On the trainers before a Race Stage (Photo credit: Frank Brummitt)

Heading into Phase 2 of the Season: An Athletes Perspective

(This post is brought to you by Stuart Wight of H&R Block Pro Cycling Team)

After a very successful early season run of races that concluded with Silver City’s Tour of the Gila, riders and staff parted their separate ways for a short break. Some guys flew home to Canada, Adam went to Mexico to represent Canada at the Pan Am Championships, and the other guys got to do the first cross country drive to position the team vehicles for the Eastern leg of the 2015 season.

This was a key month since it’s really the only down time we have from racing until the end of the season in October. It was a short block where you could evaluate how the first races went, and have a second shot to address anything that was overlooked during the winter months of training. Once we’re into a block of racing, there’s not a lot o-f time to work specifically on any aspect of training so everyone knew how important it would be to have any kinks worked out leading into our next string of races.

The unfortunate part about investing a whole month to training is that although you’ve pinpointed where there might be weaknesses and worked on them, it takes racing miles to readjust to the speed and flow of a professional peloton. It’s a fine line to balance but necessary to plan these blocks throughout the season, even if it makes for a slight shock when you pin the numbers again for the first race in a while.

Hanging out with the Team (Photo credit: Nathan Elliott)

Hanging out with the Team (Photo credit: Nathan Elliott)

Everyone was eager to get to the start line at last weekend’s Winston Salem Classic and kick off phase 2 of the season. A new race for everyone on the team only increased the excitement levels and the organizers didn’t disappoint. A great course, big crowds and a top-notch field made for a crazy race right from the get-go. There were groups going forward, backward, left and right, a difficult and hectic race for all involved. Travis Samuel, who spent all of 2014 racing on the Belgian kermesse scene, related it to the nervous and chaotic racing usually only found on small European roads. Certainly a fun twist compared to many North American races.

As was expected, everyone had to find their legs a little after our short break, and we had some unfortunate luck with flat tires and mechanicals leaving us a few men short early in the race. With 3 riders remaining in the rapidly shrinking peloton coming into the closing laps, we did our best to follow the constant attacks. In the end our team leader, Adam de Vos, found himself fighting towards the front of the race in a small chase group, and managed to pull off a 13th place, along with the best finish for a U23 rider and top Canadian.

At the feed zone at the Winston Salem Cycling Classic (Video credit: Nathan Elliott)

We managed to pull together some positives despite the early misfortunes, and everyone got the necessary kick-start for this next block of racing which will take us through to late July. Next stop is the Philly Cycling Classic, an iconic race in American cycling, and then a return to Canada for the prestigious Tour de Beauce.

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The M1 Project will be posting regularly on what it’s like to plan, prepare, and compete as a UCI Continental Professional Cycling Team.

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