jersey season: the period in early November during which jerseys are awarded to Canadian and Pan American Champions, similar to playoff season in mainstream ball sports, typically cold and sometimes snowy
I had a great race on Saturday.
It was the Canadian Cyclocross National Championships and, like last year, I was second – but it was a different battle.
38s after the race was won, I joined Maghalie Rochette in the finish area. We had a good hug, congratulated each other, and shared laughs about the dramatic weather. We also thanked each other for the battle, which was a big moment for me. Magh is literally one of the best cyclocross racers in the world, so to throw down a hard, honest race was as much as I could’ve hoped for. I have so much respect for what she is doing as a ‘cross racer; the commitment and caliber she brings to the races inspires me to want to do the same. It was a great race.
I wanted to win so bad, and even as the gap steadily started opening up in the second half of the race I kept fighting and believing it was possible. Amidst what may look like complete chaos, cyclocross requires composure. Maghalie was clearly stronger than me on the flat pedalling sections, but I was pushing harder and making time on the hillier and technical parts of the course. That push turned to problems as the race wore on, and little tired mistakes saw the race go away from me as Maghalie turned out laps like a metronome. Despite the minor late-race mistakes, I’m really encouraged by how I was riding – just need to keep ironing out those little wrinkles, find some more watts, and hopefully next year it’ll be a race right to the line.
It’s always been hard for me to have goals that are meaningful, but over the past year or so, I’ve decided I really want to be National Champion… And after both mountain bike and cyclocross nationals this year, I think it’s within reach; they’re still long shots, but I’m getting closer so I’ll keep taking them.
Anyway, I’m struggling to write everything I want to say about Nationals – how I felt in the lead up, the race itself, the small moments around the event that make it truly special and memorable, and how I reflect on it all. It’s all complicated. I’m proud of the fight I brought to the race, and how I showed up with my best on a day it really mattered. I’m grateful to have Andrew as a coach to help me to and through it all, for the support and camaraderie of my team and teammates, and my family and friends who I can share this with.
So what’s up next? Well, the Pan American Championships are this coming weekend in Midland. I invested more motivation and energy into Nationals than anything else this season, so I make no guarantees on performance at PanAms, but I promise I’ll do my best with everything I have left. Bring extra when it matters, that’s also a goal.