I can confidently say that I have not been sending out updates enough. My schedule has been packed - but nonetheless no excuse!
In any event there is a lot to speak of - first and foremost I am most excited to announce that I was selected to to U23 Mens National Team to represent Canada at the upcoming Coupe des Nations (World Cup) in Sequenay, Quebec. Selection to this race was my first major objective for the season - so I am very happy to have been named for the team and I am grateful to once again have the opportunity to race for Canada at a World Cup. It's been a while as my last World Cup was the World Junior Road Championships when I was junior. Albeit I have worked very hard for this chance - this by no means was my own individual endeavor. The network of support behind me is phenomenal and everyone who is chipping in has certainly helped me have such a strong first half of the season. So thank you all.
With that in mind - yesterday was the Niagara Classic, to be honest I was hoping for the win given my recent results in the arguably stronger U.S. Races - but tactically I ended up 3rd. Perhaps a couple mistakes, combine with not feeling 100% factored into play. However, with that truth in mind - here is the report on the race from my perspective!
The Niagara Classic was yesterday – tough day out there, it was very selective. Tactically the race didn’t play out the way I would have hoped, however I did my best to limit the damage. In the final lap up the infamous Effingham climb, two of my teammates had lost contact with the break-away containing Ryan Roth of Spidertech (A pro rider!), Ryan Aitcheson of Jefuel and Andrew Bradbury of the Darkhorse Flyers. The break was about 25 seconds up the road, but I could see that we now had no one from the team in what was surely the winning move! After covering attacks all day, I was not feeling 100% - but I just laid down the hardest 100% effort I could muster up! I blew everything in my legs up the climb came over the top, shifted into the big 53 tooth Chainring, BAM-BAM-BAM – slammed my chain into the 11 tooth cog and drilled it with every bit of desperation I had to catch the 3 man break. I caught my teammate riding between the groups, he helped me a bit, but his engine was blown! It was an epic chase, but I knew I had to get across! I was being stubborn and I refused to give up. About 3km later in a heavy crosswind we were sitting painfully about 10 seconds behind them just slugging and mashing the pedals! Finally, the gap closed – but I burned a lot of matches in doing so. Essentially it was 1 vs 3 while I came across, as all Justin could do was hold on, but he was giving it his all. When we caught the break, he attacked, taking a bit of pressure off of me. My legs were hurting though. Heading into the finally 2km, Ryan Roth attacked and I counter attacked to try and catch him. I just couldn’t close the gap. Ryan Atchison jumped with an extra punch as I had nothing left from 12 km of desperate hard chasing. I came in 3rd. Oh well – I did my best, but there is room to improve tactically for sure – I am learning! It was a good day on the bike overall.
Hope you all enjoyed the report. I have posted my latest column from ROAD Mag in the "News & Events" Tab. Also - my site will be updated mid-week as well with some more pictures and a write-up about the upcoming races.
Thanks for reading all the best.