This year, World Championships were held in Cairns, Australia. After being selected for team Canada to represent (which is always a massive honour!) I sealed the deal with a flight booking of over 36 hours… Luckily 6 of that was a layover in Sydney and Peter and I went downtown to Circular Quay!
Once in Cairns, we met up with Team Canada for the next 2 weeks! Little bit of fast forwarding or else this thing would get wayyyy too long… We rode a day in Atherton at the Tablelands as our first mtb ride Down Under. This place was unreal and the riding was soo fun! Definitely super hard to get used to how dry the conditions were, but we needed to adapt quick for the race! For the first couple of days, it went as this… Wake up, ride a bit, get watermelon, eat half, go to the beach, get wrecked by a couple waves, walk back to have more watermelon, and then do it all again the next day! That was a good, relaxed style! But racing on its way, we needed to tighten it up.
In the Smithfield MTB trails, the World Championship track weaved its way all the way up the hill, all the way back down and then all around in the bottom flat track! This was hard due to the very long climb that was all singletrack, and then the downhill right after it which had a couple technical features (Rodeo Drop, Crocs Teeth, Croc Slide, Jacobs Ladder, and The Caterpillar). Getting stuck in traffic or someone you didn’t want to be behind could be the possible scenario… But after a day on track, I was feeling confident on the course and also felt confident in my fitness and with my ability to start as the start was so crucial for this course, #25 seemed pretty good.
At the end of a long season, the one goal is to have a good day at Worlds and that’s what I was gunning for! After a good start I found myself heading out after the 3min super fast, tight and twisty start loop with the lead group which I was stoked about! Kinda worried if I was going a bit too hard, but before the race I planned to seize every moment and go with it! All the eggs into the basket! My race was going great! Definitely super hard with the group that I was in but I wanted to be there. Midway through, I found myself in the group of 6th to 12th! To be honest, I learnt this after the race as i didn’t look up once at the timing board… But slowly, the heat and pace of the race started to catch up to me and in the last 2 laps on the climb I began to cramp up and lost touch with that group. I kept pushing, knowing that once I got to the top I would have a downhill and stop cramping. And that’s what happened… until the climb again. Last lap, I’m pushing as hard as my body can take, cramping come back, a group of 9 are hot on me, but its a singletrack and I try to fend off as many positions as I can, knowing the downhill is close! One rider tried to get around me but we tangled up and went over the bars at the top of the climb (he was livid) but I beat him in the sprint at the end so he was even more pissed… ahaha. Anyways, I was in that group at the bottom and it came to a sprint. I sprinted in, not beating everyone in that sprint, but I came away with a 17th at my first U23 World Championships! Something I can say I am totally proud of!
Canada had some amazing stellar ride that weekend too! Holden Jones secured a bronze medal in his first World Championships!!! Miranda Miller is now WORLD CHAMP for Elite Womens DH!!!!! As well as so many personal bests and so much more! I love this team! Thanks to all of Team Canada, the Staff and coaches, my parents for making the trek out too, Norco Factory Team and all of our sponsors for allowing me the best possible set up for race day, Snow Valley for believing in my brother and I and their support this season, my coach Adam Morka; countless hours have been put into me by this guy who I can trust with any process, question, strategy, or training, and the UCI, course designers, marshals, and volunteers! Thank you all so much!
Thanks for all the support from everyone this season! Now it’s time for cookies, ice cream, some much needed rest and a start to a new chapter as I head to McMaster University to start my study of Kinesiology!