I can't believe it's already July 1st. It's crazy that even though my summers are now twice as long (ahhhhh, the life of a university student), they can still pass five times as fast as they did when I was a kid! Sometimes I wish I could go back and relive those summers; eating far more popsicles than was good for me, and spending way too many hours on the trampoline. I guess since the race season is pretty much over I can do that now!
I've been on the road with Norco for the last couple of weeks, racing Nationals in Quebec and then two World Cups in Monte Sainte Anne, Quebec and Windham, New York. These were my first U23 World Cup appearances, and I am relatively pleased with how they went!
MSA was probably the most fun race I have ever been in. It is a notoriously technical course and one which scared the living daylights out of me in 2011. Somehow, I found the courage I've been lacking for the last couple years (or maybe just turned off the common sense/self preservation switch in my brain?) and rode everything, including the Beatrice, without so much as a hesitation! The course was bone dry right up until the start of the U23 women's race. During warm up there was an absolute downpour that left the roots slick, the single track muddy, and the descents terrifying. Still, it was SO much fun. I felt the best I've felt in a long time and ended up 10th. I was the 4th Canadian. This was definitely short of my goals for the race, but I was not overly disappointed.
Windham was a totally different story. I placed 3rd in the Junior Women's World Cup here last year, and I have a bit of a soft spot for the course. The long, gruelling climb up the mountain is followed by a fast, dusty descent with minimal technical features to slow the racers down. This year, the start was in the centre of town and added about 1km of paved, double-track climbing to the lap. Watching my teammates Andrew L'Esperance and Andrew Watson off the start definitely pumped me up for my 4:30 pm race. Our start was fast but manageable, and I was able to stick with the top ten all the way up the mountain on the first lap. There were four Canadians racing in a tight pack for the first two laps (AP, Laura Bietola, Cayley Brooks and myself) before we were gradually separated. I felt like I was on fire for the first two laps, before the heat and bonking started to hit me on the third lap. I dropped from 8th to 9th (2nd Canadian to 3rd Canadian), but managed to hold that position for the remainder of the race. I'm proud to say that despite being sick and racing in 30 degree weather I held on 'til the finish! It was an awesome race, and I definitely tested my limits.
As has become a tradition, the team went out for pizza after the race. The only thing that could have made the day better would have been ice cream (it's my post-race addiction)... I guess I'll have to wait until I get home (Kawartha Diary ftw!).
It's back to Canada tomorrow, and the Norco team will separate to our various corners of the Centre of the Universe (and one of us to Newfoundland ;) ). It'll be a sad day tomorrow, saying a temporary goodbye to my teammates. I'm going to miss those guys! I hope everyone has a good Canada day - I can't wait to go home to that awesome country.