Thursday, 12 October 2017

Rollercoaster Season

Here is yet another one of my blog posts, attempting to summarize the busiest and most exciting months of my year without writing a 1000 page book.  This one is more of a collection of photos, following a timeline of my summer race season and adventures.

Overall, my 2017 season went like this: big up, big down, little up, little down, big up. It was quite a rollercoaster of performance, confidence levels, and jet lag from jumping around the globe.

Here is a brief (ok, as brief as I could make it) explanation of my summer's Who's, What's, Where's, and Why's: 
(Exact results are in point form following this summary)

I had some amazing races at early season Canada Cups with the Trek Canada team in Quebec and Ontario, which really boosted my confidence and I set my goals/hopes high as I embarked on a 2 month journey living out of my bike bags. First, I went to Andorra then Switzerland for 2 World Cup races with Team Canada.  I was very disappointed to perform relatively poorly, as I wasn't responding well to these locations at altitude. As always, disappointing races provide opportunity for the best kind of learning.  It was straight to Canmore next, where I stayed with family friends for one week, then met up with my Trek family for National Championships. A flat tire on the first lap partnered with feelings of still not being 'on form', made for another upsetting race day at Nationals.  But using 'failure' as fuel and staying focused forwards, I set off to Winnipeg with Team Ontario for the Canada Summer Games! Things started to take an upwards turn at the Games. I was selected to be the Flag Bearer for the province of Ontario at the Opening Ceremonies, which was an immense honour and incredible experience. In the XC race, I was beginning to feel a little more like myself, having my strongest race since those Ontario Canada Cups.  Directly to Mont. St. Anne, Quebec I flew next, for Canada's World Cup event.  The day before the race as I was practicing on the slippery course, I went down and my elbow took the blunt of my weight, hitting a rock.  Even with stitches in my swollen elbow, I had hopes of being able to race the next day... but I couldn't hold onto my bars the next day even on road bumps, so racing was out of the plan. Luckily, it was the end of my big trip and time to go home anyways, so I had time for my elbow to heal. A week at my cottage for a family reunion was a perfect mental/physical break from all the travelling and racing over the past several weeks. After the cottage break, I had 2 weeks at home to train (and race Provincial Championships) before leaving to Australia for World Championships! Australia was INCREDIBLE before, during, and after the race with Team Canada. My coach Jeff Ain helped me prep well, and I felt like I was "on it" physically, mentally, and tactically. I didn't have a break through performance by any means at Worlds, but I finally was able to race to my normal potential at the international stage. My World's race was a much needed positive way to end the season, and I got to celebrate with a few days of vacation around the Cairns area post-race before heading back to the reality of University in Ontario.

Check out a whole wack of photos at the end of this post!

Results in chronological order (since last blog post):
  • Horseshoe Canada Cup: 3rd Elite / 1st U23
  • Hardwood Canada Cup: 2nd Elite / 1st U23
  • Andorra World Cup: 35th (U23)
  • Switzerland World Cup: 38th (U23)
  • National Championships: 4th (U23)
  • Canada Summer Games: 3rd (U23)
  • Mt. St. Anne World Cup: DNS
  • Ontario Provincial Championships: 1st Elite
I have major support networks that helped me get to all these races, be prepared for these races, and have the best equipment for these races. 

Trek Canada MTB Team has been my rock of support for the past 4 years, and I'm continuing onto my 5th year with this group that has become a tight knit community of mine. Equipment is a huge aspect of cycling at a high level, and Trek Toronto Store is always taking the best of care of the team with the highest quality.

Trek Canada meets the Canadian Rockies (at Nationals)

A successful race season is created in the off season.  For the past year, the NextGen program has helped me every single day in some shape or form. With my coach Jeff Ain and all the other IST services such as nutrition, strength coaching, mental performance, physiology, and physio, the NextGen program has helped it's athletes on the path to international success.

Just finished the dusty race at Worlds, looking quite wrecked, but so happy to see Jeff there at the finish for me!

