Monday, August 15, 2016

When things come together


The last World cup felt good.  Winning always feels good of course, but it’s more than that, it’s executing what you set out to accomplish.  I sat out nationals to focus on prepping for Rio and had a solid training block that for the first time this season had me confident that I was going to a World Cup healthy and capable of winning.
 
After a fantastic ride at the La Bresse World Cup where I finished 2nd after being 1min 40 back mid-race due to problems at the start, I made starts a focus of mine.  Starts have always been my Achilles heel and as such the focus of a lot of training attention.  Having developed a bone infection before Albstadt in my broken thumb (surgical pinning got infected) I was encouraged to train road-only until the eroded bone had strengthened.  This led to a change in how I was going to improve my starts.  I was going to try to do it with mental rehearsal.

What blew me away the most was that I literally could not see myself starting fast.  I couldn’t feel how my body was supposed to move.  What it would look like to generate that speed and power quickly.  No wonder I always went backwards off the line!  It took some time, isolating what it would look like, feel like, sound like to start fast in a pack, to hold wheels, find holes to move through.  I felt good in training but it wasn’t until I got to Czech for the world Champs that I got to see if I had actually made gains.  It was exciting to start strong and in contact with the leaders there, to improve on that in Lenzerheide grabbing 2nd wheel into the first singletrack and then to take the hole shot in MSA and feel good! For me starting well will take continuous work to stay on top of, but its very cool to have found big progress in a skillset after years of racing.
  


Taking control of the race early in Sainte Anne allowed me to ride off the front and focus on just riding well consistently.  I have been racing MSA since nationals in 2004 and every year it feels more and more like home.  I love all the families and volunteers that come out to cheer us on, excited as riders and as Canadians to see both Emily and I ride so well heading into the Olympic Games. 

Last Sunday I scored my 12th World Cup win, my 4th at MSA.  It felt amazing and was a good confidence boost headed in Rio.  The Olympics are an unique event.  It is definitely the most intense competitive experience you can imagine.  I know just how hard I will be challenged physically and mentally.  There are more women than ever before capable of winning a medal, but I am looking forward to the challenge and would love to see the Canadian flag rise once again.

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