For the first time in a little bit more than 10 years, the Para/Junior/Elite National Championships take place in Alberta. The start of the 2022 season hasn’t been stellar on the international stage so far, after 2 World Cups in Belgium and Germany in May, resulting in a 3rd place in the time trial race in Belgium. However, the idea was to come back stronger and prepare for the final stage of the World Cup, which will be held in Quebec for the first time in history. It promises to be something special.
The individual time trial race
The individual time trial race has always been my favourite because it is about you, your mindset, your game. Even before I started paracycling, there was doubt that I would not be successful. Then, there is the Joker; for a long time, on paper, my numbers were not the best compared to other riders, but comes the day of the race with a performance that goes beyond the expected and what was predicted.
It did feel good to win this one; not just because it means claiming a 30th national title but because everything (well almost) about that race was perfect. ‘Almost,’ because I have arrived the day before, couldn’t see the course, got a flat during warmup, which was 20 minutes before start time, so there wasn’t any real warmup. Nevertheless, the race was practically perfect in every way; I took corners neatly, choose the right gear at the right time AND I knew the place where it was the most important to push harder than anywhere else on the course. The place that makes a difference in a race. I was also able to benefit from the guidance of former pro cyclist and 3-times team time trial champion Karol-Ann Canuel, who directed me, following behind in a vehicle and communicating through the radio. Of course it could have gone either way, because my teammate is a strong competitor and I’m proud to witness her evolution.
The road race
The road race is a different game; the course was tough, honestly, but riding with other people who suffer as much as you do is motivating. We got a group start, meaning that the C1-5 men joined us. Among them is a new C2 rider from New Brunswick and he is very strong. The plan was to hold his wheel as long as possible, which is what happened until we reached the bottom of the hill just before the finish line and he decided to attack on the first lap. After 20 seconds or so, the race became another time trial. I tried to flatten the curves to win a few seconds whilst trying to catch up to my teammates, but ended up crossing the finish line a few minutes behind.
The most important thing to take back from these National Championships is that work and perseverance always carry you through. What makes the difference is your perspective on things, how you see yourself and what you want to leave behind when the race is finished. It is the journey that matters.
These performances were made possible in part as the result of the work done by many people who provided support during the races this weekend and everyone at home reaching out with good wishes. Big thanks to the Fédération Québécoise des Sports Cyclistes! Next stop: Quebec, August 4-7 Many thanks also to my sponsors, for their continuing support in this adventure! Longueuil Honda, Mint’N Dry, Bioracer, Julbo, Eye Am, Anokian, Primeau Vélo, T-Lab, Absolute Black, Thule