“I’m not travelling halfway around the world just to make up the numbers.”
Ben Carman is here to race.
“My goal is to make a difference and contribute to the team’s objectives of setting Angus up for a real crack at the difficult stages and the general classification. Beyond that, I believe I have the form to snag a result if I’m able to get up the road in some of the more open stages. If that opportunity comes, I’ll be chasing it.”
The Tour of Utah is undeniably hard, and most of the team have already been training in Utah for the past month, acclimatising and familiarising themselves with the parcours.
“The preparation has been going well, the altitude always makes things harder, but I feel I am coming round with that. For me, the biggest obstacle is the heat, which means I have been doing plenty of long days in the middle of the day to get used to that as well. “
Ben has already spent some time in Salt Lake City this year in between the Joe Martin Stage Race and Redlands Bicycle Classic. It was then when he got his first taste of this year’s course and the opportunity to recon several of the final stages.
The Tour of Utah rarely changes the parcours for the final three stages, they are all undoubtedly brutal especially having been raced one after the other. The stage four Salt Lake City Circuit features the steep climb up past the Capitol building and although a short stage, it is not for the faint-hearted. Stage five takes the peloton across Guardsman Pass before a 15km descent leading into the extreme 9.6km climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird Ski Resort with an average gradient of 8-12%. Capping off the tour, and six hard days of racing is the Park City stage.
“The fifth stage to Snowbird looks epic! I rode the finish climb in April this year, and it is an insane climb on its own. Adding the stages beforehand and then the climbs earlier on in the day, I think this is probably going to be my hardest day on the bike ever.”
“I have ridden the finish climb for the last stage, and in short, it is brutal. I know the day before is the “queen stage”, but backing that up with the climb up Pine Canyon, that is going to make it tough.“
Racing at altitude adds another element to the Tour of Utah, In preparation for this race, Ben has had to take a step back from his race heavy race schedule and really focus on preparing for the monstrous climbs ahead of him. He has joined his other teammates in Salt Lake City to focus on a short rest and altitude training.
“I am feeling really good, the first half week here was all about resting and getting rid of the fatigue that comes from the travel, altitude and the racing before arriving here. But I have now completed two solid blocks of training, and feel like I have come out of that in good shape.“
Summer has been never ending for Ben. Our young climber has been on the move and chasing the sun since April. Following the one month trip to America, Ben jetted home for a short four-day turn around before heading over to France to gain more racing experience on the tough European roads. With not much racing happening in Australia over the winter, Ben had the opportunity to race with a local French team racing on the Division One and Elite National racing circuit in France in what he describes as top-level amateur racing.
Ben has notched up a number of results and showed consistency throughout the European summer months winning the GP d’Auray, third at Mance-Ocean, fourth at Ronde Finisterienne-Loperht, a number of top ten results and winning the KOM competition at Boucle Du Val D’Oust.
“My favourite has definitely been my win at Auray, it came after my last three races had ended with mechanical issues, so it was a big relief for everything to go right and being able to put my good form and training to use.”
“The results have been very consistent. I really found my feet after the block of racing in the US. Half of my results have come on days where I have been sick or just not feeling great, so if there has been one big change to come out of my time there, it is that I have really learnt to never stop back myself.”
Ben has had a lot of support from back home throughout the year, particularly from the Logan Cycling Club who have supported his journey with mobius BridgeLane. We are sure his supporters will be following the action live on the official Larry H Millar Tour Tracker, you can find the app in your app store and all information about live coverage can be found here: https://www.tourofutah.com/race/tourtracker