Thorsten Askervold Opens His Racing Account in France

Team Presentation

 

On the Sharp End

 

Small Roads. Big field.

 

Tête de la Course Cycling athlete Thorsten Askervold has been in Europe for a little over a month now. He got his first taste of European racing in the last few weeks. Here is his report.

Last week I had my first race of the season called Plages Vendeennes. It is a series of 6 races (not a stage race) so I can do the days that my team wants me to do. I ended up doing 4 of the 6 days. I had an idea of what to expect going into the first race because of what my teammates told me. That said, I was still surprised. Compared to the racing I’m used to in the U.S, the racing here is a lot more aggressive and chaotic. We were racing every km of the race which meant that there was really no time to relax which was the first thing I had to get used to. The race would be strung out but you still have to eat and drink during that time so that you don’t bonk later on. People are always trying to position during the race especially when key climbs come up or if the race is approaching small roads. So your mind just always has to be on and triggered. If you get lazy for like 10 sec, you might go from 15th position to 60th position instantly. When it came to the field sprints, positioning starts around 20-30 km to go. Crit racing in America can be aggressive but I found European racing to be even more so. Everyone is risking everything to cross that line first. Long story short, racing is definitely on another level here. I like it. I know that it will take some time to get used to the flow of racing here but I like the aggressive nature of it. My form is good, and feel like I can compete, especially when I get the flow down. So I am looking to get some results soon.

 

After the race I finally arrived at my new studio here in Laval France. I am really enjoying the lifestyle here, it is a lot more simple. It’s a small town with many farms and forests surrounding it. I walk to the little grocery store everyday for my food and fresh baguette. That’s another thing I’ve been trying to get used to, is that the French eat A LOT of bread. Especially for breakfast. The eating is a lot more simple in a way and it is always great quality and fresh food. I can taste the difference and it’s great.

 

The training roads here are beautiful and peaceful – very small quiet roads, passing through farms and a lot of super small towns with very old churches and castles. The roads can also be very hilly. It is hard to find flat roads for sure. Another thing to get used to was the small roads. Cars drive very close to you a lot of the time, they respect cyclist here, but they do drive close and at very fast speeds but it is because sometimes the roads are only about one lane wide. You always have to be watching the road whether it’s cars or cows crossing the road. The other nice part about living here is that I have teammates in the area and there are also pro riders to train with which means that there are always group rides happening which can make training a lot more fun.

 

My team has been great. Some of my teammates speak a little English and I have been trying to work on my French. It is definitely a hard language compared to English. But all of my teammates seem to be understanding of it and they help with my French (even if its bad words most of the time)…I get along well with everyone and which makes everything even better.

 

Life is great here.

 

I have my next race this Sunday. It’s a one day race called “Vallée de la Loire”. It should be a good one! Look for an update in the next coming week!

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