January 4, 2005 – 2004 turned out to be another fantastic year for the Jet Fuel team; each year things seem to improve little by little. One of the great things about the season is that the team continued to build on our team work, something not seen much in Canadian racing. This year everyone got his chance to shine, if you were on form you would have your day.
Once again the team ruled the roost at home, but we also showed well in races outside of our jurisdiction.
Our best race of the year would have to be the Green Mountain stage race in Vermont, one of the key races in the northeast of the states and a unique event in that it includes the challenge of mountains. I managed to take the leaders jersey after riding well in the hill climb prologue and then placing second on the first stage, so it was up to the team to defend the jersey. With only four of us at the race, meaning only three to ride in defence of the jersey, we were in a tight spot. Things worked out perfectly though. We didn’t overreact to the early break and rode the race as we had laid it out the night before. Matt Hansen and Buck Miller, along with some help from our soon to beteam-mate Mark Pozniak and Nathan Chown, rode on the front for something like 80km; the field was lined out single file in the gutter behind us. For the last bit of the race, 20km+, it was Stig that took over, riding a masterful tempo to bring back the break just as we approached the finishing climb. It was definitely an impressive ride by the team and one of the highlights of my years at Jet Fuel.
For me the worst race of the year was at Univest, I suffered like a dog and didn’t even finish. What a disappointment! A long day of driving to end up racing in the rain and suffering from the word go was just no fun. Luckily, Ryan salvaged the trip for us with a great finish. The following day things were better though as the team dominated one of the big races here in Toronto, the Corso Italia.
Two trips stand out in my mind as the most fun: Japan and New York. At both trips we were graced by the presence of our New York based mechanic Neil Callahan, a character who when teamed up with Hansen in Japan left us with our sides bursting. In Japan we also had Letti Kemp, our Irish based soigneur, to lend to the good times, nothing like having a woman along tolighten things up when it’s a sausage fest, and Kevin Field, our esteemed race director on this occasion and master of our website. Japan was a blast for the exotic destination, while New York was just awesome as we traveled in style (we flew) and stayed in a great hotel. On that trip Johnny Jet Fuel and some of the other Jet Fuellers were along to give us support. They were two fantastic races and really the kind of events that you think about training for on the days when it is raining outside.
30 days of racing tugged at my legs this summer, a lot less than in the days of yore when I used to head south January 1st, but still plenty to keep me happy. More important than the number of race days is the number of good races, and I felt that 2004 was one of my best seasons.
My best rides for the season were at:
the Ontario season opener at Mosport, I was in the break all day and still managed 3rd on what I would have rated as some really mediocre form. Buck won the day with an impressive solo effort. It was a good start to the year. stage 4 of Japan, after again being in an all day break I broke away solo, only to be caught with 4km to go. Really the whole race was a success though, considering I was coming out of a cold winter and several months at school returning home to Canada I was off to the GP de Beauce in Quebec and had one of my better years there. A sixth in the criterium, while making the break that lapped the field was bit of icing on the cake. probably my best ride of the year was at Nationals in BC where I managed 4th on a super challenging course. New York too went well. I was super strong and had a good go with two laps to go. maybe I should have saved it for the sprint in this one though Green Mountain, as I mentioned before, was another highlight San Fran was unbelievable, and I had some great legs. I’ll be back for next year! and to end the season the team rode like true professionals to showoff on home turf at the Corso Italia.
Wow, 2004 was a pretty awesome season!
For more about the Jet Fuel team, visit www.cyclingteam.info