Probably time for a quick update in case you might be following the races I should currently be competing at. If you haven’t heard I was hit by a car while training in California the day before the start of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. I’ve got some fractures in my knee and wrist which are taking some time to heal up and for now all I can really do is wait. I’m at home in NB to focus on my recovery and I’m hoping to be back racing with my teammates soon but for now I have no real time frame for when that might happen. Not much else really to report but I figured some folks might start to wonder where I was hiding!
It’s been forever since my last blog post but I’m finally back to racing after a long winter, so that means it’s time for an update! First let’s backtrack to my last post many months ago – talking about my new team, coach, sponsors and so on. Well since then I’ve been splitting my time between Northern and Southern California either training on my own or doing various training camps with the National Team. This winter I started looking for things I could change with my training in hopes to find anything that might be missing, and I think adding of some track time and new ideas from Ric, my coach I am coming into the 2014 season a lot stronger than I have been in the past.
With that I was very excited to get the season kicked off in Chico over the weekend. I wanted to see how I compared to everyone else who surely had their own secret training improvements over the winter, and I was super excited to start racing with my new H&R Block teammates.
Stage 1 was a neat circuit race on a motor speedway a little outside of Chico. It was basically a long crit course with a few little hills and an odd build to the track that was clearly intended for cars more so than bikes. It was fun and fast though with no breaks being allowed more than a 5 second lead. It was a bit of a shock to the legs to get back into the punchy effort of racing but by the end of the race they seemed to wake up from a winter of steady riding.
Stage 2 was a 145km road race with 2 long and considerably rough dirt road sections which historically have been the splitting point of the race. This year also gave us strong cross winds to deal with right from the beginning. Within the first 10kms the race was shattering into small groups as the winds ripped the peloton apart. I showed a district lack of race sense trying to jump across a gap on my own as 6 leaders pulled away, but as I got halfway I was quickly reminded of learning this lesson many times before and had to settle in to the 2nd echelon on the road. We chased like mad but the leaders were a bit stronger all day and slowly notched their gap up more and more. We came in to the finish to fight for 6th place, with the final dirt section as the last obstacle. I was running on a pretty empty gas tank at this point and couldn’t manage to follow the attacks as they started but rolled in for a reasonable 12th place which also put me in 12th on GC.
The final day consisted of a flat, 16km TT and then a downtown crit. I think everyone was pretty wrecked after a very tough road race and I was no exception. The road felt like it was covered with double sided tape for the whole TT and the fact that I was minutes behind any real GC result and minutes ahead of anyone behind me probably didn’t help the motivation levels. I got through the TT, then had some fun with the crit and called it a wrap. Overall, a great weekend to kick off the season and get some racing days back in my legs. Plus I won the most expensive prime in the crit as possibly my first ever prime win. Nice way to cap off the weekend for sure!
Next up is a trip down south to do San Dimas and Redlands. Neither of these races were particularly kind to me last year but I’m heading in with a lot more confidence in my fitness and can’t wait to get a bit of redemption this season! Thanks for checking in!
It’s been a while since I posted a real update…twitter and Facebook has had a few tidbits about what’s going on in my little world but I figured there was enough build up of news to warrant a full blog post.
Where to start? I guess the fundraising campaign I ran through Pursu.it – https://pursu.it/campaign/stuart-wight/. WOW…I was completely blown away, humbled, honoured, and all kinds more emotions about how much support it received so quickly. I’ve always been incredibly fortunate to have wonderful people behind my sporting dreams and seeing everyone come together to contribute to this made me realize just how massive my support group really is. Thank you all so much for pitching in with it in various ways, be it a donation, spreading the word, or input and help with the production. (Ok let’s be honest…”help” with production means completely handling the production for this technologically challenged bike racer!) In any case, I’m touched and really hope you all enjoy the givebacks as they start to come out.
Next up…what I used part of the funding from my campaign for. I’ve been in LA for the last month going through a very intensive training/selection camp on the track to form the core group of track riders heading into the next Olympics. Having never really ridden the track aside from an appearance at Nationals this year, I was utterly petrified about cruising around the velodrome at nearly 60kms/hr, only centimetres from the guy in front of you with no brakes. I can honestly say I’ve never been more scarred on a bike, but gradually it became better and better until I was completely hooked on the efforts we were doing. I still don’t know how things will play out with selection and where this will go, but in just a few weeks I have already taken so much in and look forward to seeing what I can do with more work in this relatively foreign type of effort for me.
Other exciting news is that I’m finally allowed to announce my new team for 2014. I’ll be back in Canada after spending the last 5 years being the foreigner on different teams! I’m very happy to find a place with Vancouver based H&R Block – http://www.teamhrblock.ca. The team has pulled together some of Canada’s best young riders and we’ll be doing a lot of big races throughout North America. I’ll be able to round out my calendar with some European racing through the National Team so my race program is starting to shape up quite nicely.
Finally, I’d like to give a big thanks to Ric Stern, head coach of RST Sport for taking me on for next season. I can’t give enough thanks to the personal coaches I’ve worked with up to this point – Luc Arseneau from the National Cycling Centre – Atlantic, and Brian Walton through Walton Endurance. I’ve learned so much from both and would recommend either without hesitation, but feel I’m at a point where some new ideas are what I need in my training. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to work with Ric and can’t wait to soak in some of his experience as well.
So that’s about it for now. We’re wrapping up the road portion of this training camp in LA with another 25-30 hour week of riding in the mountains. Thanks for catching up with the blog!