Sid Taberlay decided to return to road racing in the hope it would benefit his mountain biking later in the year, and the Australian has done so with remarkable success. Taberlay finished the weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race in second position overall, thanks in part to his third place on the opening time trial.
“I’ve been missing racing on the road and had a desire to mix it up,” Taberlay told shoair.wordpress.com. “My best mountain bike results have always been when I’ve been racing the road and I’ve felt the last couple of years I didn’t really have the horsepower on the mountain bike.
“I needed to find a way to get that back, it actually became a very easy process,” he added.
Taberlay contested the Redlands Bicycle Classic in 2005 for Cal Giant/Specialized, where he won the King of the Mountains jersey. With an existing relationship and proven success for the team, Taberlay called the squad's manager to ask for a ride at San Dimas. That the road outfit and his Sho-Air /Specialized mountain bike squad have similar sponsors only made an arrangement easier to settle on.
“There was a time that I was more a roadie than a mountain biker, it’s actually how I got good at mountain biking,” he said. “It wasn’t until I got thrown on a road bike, and got the roadie fitness that I became good on the MTB.
“I haven’t done a serious road race since 2007, but racing is just like learning to ride a bike - once you know how to do it, it’s easy,” added Taberlay. “This weekend actually brought back memories with so many Australians in the peloton and what can I say, it was a bit of an Aussie domination.”
The San Dimas Stage Race was a test of form ahead of USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar opening event, this weekend’s Redlands Bicycle Classic. That backdrop makes Taberlay’s performance all the more impressive, but he’s unlikely to contest another road race until after the Sea Otter Classic in mid-April.
Taberlay is expecting to contest more road races throughout the season; however, the main goal will be building fitness for key mountain bike events. While his road schedule is yet to be decided he’s suggested the Tour of Gila could be is next event, to help with altitude preparations for Colorado’s US Cup round, with other events mentioned including the Joe Martin, Mt Hood and Cascade stage races, plus the Tour of Utah.