By: Chris Reid
This is the fourth year that we have sent a team out to BC Superweek under the umbrella of the Cyclery Racing. The first year we sent just two riders out and they competed in a series of well run and well attended regional races, with Carrie Cartmill bringing home the overall win at the Tour of Whiterock.
The second year we sent out a full contingent and both Jenny and I came as staff. To our surprise, the racing had grown in tandem with our team- the racing was at a top North American level with large fields and hungry pros chasing big money and quality racing.
Jenny and I spend last year’s Superweek in England watching the first few stages of the Tour de France – eagerly following live feeds and twitters at odd times of day to try and keep up with what was happening on the West Coast.
Missing that year made the return to this year’s Superweek all the more resonant. It drove home how much our little blue-collar bike team has improved. The week provided an opportunity to see just how far some of our riders have come in the two seasons since Jenny and I were last there. The biggest testaments to all the hard the work these riders put in came from Emily in the Delta Road Race and Annie in Gastown.
Annie’s podium at Gastown is arguably one of the biggest ever results for our franchise. Over the last three years Annie has consistently made big time plays in big time games- wins at Canada Summer Games, multiple provincial titles, and this fall was the second fastest individual pursuiter in Canada behind Jasmine Glaesser at Track Nationals. What is easy to forget in the excitement was that two years ago Annie rode an equal number of laps off the back of the field as she did off the front this year to barely finish the race on the same lap as the leaders. In 2013 Emily was ecstatic to finish the non-UCI race 4 minutes back of the field sprint. This year Em was bars deep in the finale to come home 12th. Both riders have grown leaps and bounds as riders and as young women in the two years since we first came out- they have become leaders both on and off the bike for our team.
Our mandate has always been to foster and help young Canadian talent to advance into the professional ranks. To date we have not accomplished this on the women’s side (both Mike Woods and Matteo Dal-Cin took the step from our now defunct men’s program). To say we our now close is an understatement. While Annie’s ride at Gastown was momentous, what was equally impressive was the level that Ellen rode at all week- with a podium on the first night and factoring into ever race she toed the line on. Three crashes and two broken shifters didn’t slow this brick hard maritimer down (I’m throwing down the gauntlet- she is the toughest bike racer from Sussex New Brunswick- prove me wrong Christian…). Ellen is ready to be a pro bike racer, plain and simple. This is a far cry from the painfully raw newbie that showed up to training camp last year. She is a great crit rider, can sprint, can TT and will be there in tough road races. And she does it day in and day out.
This team’s results make me proud. Vince Caceres and the Cyclery have done an amazing job of putting together a sponsorship program that lets Jenny Trew run an amazing development program. But what makes me prouder is seeing how these riders have come together at a team and a family. Watching Tara Whitten help Annie out in a thousand tiny ways this year (many that she may not realize she’s done). Having Arianne arrive in the pit and the first words out of her mouth being that Ellen needed a bike at Delta. Watching Amelie Bruneau pass her bike to Ellen at Burnaby without thinking twice (yeah- it happened twice).
These are the things that make a team, and for which I am proudest.
A big thanks to all the team sponsors (in no particular order as they are all amazing!) : The Cyclery, Opus bikes, Giro, Biemme, Xact Nutrition, Volvo, Ryeka Sports, Westboro Chiropractic, Killens Reid Physiotherapy, Smith Optics – without you this wouldn’t be possible!