After travelling in a steel bird for over 30 hours I found myself on the other side of the Atlantic in the USA. Why you may ask? I’m here to join the Stan’s No Tubes P/B Proferrin Cycling Team based out of Greenville, South Carolina, one of the three major cycling hubs in the States.
For those Ride readers who don’t know I’ve been racing mountain bikes through South Africa for the last few years. Last year I rode for the Asrin Cycling Team and did numerous marathons and stage races across the country. After some consultation with my good friend Hasi I decided to give the road scene a bash and was fortunate enough to be picked up by the Stan’s team. (Check out the team site). I was particularly excited about coming to the USA due to the large number of criteriums races which they have here.
Over the past few days I’ve become more familiar with my surroundings in Greenville, mostly thanks to my team manager and fellow rider Brian Hill who’s been carting me around town. Greenville seems to be a pretty cool place and I think I will enjoy spending the year here.
Pete building up our steeds.
Jake Wells(pro cross racer) showing off the multiple uses of a wrench’s/mechanic’s apron.
First team training ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Our team training camp has just kicked off and it has been great meeting the rest of my teammates and having another Christmas in a sense with all the new equipment. The team will be riding Stan’s Tubeless road wheels which is a concept still relatively unheard of in SA. We all learnt how to seal our own tyres last night and it’s quite similar to sealing a mountain bike wheel. The guys don’t ride with spare tubes and just top up the sealant twice a season. Pretty sweet!
The first full team ride was a three-hour session with a couple of ‘through and off’ efforts to get the legs going. I rode on the tubeless wheels for the first time and was blown away by how you can really hook it through the corners! A big six hour ride with a flurry into hills was on the cards for the second day, followed by a day with the sponsors. This coming weekend we’ll be doing a local race here in Greenville.
To say that I’m excited about this year would be an understatement!
Heading out for a ride with the team sponsors. Yes that is a certain Mr George Hincapie(Hincapie Clothing) in the black kit, very cool guy.
Stan’s No Tubes van.
At last week’s Killarney sufferfest (the weekly PPA Killarney Crit) I had the privilege of learning from a good friend of mine and ex road professional, Hasi. Hasi (Rene Haselbacher) was a professional for 13 years in the European peloton and spent the time plying his trade on teams such as Gerolsteiner and Astana. Hasi and I have done a number of mountain bike stage races over the last year together but on Wednesday I was fortunate enough to spend an hour ‘racing’ with him on the road.
The wind wasn’t as strong as previous weeks and this saw a larger group come into the finish. I found Hasi’s wheel with two laps to go and did my best to make sure I didn’t lose it. I came close on occasion and had to squeeze through a tight gap in the peloton here and there, but all went well.
Unfortunately I botched the sprint a bit after Hasi dropped me off in the pocket with about 800 metres to go. I went too early and couldn’t match the surge that came through to the line and came over in sixth place. I was buzzing with the excitement of following Hasi through the final and wasn’t too disappointed with the outcome of the day.
Image Credit: Ash Smit
Image Credit: Capcha PhotographyImage Credit: Ash Smit
On Sunday morning I lined up for my last foray on South African tar. It was the final event in the Western Cape League, the Medallion Tour de Stellenbosch. I felt good going over the Helshoogte Pass and, venturing into a strong looking break of six riders, I sat in and tried to save my legs for the sprint. A one-kilometre drag followed by a false flat would bring the bunch to the line. I had a decent position coming into the line but lacked the punch needed for a result on the day and finally came over in around 10th position.
I am learning more with every sprint but still need to learn a fair deal before I can become consistently competitive. Nonetheless I am enjoying it and can see improvement each and every race. or at the least take something away from it that I have learnt.
Over the next few days I’m going to be packing up my bags and jumping on a plane bound for Greenville in the USA! My next post will come from the other side of the Atlantic so until then, ciao.
Image Credit: Team Intellibus