LE LECHERE, France (VN) — Alright, I will admit right off the bat that my headline is a bit sappy, but I’ve been feeling a bit sentimental and the clichés are just pouring out of me. Now for a bit more of an explanation: the reason for the headline and for me to write is the looming world championships.
I’ve had the honor of being selected to race the under-23 men’s road race alongside four riders who I very much admire, respect, and enjoy racing with. The team for the road race will be myself, Gavin Mannion, Tanner Putt, Lawson Craddock, and Nate Brown. Obviously the field is very strong and everyone wants to win, but I think we have a real shot. The team we have is a good match for this year’s course in Florence, Italy.
The world championships will be my last race as a U23 and honestly, it feels like the perfect culmination. When I was 19, four years seemed like a very long time, but the end has come much quicker than I ever imagined it would. Up to this point, I would not say at all that I’ve had a diffucult path onto the world championship team. However, I have taken a bit of my own path.
During my time as a U23, I’ve bounced around on three different teams and never considered myself on par with the guys like Nate, Lawson, and Gavin. I feel like every year I have chipped away at it and have slowly gotten better and better. So in my last race as a U23, to make it onto the world championship team feels like the perfect reward. Just to line up with my teammates for the race feels like the perfect prize at the top of the ladder I’ve been climbing.
That said, we are hoping to do a lot more than line up; we really hope to have an impact on the race. The whole team has been working hard to prepare for the event. Nate and Lawson have been in Lucca, Italy for almost two weeks already. They have a chance of doing something great in both the time trial and the road race. So they have been previewing the courses in nearby Florence, as well as doing a lot of specific work for the TT.
The three pure climbers on the squad, me, myself, and I, have been staying in the Alps at the base of the Col de la Madeleine training hard. Just kidding of course, well mostly. The three pure climbers of the squad are training in the Alps but they are not me, myself, and I. I am one of them, but Gavin Mannion and Tanner Putt have joined me. Our director, Mike Sayers, has organized an awesome camp for us with stunning views, lots of climbing, and more stunning views at the top.
Next week, the whole team will be in Florence in the run-up to the race. At this point, the finishing touches have been put on the form and we are all ready to put the icing on the delicious cake that this season has been.