The flight back was long, and once again I was running from immigration to customs to security, and had just enough time to make it to my gate as they called my name on the intercom system. I was looking forwards to getting back to Winnipeg. The familiarities with being home can never be beat, no matter where I am in the world. With this great opportunity competing with the Canadian National Team for a month in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg was pretty amazing. I grew so much as a rider, and the experiences of the racing and the cycling environment over seas really opened up my eyes to what the sport really is. I now know just how much harder I have to train to be the best; How much more I have to focus on all aspects that will make me stronger. I know I am still young in the world of cycling, and I know how great things take time to accomplish, but with this motivation I have now to be stronger, I can really focus on improving. I learnt so much, and I really hope to be back in Europe racing soon.
After the long plane trip home, I was unlucky to find out that my spare frame, which I was racing at the time as my Trek frame had been broken prior to leaving for Europe by the airlines, was now also broken. Its very difficult flying with a bike box, and with paying almost 300$ to ship my bike back to Canada, I would only think that the airlines would treat it with utmost care. I guess they didn't however. I'm glad it wasn't a very big break, and I hope the airlines will be able to support me a little. It was nice to see my family, and Jon of course. The comfort of my home and home made cooking was so comforting.
I was however only home for one day. That day I frantically spent packing up my life to move out to British Columbia the next day. It was a terrible drive to calgary. Grass fields and driving into 70km/hr winds staring at hay bails isn't exactly what I call a senic drive. Once we moved on the following day past calgary, the drive got amazing! I had never driven Calgary to Vancouver without snow, and the sights were gorgeous! The mountains-snow, trees, rocks and driving through the Frazer Valley Canyon with trains lining all the rail way tracks was breath taking. I recommend that drive to anyone looking for something spectacular to see! Just outside of Kamloops however, the Blazer decided to get a little hot, and increase it's temperatures to the "maximum over-heating line". We were driving in the middle of nowhere, and the only option was to try and hop a barb-wire fence, fill up coolers and water bottles with water from a farmers sprinklers and try and cool the vehicle off. We accomplished cooling it off, but then parts with the transmission we starting to slip. We took it into the small, ghetto, town of Hope with no luck of finding a garage. We continued on and drove into Maple Ridge for the night.
The next day, we were headed off to Maple Ridge Race. I never raced, as I was still jet lagged, and with only one weekend from now until August 15th off, I figured it would be a good time to catch up for a while! It was pouring rain, but we were lucky to find a great car garage called Kellys. The lady there owned the shop, and they tried everything to fix up the blazer in time. They unfortunately couldn't fix the blazer in time, and the shop was closed Saturday. One of the men working was nice enough to come in Sunday morning to get it done so we could head off on our way to Whistler. It was a very expensive fix, but we were lucky enough we got it in when we did!
The rest of the drive up to Whistler on the Sea to Sky highway was gorgeous, once again! Just as amazing was our condo! Heated floors, place to store our bikes, ground level, huge amazing kitchen and everything looked brand new and renovated! Its a gorgeous condo, and the ski hill/chair lift is literally 300m away from our doorstep! Too bad we weren't here in the winter. I think I will get some skiing in on Wednesday over at Blackcomb however! Waist deep powder I hear!
The rest of the days we have spent looking for a job that will supply me with enough hours, training really hard and studying for my exams which are on Tuesday in Squamish! It has been really busy, but I love it out here....minus the cold rain sometimes! That will just make me tougher though!
Today was my first race in Canada for the year. First race with the new team, and my first race with BC hills. Ouch!! The race started off very very slow. I had heard from everyone around and the course description that this race was the toughest, most technical race in BC....that it was! There is about 1km of flats section just past the finish line. It is a 5.5km loop, and we completed 12 laps. Only 66km, but you know what, probably the longest and toughest 66km of climbing I have ever done! I can't wait to see at the end of the season how fit and strong I will be! After 1km of flat/rolling, there was a sharp right corner and it gradually started to climb. The climb got very steep, about 8% for about 600m. The course followed to a slight bump in the road of downhill, maybe 100m, and then climbed up. The was the toughest climb of the day. It must have been a solid 1km long, and steep. The steepest part went up to 18%, and was twisty, so you could never see the top...and when you did, it kept going further. It flattened out for about 400m and then we ascending again! This was another steep climb, maybe 9-11%. All of these climbs were too steep to sit down, but they were too long to stand up. My arms ached, and couldn't support my body halfway through, so I would stand up for 50m, sit down, stand up, sit down and try to turn over a huge gear.
After the third climb of that section, there was a wild, twisting descent where we hit some pretty fast speeds. It lead right to the bottom of the biggest, steepest climb. It was 18% again, but almost the entire 800m-1km section was that steep. This was the longest 66km of my life in a race. The first 4 laps I was feeling fantastic! I was off the front with a couple other girls every climb, and leading up most. As time went on, my endurance for climbing didn't support my legs. I was able to get up the climbs at the beginning as they were power climbs, and that is my strength.
I was slipping back on every climb for the rest of the day. We did a total of 4000 ft of climbing in our race today! It took just over 2.5 hours, and my legs have never felt so destroyed and ripped apart. I was able to power up the last climb, sprint to the finish and win the bunch sprint. I was third place overall, as there was a breakaway of two girls up the road, one girl from Trek Red Truck!! The rest of our team did amazing too!
It sure is different not racing as an independant rider from Manitoba, and on Trek Red Truck. I definately have a lot to learn, and I'm excited where it will take me this year and years down the road.
First race here of the season went well. I hope my legs will recover fast..and hopefully I can catch some sleep with aching legs! I have a full day of studying tomorrow, not looking forwards to it, but I guess then I am that much closer to being finished uni for this year.