Keir Plaice is a Canadian cyclist who is living and racing his bike in the Netherlands. He checks in to update us on his season so far.
I am a 22 year old road racer born and raised in Deep River, Ontario. My foundation as a cyclist is based firmly in Ottawa. I ride a Stevens Vuelta in the harsh races of Northern Europe; competing for my second season for the Dutch Volharding club.
Heading into the closing leg of my racing season. I am motivated by what already has passed in my cycling year. The triumphant moments come first to mind; these were breakthrough performances where I finally put everything together perfectly and crossed the finish line a winner.
First I won a local race at Wieringen then, most significantly, won the fourth stage of the Arden Challenge in Belgium. This was a real highlight for me; the race was run over the unremitting terrain that I love and fought against some very worthy competitors. I won solo and had time to feel the satisfaction of attaining my biggest goal of the year as I crossed the strip alone. In the same race I finished second in the general classification by way of strong results in the earlier stages.
Another great day was the Friesche Wouden Klassiker in Friesland, a province in the north of the Netherlands. I attacked with 100km to go and was joined soon by two others who worked together with me in the escape and came within 450m of the finish together before being caught by a group attacking from the front of the peloton; I held on for fifth but was able to temper the disappointment of missing my chance to win the race by collecting the sprint classification by way of the points I had earned on the road in our breakaway.
Throughout the year, I have been consistently in the top twenty of classic races and ridden well from February until these closing months of the year,
While achievements affirm belief in my abilities, disappointments are perhaps more motivating. Missed chances can only be ameliorated by further successes. I had targeted the Ronde van Limburg, a fantastic race in the mould of the Amstel Gold and was on an incredible day mid way through the race when I crashed out. In the Ronde van Antwerpen I flatted out of the winning breakaway in the second stage and in the Twee Dagse van Gaverstreek I was perfectly positioned heading into the Oude Kwaremount when I flat tire sent me out of the group. These, and other mistakes and tactical errors fuel my hunger to make good in my remaining competitions.
This Sunday, I have the Ronde van Midden Nederland; a 200km UCI 1.2 classic this Sunday, then the Memorial Danny Jonckheere in Belgium on Wednesday. The following weekend I have the Kerneomloop Echte-Susteren another UCI one day race in Holland, then in procession the Dutch Club Championships and 2 successive weekends of back to back Dutch classics. Certainly there are some fantastic races left and some great opportunities for me. I am in a good place now and as motivated as ever.