How do you see the glass?

Sometimes I think people tend to look at things closer when they lose than when they win. At least, that’s what I do.

When we win or when something goes really well, we don’t take much time to evaluate exactly what happened and why it happened. There is stuff under the rug that we ignore, because at first glance, since the result was good, it seems like, and it feels like, all went well. But when you suffer a real setback, you want to know all the reasons why - so that it will never happen again.

The whole trip to Europe that just ended with the World Cup in Heusden-Zolder was a big setback for me. If I’m honest, not many things went well, actually…

But there are always many ways to look at something. Some people like to see the glass half-full, and some prefer to see it half-empty. I usually fall into the first category; always trying to find the positive in every situation...I guess it must come from my dad who is Mister Optimistic in person. This time, however, I choose to look at the glass differently; the way Georges St-Pierre sees it. Simply, I choose to see that the glass has reached half of its capacity. That’s it. No emotion, no interpretation. Just a fact: the glass is filled halfway through.

Looking at the facts and leaving the emotions behind is the only way for me to really learn and see the situation for what is really is. It’s simply the truth.

So here are a few facts about this trip: I was unprepared for the first race (not physically, but racing-wise it was a shock), I got sick the day after the first race and stayed sick for the rest of the trip, I was disorganized, my travel plans were too ambitious, tiring and complicated, I got bored, I missed my family on Christmas, I had very bad results at all 3 races, etc.

 Now that the facts have been stated, though, I can choose to look at them in many ways. The easy way would be to look at it as a series of unfortunate situations that happened. In that scenario, I would feel sorry for myself for being sick and for having bad races. I would get discouraged, use the “f**k it” attitude, eat all the pastries that I so deeply want to eat, and subconsciously put less effort into my preparation for the next block of racing.

The other way is to take responsibility for what happened, and learn from it.  Ask myself some questions and find answers as to why things happened the way they did, and how can I make sure they don’t happen again. Why did I get sick? What did I do wrong? How can I prevent to be sick next time that I am travelling? How can I organize myself better? How can I plan my next trip more intelligently? How can I feel more “race ready” when I come next time? Etc.

Honestly, the first option seems very tempting in the heat of the moment, when all the croissants are looking at me and I’m kind of bummed about my results. But I know it would lead nowhere… Actually, I know very well that it would lead to even poorer performances and grater disappointments. So with the help of David, we made a decision: We would eat one pastry and then take responsibility for what happened and start working on the next block of racing.

While talking about it, we found some great solutions and interesting ideas for future trips. And as much as I make it sound like it was a nightmare of a trip, I’m actually very glad and thankful for it. Every opportunity to do one of these super strong European races is such a great experience. If you give it your all, there is no way to not grow from every one of these races.

In Zolder, for example I truly had a great time... And so did I in Namur and St-Niklaas. Actually, the races, even if my results weren't good, were definitely the highlights of the trip! 

Here's a quick recap of Zolder: 

  •  Start. Spun out, loose a few spots. "Stay calm." Zig-zag my way towards the front. Sitting in the top 20.
  • Crash in front of me. Not fast enough to get around. People are running in the wrong direction.
  • Unclip, get around, get going again.
  • Find myself on the ground, still clipped in. People ride on and over me. “Shit. This is not ideal.”
  • Get going again. “I am very far back now.” (I was somewhere in the 50s)
  • Feel flat. Not moving up as much as I want.
  • “Here we go again... no power!" 
  • About 2 seconds later, I decide to give myself a pep talk: “Okay negative Nancy. Stop it. Think about all the hours spent waiting in the hotel room, only being excited about this race. Now it’s finally happening, so make it the most of it!”
  • The pep talk worked. Luckily, we are still in the first 3 min of the race.
  • Still feeling flat but really digging deep and making all kinds of cool passes.
  • Having so much fun.
  • Hear David telling me to keep passing people. “I’m on it!”
  • Making good decision. Totally focused and into it. This is fun. 
  • Hear Thomas and Milo cheer for me – Extra motivation! (Thomas and Milo are two super cool kids from a wonderful family that we met during the trip!)
  • Keep passing people. Final lap – sprint on the final stretch and catch a group on the line (while someone else passes me) but not enough time to pass the group.  Finish 26th.
  • THAT WAS SO FUN! Chit chat with David, Thomas and Milo at the finish.

I had never had that much fun or that good of a race for finishing that far back. The level of the field at the CX races is really strong right now and you absolutely need to bring you’re A game if you want to be competitive. I really did the best I could with what I had on that day, and I guess you can’t ask for more. I was honestly happy after the race, even if I’m ultimately aiming for a better result…it was still a good performance.

