Since my last post I have done quite a bit; I have had some of my best races of the season and I have had a lot of fun. The last post was early in the first week of Canada Games right after the first race of the first week. As you know I raced both mountain and road at CG so that was my first race of many. Later the next week I was able to reach my goal of a Canada Games medal with a silver medal performance in the eliminator.
I know it is very late to be writing this post but I wanted to write about the final part of the season, how it all came together along with my experience at Games. I could honestly write a hundred pages on my preparation for Canada Games, but I would rather write about my experience at games.
In brief, it was four years of preparation that got me to the podium in Sherbrooke. Since 2009, when I got to experience racing in the lead group in the mountain bike race in PEI, I wanted to perform at Canada Games and bring home a medal. Four years of hard work on the road, on the trainer, in the bush, on the mat, and in the gym prepared me physically for Games. Four years of racing, gaining experience and learning from each race prepared me mentally for Games. It all came together so that I was in my best possible physical form and mental shape of my life to perform at Games. The best thing about all this is that this is what I love to do and I had a lot of fun over those four years preparing for Games. Furthermore, I had an incredible third and final Canada Games experience and one that I will remember for the rest of my life.
The best thing about Games for me was being coached by Andrew Feenstra. He was my personal coach since the beginning and he has always been there to support me. Until this year he continued to be my personal coach but I have now started to work with another coach to help me move to the next level. That being said, Andrew will always be a mentor for me and a huge influence in my cycling. At Games I received top notch support from him with coaching, feeds, drives and mostly just someone to talk to over the two weeks of intense competition. The picture below says all that needs to be said about our relationship. We both worked really hard for that medal and it was a very special day for both of us.
Another highlight of my Games experience was being a leader on the team and helping out the younger athletes. At our final Canada Games training camp, in Wentworth, I got to ride with the entire mountain bike team. (Something I really didn’t get to do up until that point with my racing schedule) At that camp I saw some outstanding riding and was thoroughly stoked to go to Games with these athletes and confident they would impress. They did nothing less and showed that Nova Scotia has talented athletes and that they can perform on demand. Odette Comeau and Mackenzie Myatt impressed the whole country with their performances. During the races the announcer would frequently remind the spectators of the fact that Odette and Mackenzie were five years younger than some of the girls. They both managed top ten finishes in the Cross Country, and forth place in the Team Relay. These two girls, along with all the other young talented women in Nova Scotia will make their presence known by standing on multiple podiums in Winnipeg in 2017.
The men on the team certainly performed above the expectations that were put on them. Tyler and Brandon rose to the occasion and put their everything into every race. In the team relay we were just 10 seconds off a medal and that was only possible by the commitment they showed in their performance. That race was initially a disappointment; we were so close to a medal. However, we put everything into our laps and we finished where we finished. Cycling is not an easy sport and it rarely works out the way you want it to. Our performances in the eliminator showed that, as a team, we were all able to reflect, learn and move on from that race and on to the next one. In the eliminator we qualified second, forth and sixth; by far the highest ranked and most consistent province in the country. Our racing in the heats brought us to the final with two riders, myself and Brandon. That was huge, two riders from Nova Scotia in the six man final of the eliminator at Canada Games. I kept my focus and finally brought home the medal I had worked so hard for, crossing the finish line in second place. I should also add that I was second to our newly crowned Eliminator National Champion, so I had no problem with that.
That first week of Games was all about “on to the next one”, just like the song by Jay-Z. With three races in five days you had to quickly refocus after each race and get ready for the next one. When I finally reached my goal of a medal in the final race I really got to relax and enjoy it.
Shortly after the finish of that race Norco Factory Team athletes were loaded up and we headed to Mont-Sainte-Anne to race the World cup in just three days. At this event I did not have my best race of the season but I raced hard until the end and had a lot of fun. It was great being with the team at such an incredible venue that we get to experience every year. This would be the last time of the year the entire team would be together and we took advantage of that with some good team rides.
The next week, after the World Cup in MSA I would travel back to Sherbrooke to see how my form transferred over to the road. I’ll write another post about that shortly to fill you in on how my transition from mountain to road unfolded.
I would also like to thank everyone else that was involved in making Team Nova Scotia’s outstanding performances at Games possible. Kaarin Tae was incredible that week with outstanding support. All the family, and friends that we’re cheering the whole team on both in person and from home, thanks. Thanks to all my sponsors Norco, Shimano, Kenda, Rockshox, Oakley, Cyclesmith and CSCA for the support. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for their relentless and complete support in my racing.