It was three wins in three weekends for Whistler's Will Routley, with top finishes at a provincial event in Surrey and a regional race at Wenatchee, Washington, before capping it off with a win at the Mutual of Enumclaw road stage race - one of the top events in the Pacific Northwest.
The Enumclaw race, May 30 to 31, was the toughest of the three for Routley, who was competing solo and holding off charges by teams that were getting more organized by the week.
Prominent among his competition was the Trek Red Truck Team.
"They have some good guys on that team, but they just improved each week and saw big improvements in their ability to ride as a team," said Routley, who had to work twice as hard as the Red Truck riders who used team tactics to consolidate their breaks and protect their leaders.
"(On the road ride) they took it to me pretty good, and I was pretty tired by the end," said Routley.
"On the flipside I've been riding really well.
"I had some time off from Team Jelly Belly so I hit the training real hard and tried to get to as many local races as I could in B.C. and Washington."
Routley placed second in both the 10-km time trial and 60-minute criterium at Enumclaw, as well as sixth in the 115 km road race to take first overall for points.
Routley then rejoined Team Jelly Belly this past weekend at the Philadelphia International Championship and Liberty Classic, which featured some of the top teams in the U.S. including Team Columbia. Routley placed 21 st in that event, but was close to the leaders after a massive breakaway at the finish.
Routley is now in Minnesota for the six-stage Nature Valley Grand Prix race, which started on Wednesday and wraps up on Sunday. After that he returns home for a week, then heads to the national road championships in Quebec where he had his eyes on the podium.
Heading into July he will get another break at home where he plans to compete in the B.C. Superweek Races - Tour de Gastown, Tour de Delta and Tour de White Rock - after which he rejoins Team Jelly Belly for the 10-day Tour of Quing Hai Lake in northern China.
"It's going to be ridiculous," said Routley. "It's on the Tibetan Plateau, really hilly, and altitude is the biggest hurdle for the race. I'm a little nervous - not to race the event, but how I'll react to the altitude. It's also a high-ranked race on the UCI tour this year, and it's grown to be a pretty big race with a lot of professional teams. It's basically 10 days of racing, and all of them are above 10,000 feet."
Routley got a rebreather to help him train for altitude, but otherwise will only get a day or two before the event to try and get used to the thinner air.
"That's not really sufficient for acclimatization, which means I'll be trying to acclimatize as the race goes on," said Routley. "It's not ideal, but a lot of other racers will be in the same boat."
Team Jelly Belly has also been invited to the Tour of Missouri at the end of the summer, which has attracted a lot of attention from the top teams and should have a similar field to the Tour of California in February.
"All the NRC (National Racing Calendar) races have been huge this year, they've all grown a lot bigger," said Routley. "I was pretty keen on Philadelphia, which was a 250 km day for us. But they had hundreds of thousands of spectators on that course, and it's now the biggest race outside of the European tour for a lot of teams."
February 20, 2017, 1:30 PM
2016 was record year for insurance claims, topping $4.9 Billion More...
February 19, 2017, 12:55 PM
Former CEO Danny Tuff officially resigns from position following leave of absence More...
February 18, 2017, 12:20 PM
RMOW now accepting vendor applications for Rainbow and Lost Lake parks More...