Last weekend I was up in Victoria, BC for the start of the Canada Cup Series at Bear Mountain. Coming straight from a training camp with the Ontario Cycling Association, it was a perfect transition to get onto the mountain bike for the 2 weeks leading up to the race! I was lucky enough to train with Canada’s best! Through the team building exercises most mornings and our rides, I, and I think we all, learned and benefitted immensely.
The days leading into the race were super exciting as it would my first mountain bike race as a u23/Elite and for it being March, I was feeling pretty good on a mountain bike. Everything began to come together; the weather (despite the snow…), the Bear Mountain course, the technical skill, we had all of the Norco Factory Team together.
The Men’s Elite race was at 2:30pm, so I had most of the day to kill waking up at 7:30. Having a good breakfast, and spending most of the morning doing a bit of foam rolling and stretching to make my body feel a bit better prior to the race, I was ready to head down to the expo area to watch the start of the Women’s race.
Halfway through their race I started my warm up but was pleased to hear that my teammate Haley Smith pulled off a great 4th! And that amped me for our race! Starting with a bad call up (30th) since it was my first race in this category, I was able to move my way up around 15th before the first single track.
Trying to get closer to the front of the race and always moving forward, I found myself riding in a small group with Felix Burke, Peter Disera, and myself for the next couple of laps. On the 2nd last lap, I opened up a small gap from Felix and Peter due to a crash that ended up holding through the last lap. I remember Peter still close to me and yelling “Go catch the next guy! GO!”
The first race of the season doesn’t always go as planned, but for me I was happy with finishing in 8th place, and grabbing some valuable UCI points to start off the year in a good note!
Overall, the experience was awesome! Thanks to Cycling Canada and the National Team, as well as the Norco Factory Team and all of our team sponsors that made this early season race work flawlessly!
Now, I am back down in Oxnard, California training for the month of March. Lucky me is living with a great group of cyclists right by the ocean and crushing out some miles! Coming up in the next couple months, I will be racing Joe Martin in the beginning of April with H&R Block Pro Cycling, the US Cups: Bonelli and Sea Otter with the Norco Factory Team, with a small training camp in between those up in Santa Cruz, and finally ending with Redlands Stage Race in the beginning of May. Been a bit on the road already and more coming, but good groups of people make it easy for sure! Missing all the family and friends back home!