While most of Whistlers cyclists are still brushing off the cobwebs, Will Routley was glad this week to finally get a few days off of his road bike.
He had just completed a month-long road trip with the Symmetrics Cycling Team, training every day and entering a series of multi-stage races as far away as Arizona and New Mexico.
Last weekend he took part in the Columbia Plateau Stage Race in central Oregon, a three-day, four-stage epic covering 238 miles of road, not counting 40 laps of a two-mile time trial course. He finished 12 th overall out of a field of 85 racers, just two minutes and 12 seconds back of the leader.
"It was a good race, but it was super-tough with tons of climbing along the way, and everyone was charging pretty hard so you couldnt sit back," said Routley, who is turning 21 later this month. "Im really getting into the whole strategy of road racing, and the whole team aspect of the sport.
"Right now our team is pretty strong. We have guys who could be the leader in any given week, but sometimes my job is to contribute to someone elses race by blocking or taking turns up front. We want to make sure that someone on our team does win, if we can help them, and we did pretty well."
Routleys contributions in Oregon and at other races have helped to make Symmetrics the most dominant road team in the Pacific Northwest this year.
In the Tour of the Gila in New Mexcio two weeks ago, Routley was 28 th overall out of 125 racers almost 50 of whom didnt even finish the race. Before that it was the La Vuelta de Bisbee in Arizona from April 23 to 25, where Routley finished 20 th overall.
Symmetrics was the top team in all of those races.
For Routley, the strong results reflect the three months of hard work he put in over the winter as he lived, trained and competed in the Fraser Valley.
He has already been in 25 road races in 2004, and is learning something new every time he pounds his way off the start line.
The most amazing thing about Routleys strong season is not his success in races, although this is his first season of road racing with a sponsored team.
Its not his young age either, although most of the top road racers out there are in their late 20s and early 30s.
Nor is it his dedication to the sport, because Routley is truly doing what he loves.