Strike three – Mont Sainte Anne

My summer of riding came to a rather abrupt end last week. Things were going well – I’d swung into some good form, got a couple good races under by belt, and was starting to get into a rhythm in Mont Sainte-Anne, but then just acted on the wrong reflex and slip-tip-down I went. Knee split wide open and, as I would later find out, kneecap broken.

Fortunately, it is a simple fracture of my patella, and the recovery will be straightforward – just wait it out. Unfortunately, the recovery time goes through and past the World Championships at the start of September. It’s disappointing, to be sure, but I am also relieved that I’m not overly upset or hung up on missing the opportunity to race at Worlds. Maybe it was easier to sigh and shrug off because I hadn’t thought much about it yet; I was still taking things one day at a time, and the MSA World Cup was a big step between me and Australia. Maybe a little too big, maybe a little bit more of a stretch than I was really ready for. But maybe not, it’s hard to say… I weirdly felt far more comfortable and “in the mix” than I ever did racing at World Champs for skiing, less outclassed. I think it’s because I just don’t put as much pressure on myself with cycling as I did with skiing, which is probably the best thing I’ve been able to do for myself as an athlete, ever.

But lets back up a bit though, to part 2 of the recent racing campaign… Canada Games…

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Levi, Sean and Taschi giving some good skier cheers, and working the photo angles

So in the relay, Dana, Soren and I locked down another silver medal for Ontario! Relay’s are the best, sharing success is the best. I took the first leg and went for bust to try and give us an early lead. Another good day on the bike for me, and a little more reassurance that I was actually at a level and in the kind of form where I could show up and race pretty fast on any given day. Knowing, or at least believing this helps take the nerves off. I do still get pretty nervous sometimes though, mostly about what is actually ahead of me in a race – the jostling with other racers and the course itself, but not about results, not about what a certain placing might bring me. No expectations and no strings attached – race fast, no questions asked.

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Relay podium – only about 1/3 as awkward as the individual podiums, so much more manageable…

The eliminator was a new experience for me, similar to a sprint day skiing, but with a few of it’s own unique quirks. I was feeling sort of bagged, to be honest, the 2:20 race was really short and not exactly my cup of tea. Since everyone would move through from qualification to heats, I just rolled my time trial to save some matches, then worked through heats through to the final and did everything I could to get through for a third place finish. All in all, a pretty amazing week in Winnipeg, a lot of memories for the scrapbooks…

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Cheesin ’cause I still couldn’t believe it

And then the World Cup… A quick turnaround after the eliminator, I was on a plane red-eye’ing it to Quebec. Three laps of pre-riding, then right into my third consecutive big race weekend. Three’s. I would have loved to leave Mont Sainte-Anne saying that good things happen in threes, but instead I have to go with “three strikes, you’re out”.

Things were going well. I started from the back row (albeit only the third), crossed my fingers, and committed to just launching it up the inside of the first corner – which paid off, I was up around the top eight or ten riders as we lined out. Through the latter part of the first lap I let off a bit to try to find a rhythm, and as we were getting into the serious stuff on lap two I was starting to feel like I was settling in and getting comfortable. But then yah… slippery rocks and the wrong panic reflex. Rolling down the bottom of the Beatrice, my front tire started to slide on the still-slick rocks from the overnight rain and I just grabbed brake. I really should have been going a bit faster to begin with, just roll through it before I slide off it. Rookie mistakes, I can still claim that, right?…

And that was it. That’s how my summer of racing ended. Crashes happen. It’s just a bit of a drag that it happened in a big race and that it ended my season. I would’ve loved to see if I could have kept riding through for a top 12 finish, I think it was in cards, but hey – a big part of this bike racing thing is keeping it between the ditches.

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Well I probably won’t have much in the way of news, blogs, or compelling thoughts for the next while. Just trying to get used to doing nothing, making shoulder gains as I crutch around at work, and recede to the mean of physical fitness while my knee mends. Pretty bummed to be out of commission for CX season, I was really looking forward to dappling in it. But hey, maybe this injury is just a way of making sure I have to come back and try again next year…

2 thoughts on “Strike three – Mont Sainte Anne

  1. So sorry to hear about your injury, Jenn. Bummer. Get well soon and/or be a patient patient. ☺ Enjoy swimming, maybe?

    PS – nice work in writing this blog post. I like your style and (besides conveying bad news) enjoyed reading it! Keep it coming. Writing lots shouldn’t bother your cracked cap…

  2. Heal well Jenn! We all continue to root for you in Winnipeg especially your cross country skI cheering crew!

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