Canada Summer Games
The year following the Olympics, whether summer or winter, Canada Games take place. Canada Games brings together thousands of young athletes from each province and territory to see who can take home the coveted Canada Games flag. This year Canada Summer Games (CSG) were in Sherbrooke, Quebec and took place over two weeks in mid-August. The first week had events such as mountain biking, sailing and baseball and the second week had fencing, athletics and road cycling. I won the automatic selection race (Ontario Cup, Lake of Bays) for CSG and was joined by an awesome team of Annie Forman-Mackey, Sarah Rassmussen, Saskia Kowlchuk and honourary Wheelers member Steph Bester.
We all bused down on August 10th and had to take on the big shoes of the mountain bikers the week before, who podiumed in every event. On the Sunday we all checked out the time trial course. The 15km course started on a fast descent and was fairly flat, the whole way out, which I much appreciated. The biggest factors would be the head wind on the way back and the gradual climb back to the finish. Race day was Monday. I started late in the field and my goals were to make sure I didn’t go too hard for the way out and to spin. I achieved both those and had a great race. I was steady on the way out and pushed with all I had on the way back. I crossed the line in third, which was super exciting, but I knew with some major power houses still to come I wasn’t staying there long. I ended up seventh, which I am super happy with, as it was only my second time trial of the year and I set a new best time. Annie killed the TT winning, by one second over noted time trialest Alizee Brian and Saskia, former junior national TT champ, brought us a third and Steph finished top ten as well with a ninth place. On the men’s side, it was the same story. Ottawa local Matteo Dal-Cin came home with a gold and Jordan Cheyne finished third.
The following day was rest/training day to check out the road course. This course, seven laps of 12km, was a mean one, with four fairly steep climbs and a windy, flat section bringing us home and we knew Quebec was going to be hungry for the win. Wednesday was race day with the women racing at 10am and the threat of rain looming as we started. The team was working for Annie and boy did I work. I rode on the front of the group for probably half the race and when I wasn’t I was chasing back on from being dropped on the climbs, just to go to the front again. It was really cool to work as a team, where I relayed messages from the car to the rest of the girls, worked my ass off to bring down the gap and make sure Annie was well fueled. Quebec’s Alizee Brien wanted to make a point, time trialing for 60km after getting away a lap and a half into the race and winning. Sadly, Quebec swept the podium with second being won by another gap and third coming down to a sprint, which Annie just missed, placing fourth. I was happy with my race, racing harder than I ever had in my life, the result (16th) doesn’t really reflect that, but I worked selflessly for my team mates learning a lot in the process and that I can be proud of.
Thursday and Friday were set aside for rest and checking out the crit course, as well as some of the other events occurring at the Games. The crit was definitely what I had been looking forward to the most. This crit was 25 laps of a 1.8 km loop and used the track style points race system with sprints every five laps and double points on the third and last sprint. Race morning we rode over to the course and the whole team was excited to really ride as a team (hoping to make up for Wednesday) and coach extraordinaire Jenny Trew had given us all our roles. My role was to be the sprinter and to stay off the front. The race started at a fairly easy pace and soon the first sprint was coming. I made sure to watch the Quebec riders and not sprint too early. I came across (what I and many others thought was first), but was placed second, earning 3points. The Ontario team was doing a good job countering any attacks and bringing them back. After the second sprint, Annie counter attacked and after a while was in a break with a B.C. and a Quebec rider. The main group slowed down a bit after that. I managed to get points in every sprint, except the second, and sat third for most of the race. I ended up in fifth place, two points from the podium. It was a bittersweet race for me being so close to the podium, but overall I am very happy with my race, having raced very smart and helping to put a teammate on top of the podium. The girls came together so well for this race and we really worked well as a team which was another victory in itself, showing Quebec it wasn’t going to be an easy race.
The Games was an awesome experience and I am so thankful to have been a part of it. All the coaches and staff made the event what it was and the volunteers kept it working like clockwork, so shout out to them for sure.
Next up ITT Championships!