After Turkey I took a few weeks off racing to recover after a busy spring of races. Stepping up to this level doesn't just mean that the races are harder, it's the extra training volume and busier racing schedule that take their toll on the body. I was pleased with the start I made for the team and the consistancy of results I was achieving. However, after Turkey I could feel my form dropping and my acceptance of hard training sessions becoming more difficult so I took a week easy with just short cafe rides to let my body recover.
It was also a nice to let my head recover from the pressure, stress and focus that come with the professional scene. Following this week I raced and Rund um Koln, a really nice race in Germany with short sharp climbs that suited me well. My legs felt great and I got into the race winning break, only to puncture and return to the peleton. This was a big disappointment as it was the second time this year, that a puncture had taken me out of the race winning break (also in Drenthe). Nevertheless, I was happy with how I raced.
Next up was a trip to America to ride the Philly Cycling Classic. This consisted of 10 laps of a 19km circuit with a steep 800m climb to the finish known as the "Manyunk Wall". The atmosphere was brilliant with tons of people on the roadside. The race was really hard and having only 5 riders we were up against it with the other teams fielding 8 riders. However, we managed to control the break so that it didn't gain an insurmountable gap and wait for other teams to chase. This worked well and we hit the final climb with 3 of us still in the fight for the win. I was cramping due to the 35 degree heat but managed to ride into 8th place which was a good result for myself and the team in a difficult and competitive race.
The trip to Philadelphia was a great experience and I hope to go back next year but next up is more European racing with the Ster ZLM Tour in preparation for the National Championships in Glasgow at the end of June.