Image by Nick Nault
2020 has been a unique year for all, and a roller coaster ride for our sponsored team’s and athletes, as they’ve had to adapt to a revised race calendar, reset goals and maintain focus, fitness and motivation through periods of uncertainty.
Here, we’ve taken some time to reflect on the professional cycling season that’s just been and the many successes achieved, despite the change and challenging curveballs thrown along the way.
Next up, we chat to Isabella Bertold, who races for InstaFund La Prima Racing. The Canadian based UCI continental team has endured a mixed season with minimal racing, yet credibly adapted to the unique year by coming up with creative and exploratory ways to continue to fuel their passion for the sport, and give back to their sponsors and communities, while appreciating the simple pleasures of riding bikes through their incredible backyard in British Columbia.
The team’s year began as normal with a camp in California, where big miles were laid down, many-a climb was conquered, fun was had, season plans were set and big goals were noted.
“At the time we thought this was going to kick-off the season, it ended up being the only time we had the entire team together,” shared Isabella.
From there, the riders ventured directly to their first event of the season, the Tour de Murrieta where they stormed onto the race circuit claiming a stage, a podium and the overall victory.
Images by Drew Coleman
GOING OFF ROAD
Sadly, their flawless start to the season soon came crashing down as the effects of Covid-19 began to really set in and all races were cancelled or postponed, effective immediately.
Instead of dwelling on the bad news, Instafund La Prima Racing put their heads together and began improvising as they laid out a plan to help collectively aid them through the tough times, and put a positive spin on a fairly dismal situation.
While the rest of the pro cycling world resorted to e-racing, few of the InstaFund riders had access to smart trainers, and as they still had the freedom to ride outdoors, many of them decided to switch their O2’s out for their ViSTA’s and hit the roads less travelled – A rare opportunity to explore their own backyard through the summer months when they’d usually be in the prime of their road racing season.
“When our race season was put on hold, we went off road and swapped the O2’s for Vistas to explore the British Columbia Backyard. Unplugging from structured training was just what we needed. We did one gravel adventure taking us down a section of the Fraser River, and then later in the summer travelled to Fernie, BC. We used the time to have fun, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and reflect on why we ride,” said Isabella.
Image by Nick Nault
Images by Nicholas Kupiak
Time flies when you’re having fun, as soon enough fall had arrived and the autumnal colours began to flow. The team then found themselves reunited at their ‘mini off-season’ fall camp, providing a great chance to catch up, enjoy some relaxed rides and reset goals for their return to the races in 2021.
Before putting a final close to the 2020 season, they rounded things out on a high in October at the Phil Gaimon Cookie Fondo Challenge.
“We ended the strange season by supporting Phil Gaimon’s Cookie Fondo north of the border. The BC based riders got together to try and steal back a KOM for Phil, while raising money for the Greater Vancouver Foodbank. We did not manage to take back the segment, but we still had a ton of fun,” shared Isabella.
Images by Max McCulloch
“It was a strange year indeed, but funny enough the perfect year to really test out the 02. Verdict: There is no terrain and no type of riding that it does not excel at. Whether it was racing a crit at the start of the year, chasing QOM’s (uphill and downhill) on training rides, or taking a gravel detour mid-ride, the O2 really does it all.
Added bonus, the geometry allowed every rider to find their perfect fit without any difficulty. 2021 is going to be a big year for the team. With a primarily European race calendar we are going to push the O2 even harder, and we can’t think of a bike we would rather race in Belgium over the cobbles” – Isabella Bertold.
We admire the way that InstaFund La Prima Racing turned a mixed season with minimal racing, into a year of team building, personal progress, new challenges and a shared renewed passion for cycling.
We look forward to now seeing them turn their focus and attention back to the races in 2021, and wish them all the best as they venture across to Europe to face the best of the best.
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