Euro Beat w/ Spencer – End of Season Report

Our apologies to Spencer as we were a wee bit delayed in posting this for him….

It has been months since my last post, but this one has been in the works and I needed to knock it off before 2009. I guess I have left it a little late, but no better a time than right now. So, the nature of this post is an end-of-season wrap as the title gives away, but I have been stuck trying to find the aspect of my season I want to capture in this post.

To be blunt, my season was not what I expected, and a bit of a let-down. I over-trained in February and continued to do damage without rest well into April. In May, after some time off the bike, I had some successes, but never had a feeling of freshness again in the season and my form was all-over, with excessive fatigue being the main feature I could bring to the bike. I did not reach a new potential that I was excited about leading into the season and it took Track Nationals to bring my love of the sport back to the forefront. Now that I have covered that, I can leave negative-town behind and move on to what I really want to say.

Going to France this year was an experience right from the moment I met the new team. It was unexpected and a new approach to a sport I thought I knew really well. We all hear about how European racing is the ‘real deal’ and here I was about to join a high level amateur team and experience a season learning my trade. The racing and atmosphere were pretty removed from what I had done in the South of France in 2007. First of all, I was no longer a junior and second of all, the team was large jump up from the Sprinter Club de Nice. The biggest thing I can take from this season was learning to race. I say that with all respect to the strong and developing Alberta scene. Competing against ex-pros and riders who will have professional contracts with ProTour teams at the end of the season, in an environment where you must attack, be a strong climber, and be tactically astute to finish in the top 15 on any given day. It is apparent that this will teach you how to race. Beyond that, my time in France taught me the cultural differences and how they relate to cycling in a broader sense.

So now is time to move on to next season. I spent the latter part of the season talking to team directors domestically (North America) to see what options lay in front of me for 2009. I ended up settling things with the Los Angeles based NOW MS-Society. The team caught my eye with results in the Tour of Pennsylvania and after talking with team director Eddie Monnier, their goals and focus on development were in line with what I was looking for. One title sponsor is “No Opportunity Wasted” (NOW) run by Phil Keoghan (host of “The Amazing Race” reality TV show) with the philosophy of ditching excuses, living NOW and with few regrets. The other sponsor is the MS Society who is more of a reverse-sponsor as we raise money and awareness for them. The team has produced 6 professional riders in four seasons and in 2009 we will have two previously professional riders joining the roster, one from Successful Living and the other from Rock Racing. As well as myself, there will be another few international riders with Dutch rider Michael Van Eerd and possibly Kiwi Peter Rennie and Australian Chris Steffanoni going stateside with us for part of the season.

I am excited to join the new team and am leaving for LA in a few weeks. The race schedule set in front of us is something I look forward to with some very high level races planned. Something I am really happy about is the ability for me to continue to train and race on the track as Los Angeles has two velodromes in the area, one an indoor 250 m of UCI standards. It will be another new experience, but I am more motivated than ever, and feel that I can use 2008 as a superb launch pad into a stellar 2009. I have set my eyes on some meaty goals and I believe that with intelligence, strength and desire I can achieve them and do some real damage.




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