Monday, 11 July 2016

World Championships

Nove Mesto Na Morave: the best race venue I've been to yet! Three hour drive from Prague, this biathlon stadium and open, pine forest made the most fun course with lots of roots, rocks, and jumps! 

At Worlds, there is 3 days of XC racing; day 1 is Junior men and women races, day 2 is U23 races, and day 3 is Elite races. However, this year it was different and the U23 men and Elite women raced on day 2, and the U23 girls and Elite men races on day 3. From the past 2 years, I'm used to racing first, so this year I found it difficult to have to wait until the last day to race... especially since my friends were done racing and care-free well before I raced. 

Team Canada stayed a 40min bike ride away from the course, and we rode to and from the race site each day for training. I have never had so many days between flight arrival and race as I did here... I didn't know what to do with all the time I had to prepare on course! With that extra time, I was really able to recover from jet lag, travel fatigue, and still get enough quality time on course. By race day, I had my lines and the features dialled! I was confident and smooth on the rock gardens, gaps, doubles, and fast flowy single track. 

After watching the first two days of racing on the local live sports TV channel, it was finally my turn to get the action. 
I was the last call up to the start line, starting on the last row. My start was difficult as I got boxed in, so found myself chasing from behind beginning the race. 

Our race was 1 start loop + 4 full laps, and overall, from start to finish, I couldn't find my usual race spark. In the past 2 world cups, I was gaining ground on the climbs with awesome power and spark in my legs. But in Nove Mesto that day, I felt flat. There was nothing in particular that was wrong, and I felt perfectly prepped and trained for this big day, but it was just one of those unfortunate days where your body doesn't quite cooperate. 

Despite my body not enjoying the climbs, those climbs were incredible because I was able to really take in the crowd. I have never seen or raced in front of such large and LOUD crowds before! Another bright side is that I felt great technically that day, and I got some air time for those cheerers. This was an insanely fun course, so I did actually have fun in my race despite being disappointed with my performance and result. 

Those days happen... but extraordinary good days also happen and I know that will be coming my way soon. Some fellow Canadians did have their amazing race! Congrats to everyone on Team Canada! The highlights would probably be 3 Junior boys in the top 16, Bouchard finishing 20th in Elite men, and Emily Batty sprinting for her first World Champs medal in 3rd. 

I want to send out a massive recognition to my coach, Kevin Simms. He puts so much passion into his athletes and their individual training needs. 

Thank you to Trek Store Toronto for a bike that never faltered and rode smoothly on such a bumpy course. 

Thank you to Cycling Canada for this incredible experience to represent our country in Czech. The support from this team is world class with the coaches, mechanics, physio, and organization. 

Can't forget about the Smith Optic glasses I wear every single day... Love my Pivlocks. 

Hammer Nutrition Canada has been fueling me through training and racing this year. I rely on their quality products to be properly prepared and recovered nutritionally. 

Thank you so much to everyone who donated on my Go Fund Me site, in person at Hardwood, and who personally contributed. Support from family, friends, and the community is something truly special and I'm beyond grateful. 

Instead of flying home the next day as most Canadians did... The Barrie/Orillia crew stayed for 2 extra days in Prague! Quinton, Peter, Erica, Gunnar, and I stayed in a little apartment near Prague 1 and walked around touristing for 12 hours each day! All of our feet and legs were shot by the end of each day. We enjoyed the beautiful buildings, bridges, parks, views, transit system, and the FOOD! I had the delicious, traditional bohemian pastry, Trdlnik, each and every day. It's very important to take time and energy to enjoy the places you travel to for racing, or else you don't get to experience the real culture. 

Now I am home for a few days before driving easy to Baie St Paul for Nationals!