Since my last post in March I wrapped up the spring semester, spent three weeks in Colorado for a high-altitude training camp, and am now in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania for a national team training camp and my first track races of the year. Soon I’ll be off to Colombia to race the third round of the Nations Cup.
But, to pick up where I left off in my last blog … after returning to Maine from Los Angeles in late March, I spent a few weeks recovering from a left-leg nerve injury that prevented full muscle engagement. I worked with Michael Mullin of Integrative Rehab Training to get back to full power, doing intensive physical therapy and focused breath work for several weeks. My 2022 racing campaign then opened with five road races and criteriums across New England, racing for Donkey Label Racing. Though I hadn’t raced since August 2021, I had surprisingly good legs. At the 120km Hatfield Road Race in Hatfield, MA, I took my first win since July 2019, beating established pros such as Robin Carpenter and Curtis White. After ripping apart the field on a long tailwind section, Robin, Curtis, a few others and I worked together in a break for the last 30km of the race. It came down to a sprint which I won handily, thanks to my track background. It was incredible to win. In a sport that requires years of intense, myopic dedication, victories are few and far between. In typical team sports, half of the athletes on the field win each game, but in individual endurance sports, only one of often upwards of 100 riders does. The win made me remember a quote from Alexis Ryan, a professional cyclist with the Legion of Los Angeles continental team: winning a bike race requires you “to beat luck itself.” A huge number of variables influence the outcome of a race, so any win is no easy feat. I was also lucky enough to get in a beautiful training ride in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine with Kyle Rancourt, a spring training and racing buddy. The ride included climbing Cadillac Mountain, the crown jewel of Acadia. Cadillac Mountain is interestingly the point in the continental United States from which you can see the sunrise first, given its 466 meter elevation.
Here are some shots from racing this spring, the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain, and a nice recovery ride out on one of the Maine coast’s many peninsulas with my friends Zach and James. Credit Angelica Dixon
Aside from training and racing, I was also busy with my Bowdoin College schoolwork and research on the genetic control of zebrafish embryonic odontogenesis for one of my Biology professors, William Jackman. I took courses in Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Historiography, the Harlem Renaissance, and the aforementioned research in Professor Jackman’s lab. Much of my work consisted of staining, labeling, dissecting, and imaging tiny zebrafish embryos no longer than half a centimeter. I had never been at Bowdoin in the spring, due to Covid in 2020 and living in Chambéry, France racing for AG2R Citroën U23 in 2021. So I finally enjoyed a beautiful Maine spring! The excellent weather made for great riding and time outside with friends, but sometimes posed a challenge for getting schoolwork done.
And here are a few shots from a ride with five professors and four of my friends that I organized the day before I left campus. Credit Ta Herrera and Noah Eckstein
After finishing the semester, I flew to Boulder, Colorado for a three week training camp to work closely with my coach, Colby Pearce. Over the past four years I’ve spent about five total months in Boulder, which is one of the most productive training environments in the world. Boulder is situated in a high desert at 1600 meters, tucked into the Rocky Mountain foothills, with paved roads going up to 3200 meters. The mix of flat high-altitude roads with steady climbs that can take as long as two hours gives Boulder an unbeatable variety of terrain. After five days of acclimation, I got down to work. I also benefited from the excellent support of the sports science team at the sports nutrition company Skratch Labs, one of my personal sponsors. Colette Vartanian, Scratch’s head dietitian, gave me a sweat test to characterize the electrolytes in my sweat. Luckily, this showed 850 mg of sodium per liter, about the human average, and thus what most standard sports drinks, including Skratch’s, are made for. At this point in the season, with my most important races just around the corner, I added serious intensity into my training rides. Training went well, and I left Boulder with solid work in the bank for the rest of the season. Special thank yous go out to Lynn Guissinger, Steve Paul, and Ralph and Jane Milliff for hosting me in Boulder. This training camp would have been impossible without them!
From Boulder, I flew to Trexlertown, Pennsylvania where I’m currently at a national team training camp. Trexlertown, or TTown as it’s often called, is home to a concrete 333 meter outdoor velodrome where much of the highest level international track racing in the United States occurs each year in June. Aside from the national team training camp, I’ve also raced, starting with my first track race since last July, last Friday, racing for Giant Dijon Track Team. It was good to get back into the rhythm of racing, but the day featured a close call. While competing in the scratch race, the first race in the four-race omnium, a crash in front of me required that I ride over a rider and his sliding bike. Somehow I kept my bike upright and was able to finish the race, albeit with a cracked front wheel and loose saddle (both of which I only found out about after the race had finished). The rider that I rode over was fortunately fine. Despite the drama early in the day, I managed 12th place in the omnium: a decent first race back. I’ll look to improve on that this weekend where I’ll race a scratch race, and the Madison with Eddy Huntsman.
Next I’ll have one last big training push in Los Angeles before racing in the third round of the Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia from July 7-10, where I’ll represent the US National Team. The competition will gather riders from forty nations across six continents. I’m beyond excited to start my first Nations/World Cup and will look to perform at my best across the team pursuit, omnium, and Madison. Huge thank yous go out to Dave and Kathy Underhill for hosting me in TTown, and Matt Deifenbach, Scott Butler, Andrew Harris, Pete Taylor, and Erin Young for their support over the last two weeks.
From Colombia, my racing and training schedule gets far more complicated (as if the prior paragraphs weren’t complicated enough) and unpredictable. But I’ll keep you all updated! The schedule tab of my blog site has been updated with a likely, but incomplete schedule of racing over the next few months if you’d like to take a look.
I’ll plan on reporting back after the Nations Cup in Colombia with a race debrief, and a clearer account of what comes next.