Preparing for Gastown

What goes into getting ready for the Global Relay Gastown GP…
I can’t even begin to imagine all the work the race organizers put in to make a race like Gastown happen so I will just share a little of what I have done to prepare myself. If I take a step back I realize that my preparation for Gastown began almost 5 years ago when I decided to move to Vancouver in the fall of 2008 to pursue my goal of being a professional bike rider. I was more than a little green back then (having only done a handful of races outside the Yukon) and with little knowledge of what it would actually take to achieve my goal. I began to get a taste that first winter and although riding in the Vancouver rain wasn’t always the warmest most comfortable activity I loved every minute. And all the hard work I put in that first winter paid off when I placed 2nd in the 2009 Tour de Delta Prologue, beating Pros like Ryan Anderson and Zach Bell.
Photo Credit: Greg Descantes
To make a long story short I will fast forward to the end of last season, and fill you in on what I have done to prepare for this year and my quest for another BC Superweek Podium (I’ve had a dry spell since 2009). After a bit of a lack luster year in 2012 I knew I had to do something different for 2013. The first step was starting to work with a new coach from Catalyst Kinetics (Pinner) who had faith in my potential even when I was doubting it. The second step was getting healthy as January saw the return of a knee problem that I have battled off and on for the past couple years. Thanks to the help of Tara Lazarski I was able to get the knee healthy, and start some serious training. The third step was base miles the meat and potatoes of a cyclists training diet. That training came in the form of a month long stint in California, capped off with the Merco Cycling Classic the first weekend of March. My time in California consisted of mainly 3-4 hour rides in zone 2, (which for me is between 150-160 heart rate) and a little skim boarding.
Photo Credit: Garrett McLeod
Heading into Merco the first real race of the season I didn’t know quite what to expect. I had put in lots of base miles but nothing really to emulate the intensity of racing having only done two rides with intervals. As it turns out though my coach knew what he was doing and although the top end wasn’t quite there yet I was feeling stronger than ever before. The next month and a half was filled with more base miles, but with a few more intervals and racing thrown in. That brings us to the Tour of Walla Walla (third weekend in April) and step four. Step four is all about confidence and confidence is something you need to win bike races. Although step four might sound easier than the previous three steps it is by far the hardest for me. Believing you can win is the quintessential first step towards actually winning. The beginning of this season has been about getting that confidence back. I recently read an article that described how easy it is to be confident in your ability when your winning, but how it becomes much harder to remain confident when you have a bad day or a bad week. It was a bit of a light switch moment for me, and its something I plan on working very hard on in the future because I know how easy it is for me to loose that confidence. So back to Walla Walla, although I didn’t win any stages or the overall I did get on the podium and I was happy with my form and how I was racing. Fast forward through another month of racing and training, and we get to May 18 and the first day of the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race. After a second place in the opening time trial, and a win in the crit I was leading the race. Thanks to the work of my Trek Red Truck team mates who all rode incredibly well during Sundays final road race I was never put under extreme pressure and actually extended the lead, winning my first ever Stage Race.
Photo Credit: Amara Edwards
I have learned a lot over the past 5 years, as I have strived towards my goal of becoming a professional bike racer. One thing I have learned is that the Global Relay Gastown GP is a big deal ! And that results at races that are a big deal is what gets you a pro contract. This realization has lead to another goal, a goal of being on the podium in this years Gastown GP. So I would encourage you to come out and watch me fight to achieve my goal on July 10th. Last but not least I would like to thank Global Relay and Bridge the Gap for their support and all the work and resources they have put into bring back the Gastown GP !