Monday, 29 May 2017

The Early Season

Hellllooooooooo from the summer-vacating, stress-free Soren!
Can't say I was anything better than stress-ridden just over a month ago during exam time, finishing up my second year at McMaster University. After coming back from B.C. mid-semester, I was annihilated by midterms, labs, and then exams every week. Training was tough with uncooperative weather and I got sick a lot. It definitely wasn't easy, but with my great friends at school, we were able to persevere until the end of exams. And in the end, I was very happy with my final grades and seeing my hard work pay off. During exam weeks I had my first races in Ontario!

The Ontario cup season began at Woodnewton where we had the full Trek Canada Team together for the first time of 2017! I had a great battle that day with Elyse Nieuwold and played my tactics just right to come away with the win! It felt amazing to be back on my beloved Trek Procaliber for the race season and to look so FAST in our new team kits!

That weekend I also did a Fast and a female Champ chat in Dundas, ON! It is amazing seeing all the young girls faces and attitudes light up as they get involved, active, and inspired throughout the afternoon. 

After finishing off my last two exams that week, I was racing Paris to Ancaster. The 70 km spring classic road/cyclocross race definitely had classic spring conditions that's for sure. It was pouring rain before the start (luckily lightened up for the race), was very cold, and there was STRONG west-ward wind that made for a nasty head wind 90% of the race. Let me tell you, that was not a good day to have bad racing legs. After a couple weeks of heavy training and school, all the physical and mental stress made for a tough race. It was still a fun time in a masochist type of way, but I was so happy just to be done.

But wait, after draining all my energy in that gruesome weather, I ALSO had to move student houses right after the race. I seriously cannot thank my dad and Tyler Orschel enough for helping me move houses after they both raced as well.
After moving student houses, I finished off my day driving 2hours home to move back up North to Orillia for the summer.

I was so beyond excited for chill time at home - I was desperate for it. After a good week of physical and mental re-cooperation, I was starting to really soak in the summer vibes. It is just sooooooo nice to be able to train on my bike and at the gym, then ACTUALLY have time to do some recovery after!!! What a novel feeling!!! No more running from classes to training, then back to classes, then quickly making food, then training, then cramming in homework..... at least until I'm ready for that crazy busy schedule again in the fall. I really do love my university life, but a lonnnggg summer is needed to reset.

The next weekend was the second Ontario Cup at a new venue in Kingston! Unfortunately, the insanely rainy weather made for floods that ruined the course despite the race organizer and local volunteers best efforts to keep it mostly ridable. After how ridiculous the second Ocup with because of snow last year at Duntroon, I have deemed this the #CurseOfTheSecondOcup.  Both the past two years at the second Ocup, I have had to run with my bike more than ride it. The trail could have easily been mistaken for a swamp. Luckily for me, my XC running background came in handy yet again and I was able to finish with my second Ontario Cup win!

After a couple weeks of training, I was driving out East again for Canada Cups #2 and #3 at Mt. Tremblant and Baie St. Paul.
At the same time as these races, the first two World Cups were happening over in Czech Republic and Germany.
These are the early season world cups I went to this time last year, but I decided not to go this year. It was a difficult decision as I always want to aim for the highest level and represent Canada, but  it was in my best interest for overall season performance and long term development to stay home and get quality training and recovery for this time of the year.
I definitely felt like I was missing out of all the European action, but I loved my time in Quebec with Trek Canada as well! Over the long May 2-4 weekend in Tremblant, I had a decent race and was content with my 4th place finish! This was my first top 5 result in an Elite Women Canada Cup which was awesome, but I also didn't feel completely on form during the race... like I just couldn't tap into my top potential and the legs weren't there.


The next few days I went to Bromont for some training with Peter Glassford and Molly Hurford. It was great hanging out with these two, and hearing all about Molly's Shred Girls books! She put her photography skills to use with our team photo shoot in Tremblant and took some great shots of me in her Shred Girls shirt at Bromont. You can order the Shred Girls book and order one of these t-shirts here:

 I absolutely love staying at the National Cycling Centre and riding the Bromont trails... it was so hard to make sure I wasn't riding too much so I would be race ready for that coming Saturday!
The Baie St Paul Canada cup was another late 4pm start on Saturday, and the course was the most dry I had ever seen it. This highly muscular, rocky, rooty course was so much fun at the high speeds in the dry conditions.
As soon as the whistle blew, I knew I finally had good race legs. Off the start I was in second on Maghalie Rochette's wheel and we got a gap. This gap grew throughout the race, and Mag was able to get a gap on me. For the entire race I was riding by myself in second position. I was very impressed with myself during the race and how good I felt ... I kept thinking it was too good to last and I would blow up soon, but that feeling never came!

However, things got a bit exciting on the last lap. I have never experienced cramping during a race before, and my quads started to twitch on the last lap, threatening to seize up completely. I wanted to push super hard to the finish, but I knew I had a good gap between myself and 3rd and should find places to spin easy to avoid completely cramping. I was successful at this, and 1km to go on the last descent I went off the big gap. Every other lap I felt like I hit this gap really well, but I landed nose heavy and completely face planted. I was up before I had registered that I was down but felt heat from my nose. I looked at a guy on the side of the trail and asked, "Is my nose bleeding?"  All I got was a wide-eyed, shocked face with aggressive nodding. My thought processes started off with: I need to get to that finish line and not waste this great race on a stupid mess up. I decided I was good enough to ride downhill to the finish, so there I rode, with a waterfall of blood pouring out of my nose.  I still haven't seen a picture of this finish line horror scene.

I quickly cleaned myself up and headed over for the podium! (Wearing the checkered Quebec Cup Leader's jersey)


Congrats to my Trek Canada team mates on their strong races, and a big thank you from all of us to Taylor Near for coming out to be our trusty mechanic and race-feeder! We couldn't be doing all this without the support and amazing equipment from Trek Store Toronto. The Trek Store is hosting the 4th Canada Cup at Hardwood Ski and Bike on June 18th, so come out and check out this awesome event!

Saturday was also an amazing day for Quinton Disera! So proud of him for winning his first Elite Canada Cup, and as a 1st year U23! Also incredibly happy for Peter Disera who rode to 3rd place earlier that day at the World Cup in Germany!


June 10: 
Fast and Female Champ chat at Horseshoe Resort on June 10! ALL girls 8-18 are invited for an afternoon of fun activities and inspiration with elite-level, super inspiring ambassadors.  REGISTER NOW at

June 11: Canada Cup at Horseshoe Resort
June 18: Trek Store Canada Cup at Hardwood