On Wednesday, Spruce Grove Alb. cyclist Ryan Anderson announced he would be retiring from road racing. The rider—described as “likeable” and “mr. Reliable” by his team Rally cycling—won’t be competing in road races anymore, but still has big cycling plans for the future.
Anderson started off racing mtb, and moved to road by the end of his junior year. His first opportunity to race professionally came in 2008 with Canadian team Symmetrics Pro Cycling. The next year he moved to Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast (now known as Rally) where he stayed for two years before joining Canadian team Spidertech for two years. He rode with Chinese team Champion System Pro Cycling for half a year in 2013 before transferring to Rally where he stay until 2015. In his final five seasons Anderson rode with Direct Energie from 2016-2017 and Rally cycling from 2018-2020.
“I’ve ridden for the team [Rally] on three separate occasions, it must mean I’m a good guy,” said Anderson on a Rally blog post. “This last time when I came back into the team in 2018, I always knew this would be the final stop. I was very comfortable in the team, I pretty much knew everyone and how things worked – that’s what worked for me.”
Anderson competed in the 2016 Vuelta a España, has podiumed at the USA Pro Challenge and the Tour of Alberta and finished second in the 2013 national championships road race.
The crash that changed things
In 2019 Anderson broke his leg in a mountain biking accident, which he says changed his perspective on cycling. “I expect a lot out of myself and I know I don’t want to take the risks necessary anymore,” says Anderson. “I think I was telling myself I could keep doing it and it would be ok, but I fear having a big crash again. Before I would just go full gas at a brick wall and just hope the tires held. So it’s time to step away from road racing. It really is a crazy sport and I have a lot of respect for everyone doing it. I don’t think the cameras do justice to just how nuts it is when everyone is bumping around at those speeds.”
A road ahead
“I will really miss my time with the team around the dinner table and the bus,” said Anderson. “All the banter between everyone, I missed that already this year.”
Currently located in B.C., Anderson plans on doing some endurance mtb and gravel events that he could never work into his schedule with road racing. “Gravel racing is really appealing,” he says. “I may also try some bike touring with Svein Tuft. He will fight off the bears and I will ride behind. I want to keep this dream going of seeing the world with a bike in hand but no longer bash into people at high speeds.”
Anderson will also be occupied with his foundation the Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund. He and Will Routley co-founded the organization in 2012 to help young cyclists of all genders navigate road cycling in Canada. Bridge the Gap is now looking at what impacts COVID is having on the racing scene.
“Really what’s next, I’m not sure, but bikes are always going to play a big part in my life,” says Anderson