Sitting on the stoop this morning waiting for Dustin before a ride I ended up going through the pictures on my phone to realize that I haven’t shared all my photos from Europe. Above that, I haven’t done a blog post! Better late than never? I guess. We’ll give it a go.
Since my last post, which was just before the Val Di Sole World Cup, I did a solo mission in Milan, spent a few days riding in Switzerland and have been enjoying summer in Halifax.
At the last race I did, the WC in Val Di Sole, I had a great race. Although I did finish a lap down I was very happy with my race. (Just a few places out of finishing on the lead lap!) The week before at the Italy cup I was a bit too lively off the start and paid for it up the first climb. My plan was to take it a bit easier and put myself in a spot that I could move forward from. This worked out very well and after the first lap I was sitting in the high 40’s or so. (The were about 100 starters in this race) At a World Cup there is a screen above the finish banner where you can see how you’re doing. At this point I thought, “Yep, I can work with this, lets go!” For the next few laps I worked hard and steadily picked riders off working my way up to 35th place. Did I mention that it was real hot and there was a lot of climbing! From there I kept pushing super hard but the pace was too much for me and I drifted back a bit. At the end I was 47th, very pleased with this result for my first European World Cup. In the evening the reward for the day of work for Evan and I was a really big cone of Niccola “Nuts” gelato, well deserved.
Race bike in front of the Dirt Norco downhill teams tent. They helped us out over the weekend, Thanks a bunch!
From this race Evan and I were going our separate ways. He was headed back to Ottawa and I was on my way to Switzerland. From Val di Sole we were lucky and got a ride with the National team instead of taking the train. Thank you! Sitting in the back of a van listening to our very own pop show sure beats changing trains with a bike box. I got dropped off at the Airport in Milan and took the train to Central Station. I stayed in Milan for one night to split up the travel between Val Di Sole and Zermatt. This was a lot of fun. The next morning I wandered around, went in a few shops, and enjoyed the city. I sat in the Piazza del Duomo for a while and did some people watching. Best venue for people watching that I have experienced thus far. The most beautiful women riding by in dresses and heels was certainly the highlight.
From Milan I took the train to Zermatt, a small town in Switzerland below the famous peak, the Matterhorn. This town does not allow cars, just small electric vehicles, to reduce air pollution that could obstruct the view of the mountains. I had been here a few times before when I was younger and I have some very fond memories from it.
From my profile on the Norco Website: http://www.norco.com/team/riders/andrew-lesperance/
What is the most memorable thing you’ve done a bike?
When I was younger, maybe 13, Mom took me to Zermatt, Switzerland, rented me a bike and let me loose on the mountains around the town for a week. Thanks Mom.
It was nice to be back and especially nice to see my Mom after not crossing paths for more than a month! We had a beautiful apartment with a view of the Matterhorn in a good location in town. It was a very relaxing few days of training, resting and good eating.
The morning before we left I set out early for one last ride, after and hour and a half of climbing I sat and took in the view. This gave me a few minutes to reflect. I thought about the opportunities presented to me through cycling and all the places I have visited. I thought about all the great people I get to interact with along with those who support me. I thought about my bike allowing me to get me up to that very place and experience that view. I thought about how much cycling has shaped my life from a very young age. Maybe it was all sparked in this very place 9 or 10 years ago when I rode here. Anyways, although it has it’s challenges, I am happy with what I’m doing with my life and happy with the goals I’m working towards and the experiences along the way. I also hope that I am maybe inspiring other riders from the younger generation to train hard and work towards your goals.
I hope that wasn’t too much… hard to not get sentimental while taking in a view high in the Swiss mountains.
From Zermatt we took a train to Zurich and explored the town the night before our flight. We had a fantastic meal in a small restaurant; traditional swiss food of a big sausage, rosti and salad. Mom and I had a great time walking through the streets and exploring part of the city.
From there it was home to Halifax and I have been enjoying an extended time at home. (The longest so far since the season started!) I’ve been training super hard for my upcoming races and enjoying time with family and friends. This coming weekend I’m going to PEI for a XC race at Brookvale, site of the 2009 Canada Games Mountain Bike race. From there I’m headed to Ontario for the Sudbury Canada Cup and Nationals the next weekend.