Salem, hopefully followed by two stage races in the Great White North.
That’s all I’ve got! Hopefully that’s enough news!