Jimmy Guardino share his first six months of cycling with ANZA. My leap from the United States to Singapore in August 2012 was anything but ordinary. A week prior to my big departure at my last cycling event in the States, I came down in a high-speed crash and broke my shoulder blade. Not the send-off I was hoping for by any stretch of the imagination.
Before I moved to Singapore, I was doing 40 or more races a year with the Quaker City Wheelmen, a Philadelphia-based elite cycling team. So naturally, when my ‘real world’ job as a reinsurance broker offered an opportunity to move to Singapore for two years, my first instinct was to Google “cycling teams Singapore”. The first group I came across was ANZA Cycling. The club was well-established and welcoming to newcomers, so I reached out to then road director Mark Haller. A few days later he came back to me and confirmed what I had been eager to hear – cycling was alive and well in Singapore!
So off I went to Singapore, alone, without my beloved bike and my arm in a sling.
About a month later it was time to say goodbye to the sling. Coincidentally it was also around the same time that ANZA was having a social event for new members to the club. I was a bit nervous on the night of the event but everyone was very friendly. People were intrigued by my story and my planned comeback. It was this event that, coupled with the team’s overwhelming support to have me represent ANZA Cycling, sparked my motivation to return to racing. My comeback race would be representing ANZA in the Cat 1 field of the Tour de Bintan in November 2012.
My bike arrived in September – finally it would be time to get back out on the open road. I arrived at the first Saturday morning ride with no idea what to expect. When I arrived at the local meeting place I was greeted by a swarm of flashing lights and cyclists alike. I was in my element and quickly found some familiar faces in ANZA kits.
Slowly but surely, over the next few weeks I got to know my fellow teammates both on and off the bike. The weekend rides were enjoyable and offered varying levels of difficulty depending on what you were looking for. Still, regardless of how fast or slow, we always regrouped for coffee and banter afterwards – crucial ingredients to any good weekend bike ride! While this was happening, veteran club members Glen Kenny and Alan Benson were putting together a weekend trip for us to travel as a team to Bintan, Indonesia to recon the tour stages.
Between the hundreds of kilometers logged and overall sense of camaraderie I felt with my new teammates, this trip was and will always be one of my favorites.
Finally it was the big weekend of the Tour de Bintan. The support from fellow club members was enormous. ANZA Cycling was well represented in just about every field of competition. When fellow teammate Pierre-Alain Scherwey and I managed to break away and place second and third respectively in Stage 2 and reach the podium representing ANZA, it was by far one of the most epic feelings in the world. To think, just three months after being sidelined with a broken shoulder blade, and now I was on top of the world, celebrating a successful return to racing with some great new mates. I really could not have asked for anything more.
This article was originally published in April 2013.