Friday, 9 August 2013

Canada Summer Games 2013

What a week! After an almost two year buildup leading into the legendary Canada Summer Games, the week had finally come. We made the trek to Sherbrooke travelling in none other than The Beast (other names include Wesley, Big Wez, and/or the Black Mamba) piloted by our wonderful coach Mike Garrigan. Seeing the thousands of athletes dressed in their respective provincial gear was pretty cool... It really did feel like a miniature athlete's village! I think I underestimated the scale of CSG; in truth it was a pretty good replica of the Real Deal. Very lucky that we have such solid and competitive athletic programs in Canada. CSG seems like it is truly a way to breed Olympic Champions.

The Cauldron is lit!
The first day of racing was the XC on Saturday. Man.... What. A. Course! The most fun I've had on a race course all year. Rocky, rooty single track, many spectator-worthy features, and some of the fastest and most flowy descents around. Really well built course. Anyways, Team O hit the line ready to be a group of medal threats. Off the line, Laura B. got right up with the leaders who quickly put a small gap into the rest of us. She went on to put up a stellar fight and came out with the silver! As for me, I was a bit slow to get going in the first two laps, but was able to finally kick it into gear on the 3rd and final lap. That last lap was the best I've felt since May - definitely nice to see! I was a little disappointed with my race overall, but ending it on a high note was pretty uplifting.

Women's start. 

After a sweet rest day lake-side with BA and Uncle Havy, we kitted up for the Team Relay. After Saturday, Cayley and I were gunning for revenge and Laura was set on the gold as well. Laura was our opener, coming through with a ~3minute lead over the field after an unfortunate flat on Quebec's side. Cayley went out next and managed to increase the gap to both 2nd and 3rd, settling us nicely in 1st. As I waited for Cayley to roll in, the nerves set in... I knew Frederique would be nipping at my heels and I didn't want to let the team down! I set off and gave it my all; hammered the hills and stayed conservative and smooth on the technical (ever mindful of the risk of flatting). We ended the race with a 3 and a half minute lead over second, and accomplished exactly what we set out to do: win a GOLD for Ontario! Pretty unreal feeling.

Rest Day

Laura off the start

Cayley through the middle section of the course

I think I got whiplash from trying to watch and cheer before my lap!

Proud moment. 

Very satisfactory feeling! 
Some hefty hardware

On the men's side, we had Mitch, Steven, and Evan fighting for the top spot of the podium. It was a super exciting race to watch! Team O came through in about 1 minute behind team Quebec, gladly accepting a silver medal. Congratulations on a sick race, boys!

The third and final event was the XC Eliminator. I didn't have very high expectations heading into the event, as I had minimal experience with the sprint style event. All three of us girls qualified well, setting us up with good quarter final heats. All three of us won our quarter final, only to all end up in the same semi! Luckily for us, there were 6 people in the semi, 3 of which moved on to the final. Unfortunately, after some aggressive (but clean) play off the start line, we were unable to come through top three. Laura and I managed to qualify, but Cayley ended up in the small final. Really just a stroke of bad luck. Cayley took second in her small final, proving that she deserved to be in the big final. Laura took the silver medal after an aggressive "Wide Cut" while I ended up in fourth (really the worst place on the face of the earth...).

All in all, it was an impressive haul for Team O at Canada Summer Games. The experience was unreal, the races were fun, and the camaraderie rounded it all out quite nicely. Thank you to everyone at the OCA who made this happen, and everyone involved on the national level! A thanks definitely needs to go to Havy, who acted as Team O mechanic for the week. You did us a solid, Havy!

Best floormates - good luck, Softball!
If you're interested, there are some reports from the Games up on Canadian Cyclist and a sweet photo album (courtesy of BA) here.

Next up, MSA tomorrow morning bright and early!

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