I have been pretty neglectful of my blog lately... so here will be my attempt to do a short recap of my year since my last blog after my crash in Copenhagen. For those of you who have read my other blogs you'll notice I'm not great at condensing content so this will be today's challenge to not write a novel (also to not use a million exclamation points... that one might be a bit far fetched)!
So the last chapter ended with me in the recovery process from my broken face and prepping for my first block of road racing in California. All in all, Chico and San Dimas Stage Races went much better than I would of guessed, especially considering my February endurance block kind of fell off the track (no pun intended). Following California, I hopped on a plane back to Quebec to meet my new Macogep-Argon18-Girondins p/p Mazda teammates. Do the whole team photoshoot, sponsor dinner, become instant friends and some serious bonding on a 26hr drive down to Arkansas for the Joe Martin Stage Race. A neat part of this team is that most of my teammates and staff were all francophones and, as I had graduated from High School last year bilingual in French and English, this was such a good opportunity to brush up on my french even more (apparently my french is "charming"... hmmm haha).
|New team, forever friends <3|
Anyways, 2 days before the Joe Martin Stage Race started, I had a bad crash in training. Destroyed my helmet, briefly lost consciousness, some road rash and unfortunately started showing signs of a minor concussion :( I started the road race for the team but had made the choice to pull out after the neutral (one of the hardest things I've ever done!) and not push my health this early in the season. Another week of rest, ice cream, chilling in the Oxynova tube (an oxygen style tent) and cheering my teammates on until I was home and cleared for a concussion by my doctor. Back to the grind!
|Back to post-crash recovery...|
Then I was on the road again! California for Redlands Stage Race (guest riding with TaG), 2 weeks in France with Macogep (including 2 muddy, gravely, hard, EPIC! UCI races). Finally it was time for me to get back on the track. After France, I parted ways with my teammates and boarded a plane to Russia. Unfortunately there were crazy storms, delayed flights, and I missed my connecting flight through Paris. Spent most of the night in the airport, slept for 2hrs in a sketchy hotel, and caught my flight to Moscow the next morning (a day before the GP of Moscow UCI C1 track race was supposed to start). None of my luggage nor my bike made it to Moscow. Frustrated, exhausted and overwhelmed from searching for my ride among crazy (potentially not legit) taxi drivers, I finally found the race shuttle and ended up falling asleep on the way to the track (oops... probably not the wisest thing I've done).
|Redlands... ouch, ouch, ouch then a crit!!! (still ouch, but more fun ;)|
|France!! Fondo-style ride for the sponsors :)|
Anyways, I made it to the hotel and there was my dad waiting for me with my track bikes, track shoes and an extra skinsuit I'd sent with him... I may or may not have broken down in tears. The racing progressively got better as I worked through some mental stuff, got used to my brand new Naked Bike "Elle Piranha", raced in huge fields of 35 riders on the 333m speedy Moscow track, and got to rock a Lithuanian skinsuit in the Madison with Olivija Baleisyte! Oh, I also lost my brand new phone (luckily found by a police officer), never got my missing road bike from my flight (finally found and sent home 2 weeks later) and made some amazing Belgian and Danish friends who lent me rollers and their helmets (forever grateful, you guys rock! <3). A 4 day crazy adventure in beautiful Moscow, then it was on to the next one!
|Where's Waldo ;) First track race back... check out the number of riders in this Elimination!|
|This expression sums up pretty well how the week went :')|
|Throwback to that time in Russia when I got to be Lithuanian with Olivija Baleisyte :D|
The first weekend of UCI racing at the track in magical little T-Town, Pennsylvania was next on the menu (hands down coming back for the whole month of June next year!). I crushed a 4th place finish in the women's C1 Omnium, then got to go home for a 10 day prep for Road Nationals with the added benefit of enjoying the sun (yes, we do get sun in #Raincouver), family and friends. A nice little reset before another intense block of racing.
|A little break at home to see family, friends, and of course the most important one of all- Elmo!!|
Road Nationals in Quebec gave me a solid confidence boost of my form. I finished 5th in U23 in the road race and worked my butt off in the crit (side note- I LOVE crits!!) but heartbreakingly was lapped by the solo breakaway with under 2 laps to go (there were only 11 of us left in the race at that point out of 54 starters!).
