Since my last update I am now more than a month deep into my racing season; and just as you might expect with any season, it has been a roller coaster ride with plenty of ups and downs. Unfortunately the season started with the low-lights, as I suffered my first crash of the season just 3 days after arriving in BC. It was at a weekday crit ,during the sprint for the line, and the riders in front of me went down at 55 km/h; I had no choice but to go down with them. Luckily the only injuries I sustained were a significant amount of road rash, and some serious stiffness for the next couple of weeks. Oh - and a broken fork, which got repaired right away . . . because hey, what are sponsors for - am I right?
Despite not acquiring any serious injuries, the crash did take some of the energy and confidence out of me for the next few races. I suffered a lot on the bike, with some pretty disappointing results to show for it. Fortunately, my shortcomings were made up for; our team was able to secure a Top 5 in the GC in each of the first 3 races we competed in. Now to the highlights: I feel I am completely healed up from my crash of just over a month ago, and I am starting to show positive signs of the fitness I was bringing into the season before I went down. One of those signs came in the Bikes on Broadway criterium in Saskatchewan, where I lapped the field with one other rider and narrowly missed out on my first Cat 1/2 win by just a couple centimetres.
The biggest adjustment of this season compared to last year racing with Juventus, is that I am experiencing first hand just how much of a team sport bike racing really is. When you live in the same house with your teammates almost 24/7, go on almost every training ride with those same teammates, and then show up to the line for your next race alongside those teammates, it is quite clear on how dependent you are on one another, not just for results in the races, but for your sanity and motivation every single day. I no longer just sit in the pack the whole race and watch out for myself. I am given my own specific role and responsibility each day; sometimes it is to attack from the gun, other times it is to destroy myself on the front of the pack to help set up a teammate - and there are the few select days where I am given the support of my teammates to try and go for the win. These races haven't been easy for me, but when I come to the line in 70th place completely shattered from my effort that day, it makes it all worth it when a teammate comes up and gives you a pat on the back for the help you gave him.