People always ask “How was Road Worlds!?” and it’s pretty hard to sum up the trip in one or two sentences. Having never been out of North America, going to Norway was overwhelming. The culture, cars, architecture, people, and the roads are all different than what I am used to.
The flight to get to Norway was quite incredible on its own. My first stop was in Zurich, Switzerland and that was the first time I have ever gotten really giddy with joy about being in an airport. They had booths that would scan your boarding pass and give you a wi-fi code, and the wi-fi was actually good. Also, the amount of chocolate in that airport was dangerous, thank goodness, the currency exchange rate wasn’t that good. In terms of eating in the airport, they had a bakery, fresh fruit and vegetables, among a variety of other foods. I ended up walking around a lot, taking the rail line in between the two terminals and also realizing that they use different plugs, which I forgot about.
Next stop was actually in Norway, Oslo to be exact. When flying over Norway I realized how different the houses and city layout is. In North America you see all the perfectly laid out grid of suburbs with pools, but across the water it is not as confined to grids, and the houses look like older classic brick structures with winding roads. I ended up just staring out the window most of the flight.
When I got to Oslo, the fun began. I was told to board my next flight and I had to grab my luggage and my bike, recheck everything in, go through security, and do it all in less that 40 minutes because that’s when the flight left. The luggage started coming through, and I missed my flight because after an hour I hadn’t seen any of my luggage. I went to the help desk and managed to get my bike, but they said my luggage would just be sent to Bergen when they found it. The lady who was helping me at the desk was great, customer service was A+, so at least one positive from being in Oslo.
I landed in Bergen finally, and my luggage which had been lost had showed up, yay, but my bike, that was an hour and a half of waiting. First international flight was incredible but also kind of frustrating, however, I did expect there to be some hiccups.
I got to the hotel late, but luckily Hugo Houle made me a plate of food and saved it, so shout out to him because that was greatly appreciated. After that I went to my room and passed out because that was definitely the longest I had ever been awake.
The next couple days were training days, check out the course and make sure we were race ready. Being on the course was amazing, and there where fans watching us pre-ride, but we were still a couple days away from our race. However, the best experience I had was stopping on the side of the course next to a daycare/elementary and the kids just bursting with joy to see us. My mind was blow, I wasn’t a pro rider like Sagan or Froome, yet they made me feel as if I had won the Tour de France. Even riding around it felt strange because people would cheer for us on our coffee ride.
Fast forward a couple days to race day. It wasn’t supposed to rain for our race, but it had been raining almost everyday so we could only hope. We had to wake up early to drive out there, but on the way out we drove by the fiords. That was amazing to see because it was bridges connecting small islands with clusters of houses on each one.
Signing in was also quite amazing because they had the board on a big stage like in the pro races, so we walked up as a team and signed in as they announced all the team members. On the way to the stage there were people getting us to sign flags which blew my mind, how incredible the support was from the fans. However, the race was easily the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Junior races are notoriously sketchy but this took that to a whole new level. There were so many crashes that I lost track, but could probably count them by the scrapes on my wheels.
For the race I was in the top half as the pack weaved along the winding roads and up the punchy climbs. Going through tunnels was exhilarating because it created a vacuum as we went flying through at 70kph. Not to mention that the low lighting made it very hard to see anything. Sadly, as cool as the race was, my bike seized up once we hit the circuits which almost never happens. Out of all the races for my back to act up, it happened to be at Worlds which was disheartening.
I ended up getting dropped from the main group, but I stayed positive. Even being off the back of the group the crowd was incredible. They would chant “Canada,” as I was climbing to motivate me, and I even got some high-fives. Since my goal was to enjoy the race as much as possible because I was dropped, on the second last lap as I came through the start/finish I waved my hand up and then put it to my ear to amp up the crowd. On que I got the thundering cheer of all the Norwegians lined up along the barriers.
I proceeded to finish and was down that my back wasn’t 100% on the day I needed it too be, but the amount of cheering from the crowd and amazing atmosphere dampened the blow. If I never get to experience something like that again I am glad I got to go and experience the racing and the culture in Norway.