|Crit fun... so close, yet so far!|
Back to T-Town for the last UCI race of the month! And in my 2018 fashion, I finished with yet another 4th place in the Omnium (grrr!!) but to make it all better, won the first ever Women's Madison Cup holding hands with the Amazing Colleen Gulick! Honoured to be the first women's names on the trophy and as always, thank you T-Town for another great time!
|Some Madison Flying lap fun with Colleen Gulick|
|Winners, winners, chicken dinners ;)|
Almost caught up... BC Superweek time and some of my top results to date (not to mention a solid payweek!). Restored my #PrimeQueen status with winning the crowd prime at Ladner, 5th in the historic Global Relay Gastown GrandPrix (unfortunately got stuck in an elevator with 18 people for an hour on my way to get the prize money afterwards... was probably sweatier than during the race!). Then came my podium streak- 2nd at the Giro di Burnaby, 3rd at PoCo GP and 3rd at Tour de White Rock (hardest I've pushed myself to date- gloriously came across the line, puked all over myself and my bike then had to go straight to the podium. Definitely one of my finer moments ;).
|"BC Superweek... one of my favourite race weeks EVER!!"|
|Some podium fun :D|
Surprise! A quick last minute trip to Italy with Laurie Jussaume and my dad as coach/soigneur/mechanic for 6 days, 4 of them being track race days. Of course, got my classic 4th place in the Points Race, barely made the start of the Omnium (they changed the time without telling anyone) and fought jetlag with the help of the fantastic Italian espresso. And thank gosh I had Laurie with me, practically fluent in every language, always knows what people are saying ;)
|Another adventure with "Elle Piranha"|
|How could I ever travel the world without this one <3 (Laurie)|
|Hard, fast Italian track racing|
Last paragraph, I promise! Home for a whole week just in time to join my family and friends for an "active rest week" on Hornby Island which included, but was not limited to: extended beach time, mountain biking, pizza, camping and intense rounds of Speed. A day at home to re-pack my bags, then the next 3 weeks spent living it up (so mostly riding and sleeping ;)) in Milton, Ontario at track camp with my Team Pursuit squad, prepping for Pan Am Track Champs in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
|Rest week done right|
|A... mountain bike??|
|TP Squad <3|
Ok, I lied. One more paragraph... I fell in love with Aguascalientes! My first time in Mexico and the historic town, tacos, people and ultra fast track did not disappoint! We came away with a bronze medal in the TP after executing a flawless second ride (#beautifulMyLaps) and I got... wait for it... ANOTHER 4th in the Points Race! -_- I also got to channel my inner sprinter in the 500m TT. And do this all while fighting a flu keeping me up with fevers most of the night! Fun times.
We're all caught up! I am home right now, training for Track Nationals taking place in Milton next week and focusing on some self/mental care. I've started working with a psychologist to help some left over trauma from my Copenhagen crash and also re-visiting my school courses. Balancing school, recovery, and racing this year (along with travelling with 50lbs of textbooks) just wasn't working for me and causing unnecessary stress. I have withdrawn from my online Calculus and Physics courses and will re-visit school again in the future. In the meantime, as something that will (literally!) bring more balance into my life and help me at home and on the road, I am planing on starting my Yoga Teacher Training in the New Year! I have realised this is all a process, I need to prioritise and more than ever, want to dedicate everything to being the best bike racer I can be!
|Finding balance :)|
That's it for now- thanks for reading (or just looking at the pictures ;) if you made it this far! Much love to everyone who has supported me this year to make it an unforgettable one so far- thank you Macogep-Argon18-Girondins p/p Mazda, TaG Cycling Race Team, Naked Bicycles, Vision, FSA, ISM, Specialized Canada, Polar, Ryders Eyewear, Astra Athletica, PacficSport Fraser Valley, Cycling Canada, Global Relay Bridge the Gap, Power2Max, Born Sportscare, theblackline.ca and of course my incredibly supportive family, dad/coach and friends, both new and old! <3