Friday, 30 December 2016

2016; A Catch Up & Look Back

I realized that I have really been slacking lately... it's been half a year since my last blog post! What has happened since World Championships?! I'll try to give the important details and not make this a novel about the second half of my 2016.... 

The mountain biking race season continued, and honestly I felt quite burnt out. National Championships was a disappointing race as I just felt like my tank was empty and I couldn't find the leg power, similar to how I felt at Worlds.  After riding in around 10th the first couple laps, I begun to ride up through the field and finished in 4th. I was happy with my semi- come back, but still disappointed leaving Quebec. 

First time ever racing a full-suspension bike on the Top Fuel 9.8! 

I then had a MUCH needed rest week and begun my focus for my final race of the season: the Mt. St. Anne World Cup. This was my first World Cup race in front of a home-Canadian crowd and it was super weird staying with my parents pre World Cup race!  I was riding in 8th for most of that race, finally feeling like I had my energy back! The St Anne course is definitely the most physically demanding course I had ever ridden.... suffering up long, steep climbs then having to stay focused for very technical sections down. I learned that I have to work on my bike handling while fatigued at the end of a race because I had some pretty major mess ups that cost me a lot of time. I went flying over my handle bars on "The Beatrice" (it was spectacular and I didn't even get a good picture!!!), which caused my tire to burp, leading to other little crashes through the whole last lap. I felt like I was just scrambling to get to the finish.  My goal was a top 10 and I was able to nail that with a 10th place! I wasn't ecstatic about that performance but it was a good finish to my race season. 

My body and mind finally got the real break it was needing. August was a month of true care-free summer for me. I LOVED IT. Usually, World Championships is in September so I'm very race focused through to the end of the summer, but this year was different as Worlds was earlier, so I enjoyed August to the max. It was filled with lots of cottage, family, and friend time. My childhood best friend and I went on a camping/ hiking trip in Banff! We wouldn't have been able to do that without all the help from my Uncle Winne and Aunt MB who live out west, thank you both! 


Then it was back to McMaster University... but this time living in a student house! This semester I've been living with 4 awesome girls, most of whom are in Kinesiology with me and some also on the running team with me. I ran this fall again with the Varsity running team! Our ladies team was strong this year and we had some great races.  My courses have been Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Growth, Maturation and Physical Activity, Biomechanics, and Chemistry. I worked hard studying and it paid off as I finished with grades I'm really happy with.

Even though I had a 40% midterm the day of the Fast and Female Ontario summit, I was able to make it for half of the event! There were many incredible ladies there as ambassadors - about half had been in Rio competing just months earlier. Fast and Female never ceases to put on anything less than inspiring and super fun events for young girls. 

Trek Canada MTB Team has been a never faltering support pillar for me, and I will continue to thank them for all the top-end equipment and race support through 2016 and into the new year! 2017 will be my 4th year on this team, which really feels more like family.  Barry Near, owner of Trek Store Toronto, is the hero to us Trek Canada folk, and huge thanks to Taylor Near for the mechanical support year-round! 
We had a team event at the Trek Toronto Store back in earlier December, at the "Saddle, Sore" book launch. The book was was written by Molly Hurford. Trek Canada team member and manager, Peter Glassford, talked along side his wife Molly about coaching and introduced our 2017 Team. Next year, come see Sarah Fabbro, Jon Barnes, Peter Glassford, and I representing Trek at the Canada Cups, Ontario Cups, National Championships, and many local events! 

I also got named to the Next Gen MTB team, based out of Victoria, BC! This is a U23 training team coached by Jeff Ain, with strength coach Adam Keelberger, Nutritionist Ashley Armstrong, physiologist Paula McFadyen, and mental performance coach Danelle Kabush. I am SO grateful to have such incredible team mates and coaches. 

This will be my first year working with Jeff Ain as my full-time coach, as I am no longer being coached by Kevin Simms. Kevin was everything anybody can search for in a development coach and I 110% recommend him to anyone. We had many many successful years together and I owe much of my performances and my physical and mental toughness to him. Thank you Kevin for 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012...  and for being one of my greatest teachers. 

 Jeff as my new coach is the next step of my athletic development.  He is an excellent coach and I'm VERY excited for 2017 to travel around the world with him and the Next Gen MTB crew for training camps and racing! #POWERFORWARD 


I want to send out a massive amount of appreciation to Erik Sesbreno, my nutritionist, who has been working closely with me for a year now. He puts so much effort into his athletes and I'm very thankful to have his brain power behind my fueling!

Thank you to the Ontario Cycling Association, OHPSI, Mike Suraci, and Sean Kelly for the training camps, the healthy athlete weekend, race projects, and other support throughout 2016. 

Morning Glory Cycling Club was a huge help this year with their bursary for developing cyclists. 

As a Hammer Nutrition Ambassador this year I got to learn even more about their amazing products and show others how they fuel my training and racing. 

Thanks to Smith Optics this year I had unbeatable eyewear for every training session and race in any season or weather. 

The National Team, including head coach Dan Proulx, the mechanics, and physiotherapists, made it possible for me to race over seas at world class events with world class support. This was my first year really with the National Team crew, and I look forwards to many more years!

I had some injuries this year that would have seriously impacted my season had it not been for the magical Larry Bell and Laura Hutchinson, my fantastic chiropractor and physiotherapist! 

AGAIN, enormous shout out to Trek Canada MTB Team, supported by Trek Store Toronto and Trek Store Barrie. 

Am I forgetting anyone?
Oh! MY PARENTS! Of course, thank you and I love you, I love you, I love you to my mom and dad for supporting my athletic and academic dreams every step of the way. 

So what do I think of 2016? I think I can do better next year - bring in on 2017!