ASPEN, Colo. (VN) — I am sitting on a lounge chair at the pool.
Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” is flowing out of the poolside speakers. The sun is out and I’ve got my shirt off, trying to soak up as many rays as possible and do away with the farmer’s tan I’ve accumulated from a long season of racing.
My mind drifts to the 14-pound pizza-eating challenge that I plan to tackle with my friend next month. Then Chris Froome walks by and I wonder what the recent Tour de France winner is doing in my dream. It takes a second, but I snap out of it. I realize that I am not dreaming, though I might as well be. Being up where the air is thin and the people are beautiful, here in Aspen, it is easy to think I am in a dream, especially with the off-season just around the corner. In reality, though, I am here for the biggest race of my season.
On the eve of the USA Pro Challenge, all is good in the Bontrager camp. I am excited for the opportunity to write this journal, and the opportunity to give the readers a look inside our team a little bit. Up to this point the season has been a great success for the team. All the expected clichés have come true — top results have been earned and experience gained — but I was once told not to write in clichés. Therefore I will try and leave the ordinary news to the reporters and aim to pull back the curtain a little bit on our team and what goes on in the race over the next week.
For me, this race marks a big opportunity. I have had a lot of help and encouragement in my cycling career up to this point. All year I have watched and been a part of some great successes by my teammates. This race marks an opportunity to make some successes of my own, and pay back the people that have believed in me. The great thing about this team is that everyone is good, and everyone gets their turn. We come to this race with a strong team and we are motivated to prove that, especially with the stacked field that is here.
I have to apologize; I took a bit of a turn for the serious there. That is not to say that serious is bad, but I can only handle it in small doses of, say, two paragraphs. I have been talking to a few of my teammates and the impression that I am getting is that the objective for this race is to cross the finish line in front of as many competitors as possible. I am not going to say that is not an objective, but for me there is so much more.
The USA Pro Challenge is another stop on my quest to find the best race buffet in the world, and with the support from Skratch Labs, they are high on the list so far. I would also be remiss not to mention that I will secretly be keeping track of the best Colorado rider and fighting tooth and nail to win that classification, which I have invented. Finally, as two handsome bachelors, my roommate for the week, Tanner Putt, and I will be on the lookout for the finest ladies these altitudes have to offer.
So, with the sun shining in Aspen, I am off to analyze some power files and listen to some Adele in an attempt to focus on the task ahead.
Editor’s note: Nate Wilson will be filing rider journals throughout the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, which starts Monday, August 19 in Aspen, Colorado.