Whistler's Will Routley isn't the only local road cyclist to go pro this season, after being named to the SpiderTech presented by Planet Energy team at the end of the season.
Ben Chaddock, who was racing with the Rubicon-Orbea team over the season, was picked up by the Exergy Professional Cycling Team last week. He will be one of four sprinters on a 12-member team that will be racing in the UCI Continental division through the 2011 season. The team will be focusing on NRC races but has the potential to travel to South America and Eastern Europe for UCI-sanctioned events, as well as to enter some of the top events in North America.
"I'm working a little in Portland (Oregon) to put food on my table, and it's in line with my degree (in environmental economics) which is great, but other than that I will totally dedicate myself to this," Chaddock said.
"I learned a lot from my first athletic career in ski racing, what are the unhealthy ways to train and how important it is to have a balanced lifestyle to compete at the highest level you can. I'm interested to see how far I can push myself and how far I can change my body and mould it for the sport.
"And I've really been enjoying myself so far, I like the training and the races and being on the road with all these great riders."
A natural sprinter after training as a youth for the short bursts of energy required in ski racing, Chaddock says the team will put his skills to use in shorter road events and criteriums, but his goal is to become a better rider. That means training to overcome his "limiters."
"For me, some of the longer sustained climbs are a problem, so in order to become an all-around asset to the team I'll be working on my long climbing through the winter until around March - then I'll really start to focus again on sprinting and getting ready for the season," he said.
Chaddock will be coaching himself for the most part, but says he has learned to set out a plan and follow it. He will be joining his team for a camp in Boise, Idaho in January, then heading to California with his team in the third week of February for more training and a few early season races. The NRC season starts at the end of March in California at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
When the season gets underway, Chaddock says the team will be busy and the calendar is already filling up with races. His team is allowing him to return to Canada for the Tour de Delta, "which is a race that's really important to me, and for other members of the team as well." He will also likely race the Tour de Beauce in Quebec. As for the national championships at the end of June, Chaddock says he would like to be there but it will depend on other team events and where he is needed.
Team Exergy made sense for Chaddock for several reasons. The most obvious is that it was a step up and a step closer to major events that Chaddock would like to race. For another, he'll be joining one of his former teammates from Whitman College and Rubicon-Orbea, Quinn Keogh, as well as other riders he knows from Whitman - recognized as having one of the top road cycling teams in the U.S. collegiate system.
Chaddock had a breakthrough season in a lot of ways, placing second in an NRC criterium, winning the first stage of the 2010 Tour of Walla Walla, winning the prologue at the Tour de Delta then placing fourth in the criterium, placing second in the Portland Twilight, first in the Longview Criterium and second in the Franz Bakery Criterium, to name just a few. At the Interbike conference in Las Vegas he competed in a cyclo-cross event in the desert.
Chaddock also headed to Quebec for the Canadian Track Nationals where he placed second in the team pursuit, fourth in the 4 km individual pursuit and omnium individual pursuit, and fifth in the points race.
Chaddock keeps a blog while he's racing at http://cyclinginatoque.blogspot.com. Team Exergy is still a work in progress, but will be keeping people up to date at www.teamexergy.com.