Checking out a piece of Route 66 in California....home of SmartStop Self Storage!
So its been a long time since my last blog posting way back at the end of February. Though I was looking to keep the posts coming frequent, the simple fact of the matter is ive been in a pretty uninspired writing mood over the past months. As reported in that previous post, I got struck down with an illness soon after arriving in the US. Though I was getting back on the bike as I wrote that post, just ahead of training camp and the start of the season, things have just not been right since. Something im not going to dwell on for long, but the effects of the illness itself and training missed in that month were multiplied as the season got underway. Quite simply I just felt extremely out of sorts. When im going to a bike race and not enjoying it there must be something wrong! Certainly not the way I intended my 2013 season to start with Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis. However im happy to report there have been much better sensations on the bike in these last weeks, suggesting the turning point on this season. Sometimes in these situations you just have to let the body do its thing and have a little faith.
Its not all been Hollywood glamour so far this season!
Nothing too much to shout about in those opening races for me personally so i'll give you the highlights show, recapping more recent events. Mid April saw my first podium of the year at the Dilworth Criterium. A dominating ride by teammate Nate Ward saw him take the win from a two man breakaway. I was to get ahead of the peloton in the closing stages to take 3rd. It was a good team performance and a sign of what was to come in the coming weeks. Before I get to that, sandwiched between was the Foothills Road Race in Alabama, which saw top 10 placings for myself and teammate Travis Livermon. A bit of a game of cat and mouse at the end, which on another day could have produced another outcome. But ofcourse thats cycling sometimes.
Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis 2013!
And to most recently and im happy to report that aswell as another podium, I was also to take my first win of the season and secure second on overall at the 'Heart of Carolina Omnium'. A three day Omnium (basically a stage race but decided on points for placings on each stage rather than time) comprising of two criteriums and one road race. And so it turned out to be quite the successful weekend for myself and my four teammates in the race. It was nice to actually look forward to racing once again. A clear sign that the body was coming around. Across the weekend we raced well as a team and throw in the fun that we had in doing so, success was never going to be far away for Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis.
And so it proved! Teammate Jon Hamblen taking the win in the 'Adam Little Memorial Criterium' solo from the breakaway, backed up by another strong ride by Chris Monteleone in 3rd. Pat Raines and Nate Ward also secured top 10 placings in the finale.
The 'Asheboro in Motion Criterium' on the second day was about helping Jon keep the overall lead aswell as securing our dominance as a whole on the overall Omnium. That we did and in fact the only thing we didnt quite do that day was win the bike race. 2nd for Jon, 3rd for myself and 4th for Nate securing our dominance on the overall Omnium.
Onto Sundays 'Denton Tour de Kale Road Race' and that was about three things 1) Helping Jon to secure the overall Omnium 2) Ofcourse trying to win the race 3) Try for all of us to move up a little bit more in the overall Omnium (after all there were a nice amount of $'s up for grabs!). It was one of those days where everything fell into place after another good team performance. Always in control of the race, we had riders in the right moves at the right times. Nothing more nothing less. Soon after bridging to the breakaway in a chase group, I wanted to test the breakaway out by making it a bit harder up front. After covering a move with around 35km to go I rolled off the front and into TT mode and the correct decision it proved to be soloing the remainder of the race for the win....happy days! This was backed up by Pat in 3rd, Chris in 4th and Nate 15th. The impact of this result was great for the overall Omnium too. Jon remained on top, I moved up to 2nd, Pat 3rd, Chris 4th and Nate 9th. A nice weekend indeed!
I love a breakaway....1st win of the season!
So there it is. There have certainly been ups and downs over these past months. Luckily the pathway on this US season is on its way upwards. The remainder of May is pretty low key, but this on the plus side allows some time to re-establish some routine in all aspects and prepare for June and the rest of the summer ahead. Thanks once again for all of your support over these last months, greatly appreciated as always! And on that note please remember to check out http://www.daveraynerfund.com/ (Twitter: @DaveRaynerFund / Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheDaveRaynerFund?fref=ts) who continue to support me and many riders racing abroad. The rest of the season awaits for me and my Team Smartstop Pro Cycling P/B Mountain Khakis teammates....until next time!
Season 2013 looking brighter again!