Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Road National Championships 2017

Soo back in the air and country traversing to Ottawa/Gatineau for the 2017 Junior Road National Championships. Firstly, shout out to mother nature for cooling down the weather, compared to the muggy heat of last year and sorry to the elite men who were caught in the thunderstorm for both the road race and time trial!


Airportttts



Anyways, was great to be reunited with the TaG fam for our last big trip of the year, always chill times and lots of laughs to be had with those amazing people! So for my first subtitle, I would like to call this the Curse of the Road Race. Suffered bad luck last year with missing the break and cramping issues, and this year, 15km into the race, a crack in the road attacked my front tire and flat! A slow wheel car plus some attacks and an acceleration in the pack made my chase to get back on futile. I gave it my all, and still finished the 70km race with a few dropped riders 6 minutes back from the pack.


Focused before the road race start :)

Squad

Okay, I let that go and powered on to the next race: The Time Trial. Time Trials have never been my strong suit, and always something I’ve needed to dedicate a lot of time to. Before the race, I found roads out West similar to the course and did lots of training and simulations to prepare myself. I was warmed up and ready to prove to myself that I could do it. However, as it can happen in a race, other girls were stronger and I ended up 5th place. Now I know that’s still awesome, but as I am always shooting for that top step and have consistently high expectations for myself, it wasn’t good enough.



Pre-riding the TT with the TaG crew

Lucky me got to follow up the time trial by doing my French Provincial Exam at a school in Quebec... in a storm... during a power outage. But hey, the WiFi still worked so I went in and crushed that exam which meant I had officially completed High School!


Mandatory last exam taken at a school in Quebec, in a thunder storm and power outage after the Time Trial but on the bright side, I'm done High School!

One more day in Quebec and probably the race I was most excited for... The Criterium! I was a giddy, bubble of excitement all day and was beyond ready to defend my 2016 Crit Champ title! Last year, Simone Boilard and I had attacked off the line, and rode the whole race in a break with it coming down to a two up sprint. This year, I went in with the same plan, but the pack wasn't about to be tricked like that again. Despite numerous attacking attempts by some strong girls, a break never stuck, until the end where it ended up being a group of 9 of us with about a 30 second gap for the sprint. With a shorter, steeper hill up to the line, I left my jump until the last 150 meters and defended my title! Congrats also to Kurt Penno who defended his 2016 Junior Men's Crit Champ title as well :)






Crit champ title: defended :)

Thank you to TaG Cycling Race Team for making this happen and for my dad (Barry Lyster) and Kelyn Akuna for keeping us in line! Also, shout out to InstaFund Financial, RAND, Haywood Securities, Brookfield, TRG Group Benefits, Adera Home, Ryders Eyewear, SCOTT Bikes, Obsession Bikes, BORN Sportscare, Power2Max, ISM Seats and CODE Sports for all the support!





-Maggie <3

Saturday, July 22, 2017

My Road Season 2017... where has the time gone?!

*So now with finally a bit of downtime, I'm going through some blog posts that I'd meant to finish, but for whatever reason grade 12 exams took priority*

May
3 weeks left of school... 1.5 weeks until Grad... 4 weeks until Road Nationals... AHHH. Where has the time gone?? It feels like just yesterday we had the first road race of the season. I'll try to avoid getting all nostalgic and sappy, so instead I'll do a short recount of the past 3 months.

The travel started in February, when my mom and I flew to LA to go grad dress shopping with my aunt and I also managed to squeeze in a a few training days at the LA Velodrome with ex-Canadian sprint coach, Travis Smith. With Nationals only a month away, it was great to get a few days of concentrated sprint work in!



A few weeks later, I hopped on a plane to Spain to join my European team, Lares-Waowdeals for a week training camp in the sun. I was really nervous going because I was flying to a new country to stay with people whom I'd never really met before! But besides some language barriers, I had an amazing time! The 5 other junior women on my team (3 from Belgium, 2 from the Netherlands) were so nice and set out on a mission to teach me Dutch (not an easy language to learn...). We got to stay in a fancy resort on the water with a bunch of other teams, had a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, soigneurs who gave us daily massages and experience incredible riding right from the door! Living the life of a pro, I really didn't want to come home from paradise...




However, the travel bug was kept to a minimum because 3 weeks later it was off to Milton, Ontario for Junior Track Nationals. There, I claimed 8 Gold Medals, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze. I also finally hit my long time goal of lapping the field in a Points Race- twice!



Photo credits: Michel Guillemette

Stoked on my achievements and ready for my next challenge, I jetted out immediately after racing ended to the Netherlands for the Nations Cup Junior Healthy Ageing Tour with Lares-Waowdeals. It was such an eye opening, learning experience. 120 girls started the 4 day stage race, and 70 finished. For me, this was a huge game of learning to hold position and move through a pack of that many riders. The last day, I flatted with 10km to go, chased back on, then crashed with 2km to go. However, I still finished the race and ended up 55th.




Had some more local and USA elite stage races, where I was on the podium in every single criterium and road race, with the highlight being winning Elite Provincial Road Championships! My road form has felt better than ever this year, and I'm excited to see what I can do next!





Maggie :)