Thursday, 2 June 2016

The World Cup Beginner

Monday May 30, 2016

Today I am returning home after spending the past two weeks in Germany and France with Team Canada! With the National Team head coach, Dan Proulx, we had a great crew of 11 athletes, 2 bike mechanics, and 1 massage therapist to represent Canada at the Albstadt and La Bresse World Cups. 

As the youngest athlete on this National Team Trip, I was surrounded by experienced and inspiring athletes that helped make my first World Cup races seem a little less daunting. 

After arriving in Stuggart, Germany on a Monday, the team assembled and drove to Albstadt to begin a muddy week of preparation for our first race that weekend! The course was not very technically challenging, but with lots of double track climbing it sure was physically demanding. However, days of rain caused the downhills to become VERY slick. The U23 women raced on the Saturday at 1pm, with the other races (U23 men, elite women, & elite men) racing on Sunday. So my race was first, on what turned out to be a perfect race day! The rain had stopped, course slightly dried up, and the sun was out. 
I started on the last row with plate #64, and with a solid start lap I was able to move up to 45th. Throughout the race I slowly picked off girls, and found myself in 32nd on lap 5 of 6. I was feeling very proud of my riding during he race knowing I had good legs and technical skills that day, however it was still disappointing to be pulled by the 80% cut off with one lap to go because of the short course lap. 
I was satisfied with my first World Cup race, but was already focused on recovering, priming, and improving again for the next World Cup one week away! 

After the Sunday races, we travelled to the beautiful La Bresse. This was my first time in France and I absolutely loved it! It was fun to actually be able to use the little French I know to communicate, whereas in Germany I am completely lost. 
La Bresse was sunny and hot for training and race day! The course was mostly dry, except for one section that was always a mud slide. This course was "old school" style with a slightly longer lap and many natural technical features. 

Again, I started on the last row but i found it harder to move through the crowd as the course narrowed into trails sooner and there was lots of traffic. Slowly but surely, I moved up the ranks and found myself in 25th starting my last lap of the race! Top 25 was my goal, and I was determined to stay there through to the finish! I felt really solid on the climbs as was able to keep the pace high and finish with a fast last lap... Crossing the line to get my first U23 UCI point in 25th! That's a memorable first of many UCI points to come I'm sure! 
Post race, Freddie and I enjoyed some fresh baguettes with baked Brie while the rest of the team prepared for their races the next day. The Sunday races were so fun to watch as we had some fantastic Canadian results! 

Interview from Rob Jones with Canadian Cyclist:

It was a quick pack up Sunday afternoon and long drive back to Stuggart airport hotel to start our travel home. 
This bring us back to my present moment as I'm writing this while flying west over the ocean back to my home. 
I'm excited to come back home for a couple weeks filled with family and friend time, cottage nights, group training with coach Kevin, and a couple Canada Cup races at Horseshoe and Hardwood! 

Big thanks to the support of the National Team for this experience! Also, Trek Store Toronto along with Trek Canada MTB Team and Barry Near has been a massive help for equipment, team, and moral support. 

Thanks to my coach, Kevin Simms, for helping me be the best I can be! He creates fun, engaging, and definitely challenging training environments that result in world class training. You can't be a world class athlete without a world class coach. 

Thanks to everyone for following my journey on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! 

Here is a blog I made for Hammer Nutrition website about tips for travelling to Europe for races!