Another thing I’m happy about is that I didn’t let the fact that I was sick play negative tricks on my mind. Before hand, I didn’t want to let myself be mentally affected by the sickness by giving myself an excuse, so I’m really proud that I didn’t do that and that I was still able to give all I have.  
In the end, it wasn’t the best of trips, but I think there is a lot to take from it that can help me for the next time I go to Europe. I’m now off to Tucson to get healthy and train hard to be as ready as I can for the final block of racing in January.

As the saying goes, no matter how well or how badly things are going, you just have to “chop wood and carry water”. In other words, keep doing what you have to do, with your best effort. And frankly, I think that’s all you can really do, anyway.

Cheers everyone!

Hello you ghost! 

Hello you ghost! 

Photo by Anton Vos. 

Photo by Anton Vos. 

"iiihhhhhh" Photo by Anton Vos.

"iiihhhhhh" Photo by Anton Vos.

One of the coolest thing about riding in Belgium is that you can follow the bike paths (each of them has a number, so you can just follow the number) and sometimes it brings you on awesome dirt roads across farms. 

One of the coolest thing about riding in Belgium is that you can follow the bike paths (each of them has a number, so you can just follow the number) and sometimes it brings you on awesome dirt roads across farms. 

We went to the beach for a race on December 23rd. Merry Christmas! 

We went to the beach for a race on December 23rd. Merry Christmas! 

A gigantic ball. 

A gigantic ball. 

Eva showing us how it's done: Eating a sandwich, while signing an autograph, while cooling down on the rollers just minutes after finishing 3rd in the World Cup. 

Eva showing us how it's done: Eating a sandwich, while signing an autograph, while cooling down on the rollers just minutes after finishing 3rd in the World Cup. 

"I'd like to have a small beer please." 

"I'd like to have a small beer please." 

 

 

 

 

 

Namur World Cup

"My hunger is for excellence, not for success. Because when you attain excellence, success just naturally follows" - Mike Krzyzewski a.k.a Coach K. 

Well, that is a very fine quote.

I did not exactly attain excellence this weekend at the World Cup in Namur...much less did I attain success. But somehow, I still had a great time and felt like it was a very good return to racing. 

I hadn't raced since the Continental Championships about 5-6 weeks ago, and I found that I was a bit rusty during the race. We had done a lot of really good training, but my racing mindset  and aggressiveness were lacking. I was slow at making decisions, and made a lot of mistakes. Actually, I felt like I was always reacting too late to what was happening around me, rather than being calm, anticipate, and prepare my moves. 

I was soon reminded that this is not how you perform in a World Cup, where all 64 women lining up all want the same thing, at the same time, and have no mercy. 

In the end, after many crashes and even more passing mistakes, I ended up 32nd, which is not even close to where I would like to finish...But I have to keep Coach K's advice in mind. I am not chasing success, I am chasing excellence. Which, if you think about it, is pretty awesome because the quest never stops. 

The good thing is that now I know that when I am coming to Europe for some cyclocross races, it can be a very good idea to arrive earlier and do some smaller races before jumping into a World Cup; especially if I haven't raced at home in a while.

Looking back, I sure am a bit disappointed, mostly because I felt like we had really nailed the preparation so it was hard to see that it didn't really pay off for this particular race. However, there are more races to come and all the training and preparation I have done has still been done; it's still in the bag, no matter how good or bad this race has gone. Also, I actually had quite a good time during the race, because the course is so amazing. My favorite parts were the very steep, muddy, and fast descents that all had a fun corner at the bottom. It put a smile on my face every time I was going down one of them. I also liked the off camber traverse, which was really slippery and had many different "ruts" in it. It was a challenge every lap, and it was constantly changing, so a line that had been good the previous lap could be tricky the next one. It literally "kept you on your toes" the whole time. 

I watched that race on TV countless times and always dreamed of riding/racing that course...Well, it was even better and even more fun than I had imagined it. 

On that note, I will be back, Namur. And I'm already looking forward to it :) 

Cheers, 

Maghalie 

Pre riding excitement. Eva showed me all the tips and tricks, which was awesome! 

Pre riding excitement. Eva showed me all the tips and tricks, which was awesome! 

When racing cyclocross in Belgium, washing and drying your clothes (often in the bathtub) between training sessions is almost a full time job! 

When racing cyclocross in Belgium, washing and drying your clothes (often in the bathtub) between training sessions is almost a full time job! 

