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2018 Season: Ramping Up

3rd April 2018

The past two weeks have been quite a whirlwind for me. I flew home from Atlanta for three days to grab my new bike, refresh and see family before heading to Victoria, BC for the NextGenMTB training camp. I spent a week training in person with my coach Jeff Ain and other U23 and Elite National Team riders. This kind of group, technical trail riding with immediate feedback and skill building is invaluable. Considering I hadn’t touched a mountain bike in three months, it was easy to see progress!

Photo credit to the amazing Kevin Light.

Testing out my new Top Fuel 9.8 on the trails, doing a bike fit and setting up the front and REAR suspension made for some sweet race preparation. Moving to stay at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort put all national team members and staff in a fun, friendly and inspiring environment. Thank you to @canmtbcycling for the opportunity!

The week leading into the first Canada Cup was overwhelming to say the least. It was also the first week of a new semester at SCAD. I am taking a full course load online for the next few months so I can race and travel at the same time, but it isn’t without challenges. It was interesting getting back into the school routine and figuring out how to organize all of it, but I’m excited to do both.

The feature picture on the top was a cartoon I saw on instagram last week and I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. Like, oh yeah, that WOULD make things easier! The first race of the season is always full of expectations. I have been told many times that you can’t judge yourself or anyone else by the first race, but I always have trouble with this and want to be super fast all the time. Even if… I’m not supposed to be because I still have a whole season to peak for. With the help of my coach and my dad, I wrapped my head around it and tried to absorb the things I learned the past week as well as staple mottos I’ve carried with me for years.

  1. Remember that you love to race. Remember how excited you are to blast off the start line. Remember the feeling of being surrounded by racers who love this just as much as you do.
  2. Take comfort in your preparation. You’ve done everything you can up until this moment and draw your confidence from it.
  3. “Do your thing.” This dates back to my time as a competitive gymnast. As a gymnast you practice the same skills over and over and over, it’s muscle memory. Cycling is similar in that I ride my bike everyday. Racing is my thing, I have to let my intuition take over and react without thinking. My body knows what to do, let it do its thing.

Even though I’m stoked on my performance, fitness, flow on the trail and this weekend in general, I know I can do better. The first race of the season can go two ways- well and give you confidence or not well and make you hungrier for the next one. I am both.

Photo credit: Kevin Light

If these are the women leading your races, you’re looking up to the right people. Improvements every year bring me closer and closer to my role models and peers who are killing it. Big respect for Catharine Pendrel, Haley Smith and Haley Batten and everyone else in the 27-deep Elite field on Saturday. Good luck to Smith and E. Batty at Commonwealth Games in Australia as well!

I found some dirt on my recovery spin yesterday because I just can’t resist, but with an average heart rate of 118bpm I think it’s okay. I paused for a few moments at Thetis Lake and breathed it all in. I value these moments just as much, if not more than race days because I get to reflect and be grateful for so many things.

Give your bike a rest too! Race recap: I had a really nice warmup listening to Arcade Fire- I was happy, relaxed and giddy to race. I made sure to take notes so I can replicate it in the future because it was kind of perfect. The actual start off of the line was great as well- easy clip in, good power, moving up… until there was a traffic jam on the first loose, gravel corner and I got pushed back. To last…awesome. But it’s good practice for world cup starts! I made my way up, fighting for each position and rolled out a performance I’m really proud of. I felt strong physically and mentally. I started to die a little on the last lap and lost two positions, but I left it all out there. 10th Elite, 3rd U23.

I’ll be honest, I only bought this Snickers because it said Feisty on it. I am Feisty when I’m hungry, but even when I’m relaxing I still cracked a grin and thought about going fast.

I’m on the complete opposite coast as home, but it doesn’t feel like it. I can still feel the support from home when I look at a bottle from my home club and sponsor- Cyclesmith Halifax.

I love seeing other women out and about enjoying nature too. I found myself nodding my head as two women floated by on paddle boards.

This bee landed on my arm and it was cool for a second but he stayed for a few minutes. I didn’t want to bother him in case he stung me, but he did remind me that I have so much to look forward to this season. Tomorrow I fly to California for the Fontana and Bonelli US Cups- more stoke- then back to Victoria for some quality mtb training. Then I’ll be home for a few more days until I fly to Grand Junction, Colorado on May 4th for Collegiate Road Nationals! Thanks Bee!

And thank you to TrekBikes, Bontrager, Oakley, Team Nova Scotia, Bicycle Nova Scotia, Support4Sport, everyone who contributes and sends your support, thank you!

I am an aspiring athlete looking to make my mark on the mountain biking world. I love racing and training with my teammates, and I am looking for new ways to be faster and stronger- the fun is always in a good race!