Spending a month racing in Europe with the Junior National team has definitely been a highlight of my involvement in cycling, and getting resettled back at home has been a bit hectic to say the least.
Flying out 2 days after I was selected was rather short-notice. The racing and travelling was a great experience and has taught me a lot about racing my bike, meeting new people, working with people I already knew, and maybe most important, it taught me a bit more about myself.
Although some goals i had coming into the trip were not met, I cannot say that the trip was in vain. I still pulled a lot out of it and being part of the Trofeo-Karlsberg Nations Cup will be an experience I will not forget. I came into that race with the goal of finishing in the top 15 places in a stage, but a crash on day 1 all but ruled that out for me. The racing mentality and dynamics are very different when you are competing with 20 other national teams and when the bunch is more than Junior 120 riders, I emphasize, Junior. Things get very nervous in the pack, and if ill positioned, you are more likely to find the pavement with your arm. Although I had my share of crashes and a flat, it just went to show that I had to suck it up and deal with it because at the end of the day, no one racing against me will care and the only person I can disappoint is myself. All I can do, is move on, and not let it affect the other tasks I have to do to climb up the ladder. Shit happens, deal with it.
That being said, the kermesse racing we did back in Belgium was on a smaller and lower-key kind of level and allowed us to play out some team tactics and practise racing very aggressively and dealing with road furniture and the racing style over there. Racing for my second time in europe has only made me more confident on the bike, fitter, and has given me a different point of view on the sport. Racing a large peloton is as much about being fit as it is about positioning yourself to avoid crashes and come through in the right places after corners and roundabouts. Thank you to the CCA and their staff who made all of this possible for us.
I am now back in the swing of things racing with Russ Hay's pb Accent Inns. We raced the Minto RR in comox yesterday. It was great fun and well organized. It is good to be home again. I look forward to the Victoria International Cycling Festival next weekend where I will be racing the Specialized/Russ Hay's TT, the Junior Provincial RR and Bastion Square as a Cat. 1/2.
Blog post soon after next weekend