Zach Bell has a lot going on these days.
The Watson Lake cyclist is going to the Commonwealth Games, just competed at the nationals and has a new addition to the family.
Bell and wife Rebecca welcomed daughter Lucy on June 18.
“Everybody’s good. She’s grown already and is up above her birth weight – all good things,” said Bell. “Mom is doing good and is getting in the groove of being mom. But she’s fine. Everything went smooth and everyone is getting on with life.”
Barely a week and a half after Lucy arrived, Bell was racing for a national road race title.
However, Bell was dropped from the lead pack late in the race and did not finish at the Canadian Road Championships in Lac-Megantic, Que., on Saturday.
“Where I am in my career, I’m in it for the win or I’m not in it anymore,” said Bell. “I got dropped with a couple laps to go from the lead group of about 10 guys. I definitely could have ridden it in for a top 10 placing, but for me that doesn’t really mean anything. Once I wasn’t in it to win it I pulled out.”
Bell, who won the national road title last year, forwent the time trial race and criterium, deciding to focus on the 179.5-kilometre road race.
It was the 31-year-old’s first race since breaking his collarbone in a criterium race in New Mexico at the start of May.
“I managed to make it out there and had a little bit of time to get ready,” said Bell. “I went out two days before the road race.”
“I just did the road race, that’s the one I wanted to defend,” he added. “It was just too soon after the baby (for the other events).”
While Bell came away with a DNF, teams on his professional North Carolina-based Team SmartStop had strong results.
SmartStop teammate Svein Tuft took first place in the road race and in the time trial at the championships. Teammate Kris Dahl rode to first in the time trial in the under-23 division.
Bell has been riding for SmartStop since early March but the season is only getting warmed up.
The two-time Olympian will compete at his third Commonwealth Games beginning at the end of month. Bell is slated to compete in both road and track for Team Canada at the quadrennial event in Glasgow, Scotland.
“That’s kind of been a bit more of a focus,” said Bell. “The road race at nationals went pretty well considering – I was able to make that front group – I just didn’t have the legs after the injury and baby and stuff. The focus has been on the later half of the season anyway.”
Bell won a bronze medal in the scratch race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. He took in a fifth place finish at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.
Bell hasn’t done much track as of late, but a lack of practice didn’t hinder much at last year’s track nationals.
He won gold in the omnium event at the 2013 Canadian Track Championships last September in what was his first time back on the track since the 2012 London Olympics.
“I’ve done a couple training camps with the team that’s going, so I’ve been on (the track) but not tons,” said Bell. “Obviously I’ve been focusing on the road with my road team this year.”
Bell is one of two Yukon athletes – two Watson Lake athletes – named to Canada’s Commonwealth Games team.
Brittanee Laverdure was named to Team Canada’s wrestling team, Wrestling Canada Lutte announced at the start of June.
“I’m excited because I haven’t actually done a Games,” Laverdure told the News shortly after the announcement. “I’ve done lots of championships like the Pan Am championships, but I haven’t done Pan Am Games.
“I’m not planning to be around four more years, so I’m excited,” added the 32-year-old.
Bell leaves this weekend for a training camp in the Netherlands in preparation for the Games.
“I’d like to say thanks to all the people up there that supported us through our rough road over the last few years,” said Bell, who’s son Paxton Michael Bell died a few days after birth in October of 2012. “We’re pretty happy to have a little one now … It’s been a hard journey for us, but we’ve had people behind us, both in Vancouver and up north. It’s given us the strength to carry on get to where we are, which is a happy place again.”
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