2 years ago by Tom Soladay

Britton calls it a career

A Q&A with the former Canadian time trial champion

After 12 years as a professional cyclist, half of which was spent on Rally Cycling, Canadian Rob Britton ends his road career. With stage wins and overall victories at races like the Tour of Utah and Tour of the Gila under his belt, as well as playing an integral role in Evan Huffman’s pair of stage victories at the Amgen Tour of California, Britton goes down as one of the team’s strongest-ever stage racers.

In his exit interview, Britton pulls back the curtain on his decision to make a shift.

I don’t think there was ever a single specific reason, or a single moment when I was like, “huh, I don’t want to do this anymore.” It’s a hard decision to make, obviously, because it’s what I’ve done for the last 10 years but also I really enjoy most of what we get to do as professional bike racers. The problem was RACING IS the biggest part of what we do, and at the end of the day I kind of lost my love of that or at least my passion changed directions. 

One of the things I love the most about being a professional cyclist has been all the places I get to ride my bike! It’s taken me so many places I would have never otherwise experienced. And in the last couple of years I’ve really grown to love all sorts of different types of cycling. Bikepacking has obviously made a huge impact in my life as well as gravel riding some gravel races, mountain biking, just exploring all the different avenues this one cool thing has to offer. I for sure look forward to doing WAY more of all of this in the future ….now that I don’t have to do another set of 40/20s as long as I live! Haha.

There’s so much I’m going to miss about being a full-time road pro. The team, my teammates, being AT the races. But I think the one thing it’s hard to replicate anywhere else is the fans. Cycling fans are unlike anything else, their intensity and the energy you find when riding past them is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I’ll definitely miss that.

I think that I will miss living out of a suitcase for six to eight months of the year the least. I love my Thule luggage but I’m certain it’s seen more of me than my wife has the last six years.

I just got married and am really looking forward to spending more time at home. We both lead pretty busy lives but being home with Ricki as well as hanging out with all of our friends and seeing their families grow is something that you really start to prioritize more as you get a bit older and your values change from bike bike bike bike bike!

Without a doubt, the single moment that stands out most in my career is the final 700 meters of the final stage of the 2017 tour of Utah. Fighting for position into the climb, the chaos on the climb, crossing the line, knowing I had won, and then almost immediately after Ricki showing up out of the blue in the crowd after I talked to her in Calgary the night before (and said don’t come). I’ll never forget any of that.

My favorite races? 

  1. Tour of California 
  2. Tour of Utah 
  3. Tour de Beauce tied with Tour of the Gila 
  4. Tour de Suisse (honorable mention)

My favorite continent to race on?
North America.

Over the last 12 years, I’ve learned to trust the process. You have to put in the work. If you do you’ll be rewarded. Then you can do what you love and still call it work.

I remember when I first signed with the team in ‘16 and I was interviewed as one of the new riders in January at the training camp. I said that my objective for the season was to help facilitate success. It didn’t matter whether it was helping a sprinter or covering early moves or just trying to help someone else get a result, as long as a team had success I felt I was successful. I just kind of kept that mantra going every year, trying to raise my own game but hoping that the teams will follow.  And over six years I think we both came a really long way. It was always easy to stay on the team, They committed a lot to me and I think up until my very last race day I committed all I had to them.

I think it’s safe to say my racing days aren’t completely over and done with just yet. Exactly what I have planned for next year? Even I’m not 100% certain. I definitely want to give the gravel scene a go, I really hope to do some cool adventures whether that’s here in BC or abroad, but also I really look forward to spending time with Ricki, my family, my friends, and my community. I loved what I did for the last 10 years and I accomplished more than I ever thought possible even in my craziest dreams. It’s rare earth to be able to do what we do but I think it’s even rarer to be able to choose when you stop. I’m very grateful for that.

To follow Rob on his next phase, check out his Instagram page.