My last blog post ended with me sitting in the small air bnb in beautiful Gent, Belgium, just days out of competition. By the end of that week, I had resurrected my jump and bunch racing legs and was race ready!
The first day of the Belgian International TrackMeeting consisted of a Points Race, where I rode a safe race, but needed to have more confidence in my abilities and trust that I had great form to do better than the 9th place I ended up with.
That night we put together a last minute Madison pairing of Chiara Consonni (ITA) and I and we dove right into the race with our first ever exchange being on lap 2. Probably one of the sketchiest Madisons I've ever done but we got through it, not missing an exchange and finishing on the same lap as the main bunch after hanging onto the wheels of Madison 2017 World Champions Jolien D'Hoore and Lotte Kopecky (BEL).
|Chiara Consonni and I taking on the Madison :)|
The following day brought with it the Omnium and over 30 women signed up so therefore two qualifying heats beforehand. A hard battle, but every race I increasingly felt better and better. I went into the final Points Race sitting in 9th place, played my usual game of going for early points then took a lap with two other riders! Probably the longest take-a-lap in history, but I finished the Omnium in 4th overall! I am very proud of how I rode and the success I found in my second ever new-format Omnium and first ever elite women's UCI Omnium.
Had a couple of days to explore more of Gent and take my dad for a ride out to the Flanders region where I lived last year and up some of the famous Tour of Flanders cobbled climbs. He would like to note that he took on Paterberg "Boonen-like"! :')
|Climbing Paterberg (famous Belgian cobbled climb) with my dad :)|
Another day, another flight and this time to Denmark for the Copenhagen Six Day! This was the second Scandinavian country I have been to and it is hard not to fall in love with these places! Athletic, healthy lifestyles, some of the nicest people you'll ever meet and awesome (expensive!) coffee and pastries; what more could you ask for :D
I raced the Copenhagen Six Day (actually only 3 days for the women) VRS Women's Cup flying the TaG Cycling Race Team colours and partnered with fellow Canadian Allison Beveridge. 9 races over the 3 days, and it was a battle between us and the other Canadian team (Jasmin Duehring and Steph Roorda) for the overall win. Now I had seen videos of these Six Day races beforehand, but actually being there and experiencing the party atmosphere- crazy music, disco lights, big, electrifying crowds, midnight races- was unlike anything I had ever imagined!
|Warming up for a 12:20am race in a Velodrome full of music and disco lights!|
It came down to the final 12 lap Scratch Race, us tied with the other Canadians for 1st and the pressure on to cross the line first! The last thing I remember is seeing 2 laps to go on the lap board, and following the rush of riders over the top. The rest has been filled in for me since, but with under 1 lap to go, I mysteriously crashed and was hit by the rider behind me and knocked unconscious. I was out for about 3-5 minutes, and worked on for another 40 minutes at trackside by the amazing medical team. I remember bits and pieces, like opening my eyes and seeing my dad and soigneur standing over me and me having no idea how I ended up on the ground, unable to move. Then correctly answering questions in the ambulance, then more of nothing, then making my nurse poke my nose ring back through my nose so the hole wouldn't close and infect haha! I suffered 3 breaks, air bubbles and internal bleeding in my cheek, some fractured ribs, a pneumothorax (small tear in my lung), a slightly collapsed lung, possibly a mild to severe concussion and a bunch of road rash. Because of my lung, they told me I wouldn't be able to fly home for 2 weeks to a month. Soo I spent the next 9 days sleeping around 15 hours a day, then exploring Copenhagen with my dad; not the worst country to be stuck in! On February 12th, my 19th birthday, I went back for x-rays and got the birthday present of being cleared to fly home!
Since being home, recovery has gone remarkably fast! I was cleared for a concussion last week and now slowly starting to train again, just a little sore in my broken face and ribs. In two weeks, I go to California for a road block, and in 3 weeks I have my first road race of the year, Chico Stage Race. I think I can partly attribute my fast recovery to my positive attitude; those who know me will know I'm usually a pretty positive, happy person but I have even surprised myself with just how positive and content I have been. Probably watching other top athletes come back from injury even stronger and knowing that this was only a very small setback in my exciting year to come, helped me stay in that frame of mind. Oh, and hey even with the crash we still won the overall Six Day! (my first question after regaining consciousness :).
|Milkshake=happiness=recover faster, right?!|
I would just like to say a HUGE thank you to all of the INCREDIBLE track and hospital medical staff for taking such great care of me as well as the race organizers for an awesome event and support! Also thank you so much to everyone who supported my track block in Europe, especially TaG Cycling Race Team, my team Macogep-Argon18-Girondins p/b Mazda, Cycling Canada, Vision Wheels, FSA, Ryders Eyewear, theblackline, Born Sportscare and ISM Seat. Lastly, I can't even express how grateful I am for all of the love and support I have received from friends and family not only while I was racing, but especially after my crash and in my search to replace my broken bike! Onwards and upwards :)
|The amazing trackside medical team :)|
|And track doctor :) Thank you so much for everything!|