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Lucas Euser, riding on golden eagle wings in the USA Pro Challenge

August 23, 2012

Lucas Euser (SpiderTech p/b C10), right, crossed the Stage 3 finish line two seconds behind the stage winner

In July several Boulder-area pro-cyclists joined BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney in a training camp that sprang from a program designed to prepare Phinney for the Olympics. Lucas Euser (SpiderTech p/b C10) participated in the camp, which was dubbed “Golden Eagle Camp” after a golden eagle sailed over the cyclists’ heads during a ride.

The training camp tested the guys with 250 kilometer rides at race pace. In fact the difficulty of the program readied Euser so well for August racing, mid-way through the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah he mentioned he found that event so far easy by comparison. Euser also attributed his fitness to changing his personal training program over the previous two months.

“I’ve worked hard for this,” he said, referring to his strong showing in the Tour of Utah which included attacking on the climbs and high finishes on the stages. His Tour of Utah ended with an eighth place overall.

As a sports director once said, “When you’re going good, you have to use it.” This week Euser is putting his form to work in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. “I came here with big ambitions. I had a plan for each stage and I’ve executed exactly how I wanted to each stage,” he said after completing Stage 3 with the lead group that finished two seconds off of Tom Danielson’s winning time.

It’s tempting to imagine that Euser’s found a new place within himself, a reservoir of power and courage drawn from the eagle that’s taking his racing to a new level. According to one source, Native American culture posits that the eagle “represents a state of grace that is reached through inner work, understanding and passing the initiation tests that result from reclaiming our personal power.”

Lucas Euser (SpiderTech p/b C10) rests after Stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge

His plan for Stage 3 meant attacking on the second to last switchback on Independence Pass, with a tailwind. After mentioning BMC Racing Team encountered trouble on the way up Independence Pass, Euser added, “So I had to go, you gotta try. Tejay and I are friends but we’re also competitors, so we respect that we can both ride a bike and that you gotta try. And that was my plan today, to try. I tried really good and…I think I put some guys in difficulty.”

What will Euser’s plan be for Stage 4? The fourth day of racing travels from Aspen to Beaver Creek Resort and ends with a 4 kilometer uphill finish at an average grade of 5.3%. Today Euser described his plan for the next day: “Hide, hide until the end.” He laughed at his comment.

Following an afternoon of putting his nose out in the wind, it’s an understandable answer. But given Euser’s ambitions in the race, he’s likely to find himself in the leading group up to Beaver Creek, chasing a high placement on the day. After all, other Native American meanings attributed to the eagle include the spirit of tenacity and the patience to wait for the right moment.

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