Whooooooooooo! this feels long over due, but it feels as if that season would never end. I am happy and sad that it is now over, if that makes any sense. To get us to a quick start I will do a little write up of my season high lights, from my "highlight(s) of the night" to other races that mean't a lot to me and what new skills I have aquired through my experiences,
Win Booischot Kermis in Belgium: This was just a regional race but it was a huge confidence boost stomping another 100 odd kids who cycle as avidly as I do. Another cool thing about what came with my win was the recognition I got from the Belgian Community and when the elite riders (Barry, Veilleux and Tuft) asked how belgium went all the staff said "okay but across the board with junior, u23, woman we only won 1 kermis... "
6th Tour of Battenkill in Cambridge, NY: Althought I'm not happy with my result this race really showed me where I am as a cyclist. being a race on dirt on gravel roads it was hard for everyone and I was in the process of experimenting with what my body's demands for in nutrition and managed to cramp up really bad in the last kilo. The reason this race meant so much to me is the fact that I got in a selection with 2 riders when the pace got really hard. these riders are both also first years with many years experience. they both went on to win a national title as well as place top 3 in the tt. I had scouted them out and I feel they are the USA's rising stars, this makes my wonder... if pro teams are waiting for these guys maybe if I get good results next year I could have a pro contract waiting for me too?
Various Belgie Races 1 win, 2 top 10's and 3 top 20's 150 racers on average: these races showed me that in a big pack, a hard course and immense amounts of suffering and use of my what is a developing tactical nous I can rise to the top and I know what it takes to put in a good performance. out of these races I was always the best canadian out of our 4 man team except for 2, where they were sprints and I was 2nd best on the day
2 World's Trips My first international experiences: Well these trips featured crazy exposure to new cultures. my first trip was kind of a throw away with poor performances but the important lessons I learned allowed me to know what to expect and what to do next time (see 1st in list)
3 Race Crippling DNF's and a W My disappointing end to what was a life changing year on the bike: My last post explains all this but these saddening experience in succession have taught me that these things happen in bike racing and to be honest for me to be all depressed about it was dumb some people have it way worse. Just look at Christian Van de Velde, the american racer came 4th at the tour in 08 and has DNF'd every year since (3x) due to a crash, makes my disappointments look like child's play.
Tour of Terra Cotta Dropped from decisive break: that description makes my race seem bad but thats when i really understood what the selection committee for junior worlds meant when they said "you are good at sniffing out winning breaks", I saw a group forming and just looked at who was in it and knew I had to be in it, I eventually got dropped but as I mature physically I could see myself even next year making it 140km in a 6 man break. man i got in a lot of breaks this past season, too many to list, I feel I attained this skill from local rider Nathan Chown sub consciously as he has never given me formal lessons, he taught me the kind of way you teach a dog to stop peeing in the house, he yelled at me when i didn't mark people the right people at club races
National Title First National Title at the end of my first CX Season: This was a win that allows me to be recognised at an international level and my trip to cx worlds paved the way for my selection to road worlds.
Those I feel are the races that defined my year and have given me experiences that have changed me as a cyclist and person. I also picked up a provincial title but only 6 riders showed up and the national champion was eligible to race but didn't so I don't really see it as beneficial to my development, plus my seat slipped a few centimetres during so I didn't even get to put in a good performance...
Another big thing I learned was to have confidence in people, people like my parents and even more so my coach. If something goes wrong my parents can find a way to make it work or plan things out. But as for Rick (my coach) I have sooo much confidence in what he tells me to do it's a big boost to my training. I strongly believe in his principles and that I could not possibly be doing anything more efficient in hopes of making me the best cyclist I can be!
Now that I have that season in the books lets take a peek at what is to come, I plan to do a lot of track riding next year, its something I really enjoy doing and rick says it's in my best interest. If things go as plan I will be leaving north america 3 times next year for various races, not including junior cross worlds 2012 as I won't be going.
(Dream outcome of next year) After what is hopefully a successful road and track season I will sign a pro contract at the end of next year then podium at u23 cross nats go to worlds and then close the book on my cx career, for now. Afterwards I will attend Brock University (allowing me to live at home) where I will achieve an MBA while racing for a local pro team, hopefully, cross ya fingers. but hoping and planning for all these things has really been stressing me out recently!
If you actually read this far congratulations, I think this was my longest post ever!