Greg Lemond once said, “Perhaps the single most important element in mastering the techniques and tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals, acquiring the experience is a matter of time." I am now on my 3rd year of racing with Team Specialized and have been attaining the skills to develop into a serious and dedicated cyclist. Racing nearly 70 races in 2010 and 2011, and 20 races so far this season, I am learning from every race, especially since I upgraded to a Cat 2.
Development is a key part of Team Specialized. Team director Larry Nolan has always stressed the importance on how his personal goal is to help all juniors succeed and evolve in the world of cycling. Part of my development is experiencing the highs of cycling, like winning Track Nationals at 14 years old, and the lows, crashing on the last lap of a crit because someone rolls their tire or not having the strength to finish a road race. Whether I win or lose a race, I know there is always a lesson to be learned from the experience.
We, as a team, are also learning how cycling isn’t an individual sport, but a dynamic team sport, which means you have to be willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of the team. Because we understand and apply this in the races we participate in, we’ve been successful in winning a few stage races, like San Dimas two years in a row.
My fellow 15-16 teammates will be brought together as a full squad next week at Sea Otter Circuit and Road Race. I’m looking forward to having everyone together again and showing others what we can do as a team.
Thanks for reading. ~Matt Valencia