There’s a first time for everything. And with my first summer not being spent preparing for a winter of skiing, there’s been a lot of firsts on the bike for me. First year racing bikes, first bike, first Nationals, first National title… basically a lot of new to take in.
Mountain bike Nationals were in Canmore this past weekend. Finding myself up in the dusty stadium at the Nordic Centre just four months after I’d been in the exact same place on snow at Ski Nationals was weird. It almost made me uneasy, but it was also sort of poetic – wrapping up my ski career and then getting started on what may become a cycling career in the same place, just months apart… At the very least, it’s a neat life-fact to have won U23 National titles in two sports, in the same place, in the same year.
Anyway… I’m psyched to be National Champion. This is my first and only season to race as an Under 23, so I knew this would be my only shot at the title. I didn’t have any sort of expectation or goal of winning, but in my mind had an itch that it was a real possibility as long as I did my best race. And then things came together…
I tried writing a race recap, but it didn’t really ring through well enough, so I’m just going to pin up some pictures and give a couple quick thank you’s and apologies.
Thanks boss-man Morgan Lemen at Bikeland for getting me started riding last summer and giving me the time off to race at Nationals and the Canada Games. Sorry for abandoning the shop in the middle of summer, and sorry that I’m probably better at racing bikes than fixing or selling them.
Thanks coach-dude Andrew Watson for helping me find my riding legs and fitness, develop good technical skills and habits, and fill in my racing knowledge and experience gaps. Sorry for being mellow dramatic about most things, and sorry for not really being or training like a complete cyclist (yet?).
Thanks to the Cathedral Pines Cycling Centre and the AWI Racing crew for all the great rides. Sorry I sometimes miss opportunities to ride with you because I train at weird hours of the day.
Thank you to the greater Simcoe County / Oro Medonte / Barrie cycling community, in particular the mountain bike niche at Hardwood Ski and Bike, for providing a great network and environment to ride. Sorry, I couldn’t word this more eloquently.
Thanks Mom and Dad for room and board this summer, and for allowing me this period of “personal growth”. Sorry I haven’t been home this week to help skim pine needles out of the pool.
And thank you for reading and taking an interest in what I’m doing. Sorry for not delving into the actual race at Nationals as you may have been more interested in hearing about. Feedback and advice on how to make content more interesting is always appreciated.
Up next – just hanging out in Canmore until I fly to Winnipeg on Thursday evening to kick off the Canada Summer Games with Team Ontario. Competition dates are Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday – with XCO, relay, and XCE events. Then, to continue with the whirlwind of racing, I’ll fly to Quebec City then head up to Mont Sainte Anne for the World Cup on Sunday August 6th. I am admittedly very nervous. Probably more nervous about the circumstances under which I’ll be heading into the World Cup than the race itself (which on the nerve scale, is still quite high). Things are escalating very quickly… as with anything though, all I can hope for is that I can carry momentum and enjoy the ride.