Paris World Championships, Rotterdam, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Beyond

Hello all!

It’s been five months since I last checked in. Life, training, and racing have been very busy the past few months, and I’ve got some great updates to share with you.

In mid October, I competed in the Madison at the UCI track cycling World Championships in Paris, France. Following a steady two-month build towards Worlds, I was cautiously confident in my form. The confidence came from my training, which included a late August block of Kermesse racing in Belgium, followed by a training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, capped off with a final prep camp in Anadia, Portugal. The caution, on the other hand, came from the fact that this would be my first-ever Madison that would average faster than 55 kph for a full hour. In fact, a 59-60 kph average speed was likely. A five kph increase might seem modest, but keep in mind that as speed increases, wind resistance increases with the square of speed, so each incremental increase requires more power to achieve.

My caution proved just. After a difficult and technically messy race, my partner and I were pulled from the 200-lap race after 130 laps. We ended the race classified 14th, which was both devastating and inspiring. More than anything else, it fueled my fire to come back stronger, something I’m working every day to do.

Racing the Madison at World Championships. Credit Casey Gibson.

Following the World Championships I took a much-needed break and added a bit more life to my life/cycling balance. From my home base in Grenoble, France, I drove down to Bilbao, Spain to visit a good friend from my Bowdoin College Nordic ski team, Christian Gostout. We explored Bilbao on bike and foot for a few days before taking a mini road trip through the Pyrennées, the vast mountain range dividing France and Spain. We stopped in Lourdes, a major religious pilgrimage site. From there we rode the Col du Tourmalet; then Andorra, a breathtakingly beautiful mountain micronation surrounded by France and Spain; and finally the city of Narbonne, founded by the Romans in 118 BCE. After Christian headed back to Bilbao, I stopped in Avignon to visit the immense 14th century Palais des Papes on my way back to Grenoble. The trip was wonderful. I’m blessed to be able to disconnect from cycling and reconnect with friends when I need to.

Discovering that oranges in the Basque Country are very tart in October

Some shots from a great ride that included the Col du Tourmalet

The beautiful Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Spanish coastline on the Bay of Biscay, some horses that had wandered onto a road in Andorra, and a standard bike path view riding north out of Grenoble. Life is good.

On my return to Grenoble, I got back to serious training, prepping for the winter Six Day season, a series of six-day track races centered around the Madison. Six Days have been fixtures of Northern European sporting life for over a century. For non-Europeans, receiving start spots at these events is extremely difficult. The last American Madison pairing to consistently race six days was Colby Pearce (my coach) and Daniel Holloway, some thirteen years ago. After extensive outreach to organizers, I landed start spots at the Geneva four day in Switzerland where I raced with fellow American Colby Lange; the Rotterdam U23 six day in the Netherlands, where I raced with the French rider Nicolas Hamon; and the Berlin Six Day in Germany. I learned vast amounts racing these events, save for the Berlin Six, where illness prevented my participation. 

Colby Lange and I racing to 3rd in a CL1 Madison at the Geneva Four Day. Credit Jasmin Honold.

With six-days, the sheer volume of racing – multiple events per night before capacity crowds for six straight nights – makes for a great learning environment, and there’s less pressure than at a Nations Cup or World Championship. My six day season ended with the overall win at the Rotterdam U23 Six Day with Nicolas Hamon. With a win in a CL2 standalone madison with Colby Lange in Aigle, Switzerland in November, and the overall win at the Rotterdam U23 Six Day, I marked my first two wins in Europe, which was a huge step for me. Winning in cycling is rare, so it’s easy to forget what it feels like!

The overall win the The Rotterdam U23 Six Day and the win at the 40km CL2 Madison in Aigle. Credit Velo Veritas and Wooning Zesdaagse.

Here’s a taste of what the Rotterdam Six Day looks like! It’s closer to entertainment than sport.

After the Rotterdam Six Day, I traveled back home to Minnesota for the last two weeks of December. This brought my total time at home in 2022 to three weeks! The time with my family was excellent; it’s easy to forget about the simple pleasures of mundane tasks at home when you’re traveling so often and for so long. I also managed to get out and ski several times. I have to admit that skiing, which used to be as natural for me as walking, felt awkward at first. But everything came back after an hour or so. As they say, it’s like riding… a bike.

From Saint Paul, I headed back to my Los Angeles winter training base in early January. By January 15th, the rest of the national track cycling team arrived for a further five-week camp. Los Angeles offers an amazing balance of training opportunities on the track and on the road, in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. I spent much of that with an excellent training partner in Phil Gaimon, an ex-World Tour pro. You can read more about Phil and his projects here.

Long rides with Phil and some nice beach walks made for an excellent January in Los Angeles.

Some aero testing in LA on the new Canyon Team Pursuit bikes developed for the Paris Olympics. A huge thank you to Johnny and the crew at HYCYS for their support. And yes, I can see in this position.

These last four weeks have been some of the most productive training of my life, and I’m looking forward to putting that foundation to use at the first Nations Cup of the season this week in Jakarta, Indonesia. Cycling has taken me to some incredible places, and this trip only adds to that list! This year marks the opening of the Olympic qualification period, so each major event becomes that much more important to secure start spots for the United States at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

I will be racing the Omnium on Saturday at 5am CT and the Madison on Sunday at 3am CT. You can follow along here.

Huge thank yous go out to Luis Che, Sarah Mattes, Kevin and Melanie Phillips, and Pete Coulson for their support in Los Angeles.

There you have it! Five months in one thousand words. I’ll keep the content coming.

5 thoughts on “Paris World Championships, Rotterdam, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Beyond

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