Nigel Ellsay is Silber’s youngest rider but he packs an impressive resumé. A former National Junior TT champion (2012), Nigel went on to finish 31st at World’s in the discipline. After 3 successful seasons in France, the last two with Sojasun-Espoir, Ellsay has returned to North America to cut his teeth on the America Tour with Silber. Considering how well he has done on this continent, why not? Last year, for example, Nigel was 2nd in the TT and 4th in the Road Race amongst Espoirs at Nationals. He was also 7th at the Tour de Delta RR (UCI 1.2).
Nigel is an even-keeled, intelligent racer who can both deal with adversity and rise to the occasion. He missed a key chunk of the season with a broken collar bone suffered at Joe Martin. “How to Ride the Rode to Recovery” is a blog he wrote about trying to come back, and it contains a photo of the rig he used to resume training. More recently our DS, Gord Fraser, specifically challenged Nigel to perform at the Tour de White Rock. Gord describes why–and the outcome–in his recent blog on BC Superweek.
As Nigel heads towards the final block of his 2015 season, we sat down for a brief conversation with one of Canada’s most promising riders in order to get a sense of where he’s at and where he wants to go.
Can you describe your injury?
I broke my left clavicle at the Joe Martin Stage Race. I had my front wheel taken out at 55km/hr. The back left of my shoulder took the initial impact but I continued to barrel roll forward. The break was clean.
Thanks to the team I got home two days after the break. I got new x-rays 10 days after the crash. The surgeon thought recovery time and strength would be equal with or without surgery. I opted to forgo the surgery so I could continue training (on the turbo) and avoid complications associated with surgery.
The bones fused fast and I was back on the road within 19 days of crashing. Do not tell my surgeon though!
Your return to competition included the BC Provincials then Nationals and more recently BC Superweek. How would you describe you’re progression to where you’re at now? (Nigel was 2nd at the BC TT; 5th U23 in the TT and 2nd in the Crit at Nats; 4th at White Rock).
I returned to racing five weeks after the crash at BC Provincials. My form was ok but most aspects of fitness and agility were missing. Nationals was a bit better. My fitness and agility were close to 100%. But because it was my first ‘real’ race back in 11 weeks I was missing ‘race endurance’. This is the ability to recover after hundreds of small accelerations. I cracked out of the chase group around the four hour mark…
My form at Superweek was good. I feel like Cascade could be a great race for me if all goes normal.
What are you’re goals for Cascades? Any specific targets?
Go hard! Cascade has a couple mountaintop finishes. I hope to snag top-10s in these so I can set myself up for a good placing in the overall classification going into the last stage. The last stage is a tough circuit race that will no doubt re-shuffle the overall.
[Nigel finished 27th in the TT and is currently 27th overall after 2 stages]
What’s on tap for the rest of the season, and any major targets?
After Cascade I will take at least a few days off the bike and an additional few days of easy riding. Then I will get back into a three week build before the Tour of Alberta. If all goes well at Alberta I hoped to be selected to the National U23 team to the pre-World Championships events at the GP Montreal and Quebec with the end goal a ride at the U23 World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
Lofty goals from a realist with his head square on his shoulders. Can’t wait to see how the next few months unfold. Go get ’em.