Life On This Side of the Pond

I’m currently competing for the Hagens Berman cycling team – an elite amateur squad based out of Seattle, WA.  I come to the team after having spent two seasons racing for a French team in the Rhone-Alpes region of France, CR4C Roanne.  I thought I would share my experience having been a part of both racing cultures.

Can you tell which kit is form France?


It was not an easy decision to leave my brightly colored yellow and blue teammates from France.  There were certainly things that tried my nerve from time to time, but secretly I loved the European culture and the racing there was top notch.  There seemed to be a general trend with North Americans racing for French teams though – they usually became very fast, but only after leaving France!  I tried to follow similar paths to guys like Alex Howes, Pete Stetina, Andrew Talansky and other North Americans who started their careers in a similar direction.  With that, I decided it was time to get back to North America and start getting some results.

Signing a deal with Hagens Berman last fall had me excited and motivated to put in a great winter of training.  I was able to do so in Santa Rosa, CA and came into the early season in the shape of my life.  The organization on the team proved to be incredible and the guys seemed to make up a lot more of a family than simply teammates.

Taking the start line at the early races in California such as San Dimas and Redlands had me pretty surprised by the level of racing here.  Not that I was expecting it to be easy, but it was impressive just how fast it was.  Gone are the days when it is absolutely necessary to get to Europe if a rider wants to improve as riders and I feel it has a lot to do with races like the Gastown Grand Prix returning to the calendar.  Since those early races I’ve started to get used to the different style of racing a little more and it seems to be paying off with a few good rides recently at the Saguenay Nations Cup and taking 3rd at the National Championships.

On the Podium at Nationals | Driving the break at the Saguenay Nations Cup


Each race I do is a brand new one for me and I go into them all with great enthusiasm.  Next up is BC Super Week starting today with the Tour de Delta, the highly anticipated Gastown Grand Prix on Wednesday, and the Tour de White Rock over the next weekend.  I then travel to Bend, Oregon with the team to kick off the Cascade Cycling Classic.

I certainly miss some things about racing in Europe – the nervousness of small roads, wind and obstacles jumping out of nowhere, even the lifestyle of riding a bike to the market every morning to get groceries.  It is certainly nice to speak my first language though and discovering all these new races has given me lots of new excitement.  Eventually I hope to return to racing in Europe like so many of the Global Relay Bridge the Gap ambassadors, but for now I’m loving the racing scene here in Canada and the US and look forward to the upcoming races.