It’s been nearly two months since my last post, during which my racing and training has taken me to eight countries on three continents. It’s hard to regularly publish posts with this amount of travel, but I’ll try to be more regular going forward.
When I last checked in I had just recovered from Covid after the Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia, and was preparing for a six-day in Italy. My first event was the 5 Sere Internazionale Città di Pordenone in Pordenone, Italy. This event, which I also raced last year, is one of my favorite races on the calendar. The organizers lodge all of the riders in a hotel in the small town of Piancavallo, an 18km climb from Pordenone into the Dolomites. In addition to a full six day schedule, the organizers also include UCI racing, separate from the six-day events, almost every day. This meant nearly 100km of track racing every day. For my readers who have raced or ridden on a velodrome, you know that’s a lot! The six-day went very well with my partner Roy Eefting, a Dutch rider who is one of the most established track cyclists in the world. I was lucky enough to spend the week with Roy and two other Dutchmen: Jan-Willem van Schip and Yoeri Havik, the latter two of whom are also incredible track racers, with European and World Championship titles to their names. By the end of the week, Roy and I finished 4th overall in the six day, and I picked up a 10th place in the separate Class 1 Omnium on some very tired legs.
Some great shots of several Madisons in Pordenone as well as the podium from the first night of racing. Credit ATPhotography.
From Pordenone, I traveled to Lima, Peru for the Pan American Championships. The travel included a 12 hour nonstop from Paris to Lima, by far the longest flight I’ve ever taken. Surprisingly, or perhaps just due to my ignorance, it was winter in Peru! In the ten days I spent in Lima, a Pacific coast city of ten million residents, the sun came out for a solid five minutes. The athlete housing for the event was unheated, and windows were kept open due to Covid regulations. Over the past 2.5 years Peru has had the highest per capita Covid mortality rate of any nation in the world, so masks are still mandatory and many precautions are taken to lower transmission risk. Between winter weather (15 degrees C, or about 60 F) and open windows, my teammates and I spent ten days mostly just being cold. The velodrome wasn’t heated either, which is rare at the international level. Generally, a warmer velodrome is faster, up to about 30 degrees C or 85 degrees F. On my seventh day in Lima I finally raced, with the Omnium and Madison scheduled for the penultimate and last days of competition. Frustratingly, I woke up the morning of the Omnium with gastroenteritis and wasn’t good for much in either race. Despite winning the Scratch in the Omnium, I ended the day in 6th overall after a tough Elimination and Points Race. The Madison was similarly difficult; my partner Eddy Huntsman and I missed two key moves, the first by the Canadian and Colombian teams and the second by the Mexican and Argentinian teams. We ended the race in 5th, which was a disappointing result for me.
Some shots from the Omnium. Credit Peruvian Cycling Federation.
A cramped ride to the airport with a few of my Argentinian friends that I often race against in Italy, and perhaps the most important five minutes of the trip: soaking up some sun.
After the Pan American Championships concluded, I spent four days traveling from Lima to the US National Team house in Sittard, Netherlands. I took a nice five days off the bike to let my body reset from travel and general fatigue, and to set myself up for a final push towards the end of the season. Since leaving Bowdoin in mid-May, I’ve had nineteen days entirely devoted to travel, which is a bit ridiculous. During those few days off I fit in some good time with a few Dutch friends who live a bit further north of Sittard as well as a visit to the Cologne Philharmonic to watch François Xavier-Roth’s orchestra Les Siècles perform some Stravinsky pieces. Over the past few months I’ve found my cycling/life balance becoming ever more important, so it was nice to spend a few days away from the bike.
Once settled in Sittard, I began a three-week block of training and racing. At a CL1 weekend track event in Dudenhofen, Germany, I had an excellent turn of results, finishing 7th in the Omnium, 4th in the Scratch, and 2nd in the Madison with a great partner in the Danish rider Robin Juel Skivild.
Some nice shots from the Madison in Dudenhofen, which was a painful affair. Credit Jasmin Honold Photography.
The next ten days were focused on the road, where I settled into a five-hour training day, race day, and recovery day rhythm. This approach worked well for both racing and training. Most of the racing I did was done in Belgium at a type of race called a “Kermesse.” The word comes from kirk + messe, or “church mass,” and stems from church festivals which originally included feasting and sports. But in Belgium today, Kermesse mainly refers to bike races on roughly 5km road circuits, most of which are very flat, but also technical on narrow roads. As I had anticipated, this style of racing suited me well, and was excellent preparation for my upcoming track calendar. Results-wise, it was difficult to race as the sole non-European and without the support of teammates, but I snagged a few top-20 results.
After all of that travel, I’ve now brought you up to date on the past two months, but the next two promise just as much! Just a few days ago, I received the call that I’ve been selected to race the UCI Elite Track World Championships in Paris, France from October 12-16. I’ll race the Points race, Madison with Eddy Huntsman, and potentially Team Pursuit as well. I’m honored to be given the opportunity to represent the United States at the World Championship level, and am very ready to get stuck into some hard training these next few weeks in the build-up.
My preparation will first take me to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, where I’m in the middle of a World Championships prep camp, and then to a final training camp in Anadia, Portugal in the two weeks before the World Championships. To sign of with one last bit of good news, in the last update of the UCI track rankings, I’m currently ranked 14th in the world in the Omnium, and 13th in the Madison. There’s a long list of people who have helped me get to this spot, and I’m grateful to them all. Of course, there’s still much more work to be done.
Phew, that was a lot. I’ll be back sooner for my next post.