A longer report is coming at you, as the team has been super busy over the past couple of weeks, and there is a lot to catch up on! For me, it has been two full weeks on the road, travelling and racing my bike. I am writing this as I fly home from Quebec, where I was just racing the Grande Prix Cycliste Gatineau with the National Team. But I won’t get ahead of myself, I will start at the beginning and hope to keep the read interesting and not overly lengthy (no promises).
The first races of this exciting block were the BC Provincial TT and Road Race Championships, on a weekend of mixed weather in late May. The Saturday time trial was a soggy one, but a few of the men and women were out representing TRT with solid performances in less than ideal conditions. The next day was the RR, and this time the weather was in favour of a more pleasant day of riding, with clear skies and temps in the 20s. Not to say it was all sunshine and roses though — some super tough and pain-inducing bike racing took place on the roads of Aldergrove!
The women had a small team on the day, made up of just Brenna and myself. It was great to have team manager Leah Guloien out to help us come up with a solid race plan, and give us encouragement as we went around the 20km circuit for a total of 5 times. Without going into too much depth, we were able to execute our plan to a T, and come away with both the elite BC champ title for Brenna, and the U23 champ title which I got last year was also defended! Despite a deep field of talented and strong women, with some larger teams, our little team was one that could, and we did! This was a great confidence boost heading into the Cascades Cycling Classic (CCC), which was next on the schedule, starting just a few days after Provincials.
Monday morning, after a hard weekend of racing, the team loaded up the van and trailer with our trek bikes, and started the trek (heh heh) to Bend, Oregon, where we were going to be racing CCC which is America’s longest running stage race. After a one year hiatus from the calendar last year, it was great that this race came back, and I got to compete at this iconic event for my first time ever, which I was both nervous and excited about. With 5 tough and unique stages in store that week, the team, supported by Steve, Brian, mechanic John, and super DS/dad/Cat 2 crusher Julian Soh, was looking to achieve many process goals, one of which being to make it through the whole week! For nearly all, this was achieved, and we had a ton of fun along the way.
I was really happy to place 5th in stage 1 and come away with the white jersey after that stage. This is the jersey for the U23 rider who is highest placed in the General Classification, or the “best young rider”. I did not end up hanging on to the jersey, but it was exciting to wear it on stage 2, where I had a strong ride on a very tough and hilly day. Brenna and Jasmine absolutely crushed the final few stages, and even after breaking her frame into numerous pieces Brenna finished the crit on a neutral service bike, while pulling me back to the pack at one point. Huge props to TRT Alumni Anna who took the win in the criterium with an awesome solo move, we were/still are all so stoked for her! There were so many moments in the week where each TRT rider showed their grit and came away with smiles still on their faces. Overall, Cascades was such a cool experience, and held the most incredible road race courses I have ever raced. I cannot wait to come back to this race next year. We were so lucky not only to have an incredible support crew there with us, but also to have amazing host families in Bend, who took us into their homes with so much kindness, and even came out to cheer us on at the crit! Thank you so much for everything!
While in Bend, I received some exciting news. After stage 2 on Thursday I was checking my email and read one from Cycling Canada regarding racing at the Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau. TRT no longer attending the race this year I had reached out to Cycling Canada earlier in the month, and now, one week before the race, I was told I had a spot on the team! This did feel a bit overwhelming while racing an intense stage race, but thanks to the help of so many people I was able to seize the opportunity and accept the spot on the National Team for the GP Gatineau! Steve, Brian, and Leah all responded promptly with “go for it!” or variations of the like. With the support of my team and teammates, the general plan and my flights getting worked out (HUGE thank you to Global Relay Bridge The Gap for the support!), I was so excited about getting to go to this race. I had been excited to go home post Cascades, but now I was bubbling with this cool opportunity ahead — and knowing I would still get to be home in a few days, in time to race in my hometown and see my parents compete at Nationals, was a nice thought too.
So, after driving back up to Vancouver with a tired but accomplished group of Red Truckers, I borrowed a bike box from team supporters Graham Fox and Jon Bula, and then went to my Vancouver based aunt and uncle’s place for the night, before flying to Ottawa on Tuesday. Things had fallen into place because of so many kind and awesome people who surround this team and, to be super cheesy, these big dreams of mine!!
The team for the GP was a super strong one that I was so pumped to be a part of. It was especially cool to get to race with Leah Kirchmann, who is a world tour pro on team Sunweb, and who is also a Trek Red Truck Racing alumni! I got to chat with Leah on our team spin on Wednesday about her time on the team, amongst other things. I was looking forward to the race on Thursday, but for me, every moment of my few days there was a chance to soak in as much knowledge and experience as I could. This was not hard when surrounded by so many inspiring and knowledgeable women, as well as a great team of staff, led by Cycling Canada road manager Kevin Field.
Thursday, June 6th, the day of the GP Gatineau UCI 1.1 road race. I got to race this long running women’s only event last year with TRT, so I did know a little bit what to expect, but this time was different as I did not yet know what my role would be in the team plan, which was to culminate in the goal of delivering Leah to the top step of the podium. After a coffee spin in the morning to local roastery Happy Goat Coffee, an afternoon nap, and some good food to fuel up, we met up with Kevin to discuss the race and the plan. I won’t relay every detail of what that plan was, because, well, it worked, no matter if you know the details!
While I do wish I could have done a bit more for the team in the race, I do think, and was reassured, that I played a role and rode well (even if it was small one). Everyone else certainly did play large roles, and the team came away with Leah winning the sprint in the reduced front bunch! It was so cool to be a small part of this big team effort, and see the plan play out and work perfectly. I ended up in the second group on the road, and came 3rd in the final sprint of that group to finish the day in 28th place. With over 70 starters on the day I am happy with that result, but also know that while racing for Team Canada, the goal was not a personal result in any means, but a team one, which was achieved. I also came away from the evening race with a ton of new power PBs which is heartening after how hard it felt! I learned so much on my first National Team Project, and cannot thank those who made it possible enough times. TRT was so supportive and excited for me this week, and I felt so much love from so many awesome people. I am looking forward to the rest of the season with the team, while also looking ahead to when my next chance to represent Canada might be.
For now I get to go home (one more short flight!) to celebrate my 21st birthday, cheer on my parents in National champs, and race with the team again at the Victoria criterium this Sunday! The fun really never ends in this crazy sport. As always, thank you to the network of sponsors who make Trek Red Truck Racing and all these experiences possible. I feel so lucky to be part of a team backed by the best people around who are always there to cheer from near or far, and help me achieve my goals!