This past year I continued to wear Smith Optics on every single training ride and in every race. When I think about it, its ridiculous how much I depend on my riding glasses; feeling completely naked without them.
Apparently also always wearing my casual Smith Optics (and enjoying my cottage with these awesome ladies)

OF COURSE I cannot forget about the two most important people of all: my mom and dad with their unwavering support and love. 

I definitely met some major goals this season that I set out for myself a year ago, process and result wise.  However there was much I was hoping to accomplish that I didn't. These goals carry over and bring momentum into my off season training which starts now. 
I have been at school for the past month now, in my third year of studies for my Kinesiology degree while dabbling in cyclocross and cross country running races. The school year is always very difficult to maintain a high performance lifestyle while studying full time, volunteering, and keeping sanity.   Even though sometimes I feel unstoppable, invincible, and like I can go, go, go.... my body says otherwise and I get sick with my immune system as my weak link. So here's to the next half a year of fall/winter/spring training, midterm/exam studying, and taking time to slow down and smell the roses along the way.


Helping out with the Trillium Trailblazer's event before the Canada Cups.  Love hanging out with these young girls who are so excited to be on their bikes!

Racing at Hardwood Canada Cup

My results from the Canada Cups in BC, Quebec, and Ontario landed me as the overall Elite Women Canada Cup Series Winner!

Jumping for joy with other Team Canada teammates because we were in Andorra!
Thin air up here... oh wait that's just my breath being taken away from the beautiful views

Fired up

Suffering during Switzerland World Cup course (zoom in for the full effect)

When you're all alone and have a 15 hour layover in London, England ... you ask strangers (who may not actually speak any English at all) to take "artsy" photos for you
Arrived in Canmore, Canada, and happy to be spending some time with family
Getting in the zone pre Nationals race
yup shit happens

OK NOW THIS WAS REAL COOL.... hiked a mountain at sunset, slept outside under the stars, woke up to watch the sunrise.  Thanks to this rad chika in the blue hat

We had a tent, but didn't use it.  Except for this awesome photo. So obviously it was worth setting up

More camping pics... just trying to justify how COOL this was

Seriously, I could just keep posting photos from this sleepover and never get bored (but this is the last one I swear)

Yet still more beautiful views with Sarah!
With the Team Ontario Staff at the Canada Summer Games, trying to figure out how to not look awkward holding a flag everywhere
About to enter Opening Ceremonies with the best province
Now it was all business racing at the Canada Summer Games
Thanks to that IKEA in the distance for giving us their construction dirt so we had a hill to race on in Winnipeg
So proud of our Team O ladies
Now in Mt. St. Anne Quebec... wasn't my day with the stupid elbow issue, but THIS ROCKSTAR RIGHT HERE FINISHED 4TH AS A FIRST YEAR U23!!!! Proud girlfriend on the right
After a whirlwind of travelling, so relaxing to be at the cottage with family
Nothing quite like the long travel days to get to Australia... but beyond worth it to be there, with Team Canada, and racing at World Champs!
It's go time
Suffering and I love it
Post race endorphins are so high right here.
Just one of the many people behind the magic of Team Canada... Thanks to Jenn and the rest of the Team Canada IST!

OFFICIALLY OFF SEASON!!!! (But lets go run up a mountain and see how fast we can do the "2 hour" hike)

You seriously have no idea how much Sidney and I freaked out with happiness when we found turtles 
hot stuff am I right
Just trying to find Nemo.  Or was I looking for Dory?
Harsh reality check coming back to university (& 2 weeks already behind)... but the fact that Erica and Quinton are now at McMaster made it 99% less painful
AND obviously my face hurts because I've been smiling so much since I'm seeing all my best friends at school again!!

Oh ya, there's this other sport I like to do a lot in the fall... XC running! I didn't just forget my bike, don't worry.

Ok I ALSO run a bit WHILE carrying a bike (no its not broken, I will start to race actually riding it again very soon after this photo)
Catching a bit of CX fever
(and XC (running) fever... I guess the order of the letters is interchangeable)

Thanks for reading! Until later... ☮ out