Aftermath of the race

Aftermath of the race

Very nice meeting Soraya and Bea at the race! Big fans of CLIF Pro Team

Very nice meeting Soraya and Bea at the race! Big fans of CLIF Pro Team

Lots of time spent drinking tea here :) 

Lots of time spent drinking tea here :) 

Interesting way of doing hot chocolate in Bruxelles!

Interesting way of doing hot chocolate in Bruxelles!

We indulged in one of those delicious hot chocolate while visiting Bruxelles

We indulged in one of those delicious hot chocolate while visiting Bruxelles

Bruxelles

Bruxelles

I don't know anything about architecture, but the buildings in Bruxelles are pretty stunning. It's insipiring to see the details in the buildings and think about the effort the artist put into making them, hundreds of years ago.

I don't know anything about architecture, but the buildings in Bruxelles are pretty stunning. It's insipiring to see the details in the buildings and think about the effort the artist put into making them, hundreds of years ago.

Nouvelles du mois de Novembre: Un petit pas vers l'arrière...

Faire un pas vers l’arrière aujourd’hui, pour pouvoir faire deux pas vers l’avant demain…du moins, c’est ce que j’espère!

C’est la stratégie que David et moi avons décidé d’employer pour préparer le restant de la saison de cyclocross. Après les championnats Pan Américains qui avaient lieu au début de Novembre, j’étais fatiguée et mon corps ne répondais plus quand je lui demandais de travailler fort. Toutefois, j’avais prévu voyager en Europe dans les semaines qui suivaient pour participer à deux compétitions. Initialement, ce voyage m’avait semblé être un tremplin positif vers l’atteinte de mes objectifs de fin de saison. Maintenant, toutefois, tout ce que je pouvais voir, c’était le “flat” en plein visage que j’allais recevoir si je décidais de sauter de ce tremplin en voyageant de l'autre côté de l'Atlantique.

Nous avons donc décidé de changer le plan et de prendre une petite semaine de congé afin de partir le prochain mois d’entrainement sur de bonnes bases. Ce fût décevant de mettre une croix sur ce voyage et ces courses. Lorsqu’on planifie quelque chose quelques mois à l'avance, on y réfléchit et on croit toujours que ce sera la meilleure option. Mais parfois, c’est important de rester flexible et de s’adapter lorsque la situation réelle n’est plus optimale.

Épuisée, après une 6e position et une très dure bataille au Championnat Pan Américain. Photo par Luke Batten

Épuisée, après une 6e position et une très dure bataille au Championnat Pan Américain. Photo par Luke Batten

Peut-être qu'on devrait prendre une pause? Photo par Luke Batten

Peut-être qu'on devrait prendre une pause? Photo par Luke Batten

Ceci étant dit, après cette petite pause bien plaisante, nous avions 1 mois avant notre prochain "checkpoint" qui consistait en 2 coupes du monde en Europe à la fin Décembre. Un mois complet sans competition est quelque chose de très rare en cyclisme. Il n’est pas rare d’enfiler 5-6 semaines de competitions de suite, à raison de 2-3 courses par semaines. Dans ces moments, l'entrainement est surtout axée sur le maintient des qualités physiologiques, plutôt que sur bâtir de meilleurs aptitudes. En fait, lorsqu’on a 2 semaines complètes sans courses, cela nous paraît étrange. Donc d’avoir un mois total nous a paru comme une éternité…un vrai luxe quoi!

Un conseil en or que l'on m'a déjà donné: "Si tu veux profiter pleinement de tes vacances et en ressortir vraiment reposer, tu dois planifier les activités que tu veux faire!" Photo par Luke Batten

Un conseil en or que l'on m'a déjà donné: "Si tu veux profiter pleinement de tes vacances et en ressortir vraiment reposer, tu dois planifier les activités que tu veux faire!" Photo par Luke Batten

Avec tout ce temps devant nous pour se préparer, David et moi avons décidé d’emprunter la stratégie de l’Ultimate Fighter. Les Georges St-Pierre de ce monde, ainsi que la plupart des athlètes en sports de combat ne font que quelques combats par année. Cet horaire de compétition moins chargée leur permet de passer énormément de temps à s’entrainer et à peaufiner leurs habiletés. Ils utilisent beaucoup la stratégie des quatre “P”: Pick. Plan. Prepare. Perform. Choisir un événement, créer un plan d’action, se preparer et performer. C’est un luxe auquel nous n’avons pas souvent droit en cyclisme, mais lorsqu’on a la chance de le faire, les résultats sont souvent très concluants.

Ce mois était donc l’occasion pour nous de travailler très fort pour se construire une forme très forte, travailler sur les lacunes et du coup, bâtir une bonne confiance avant d’aller affronter les meilleures en Europe.

Au moment où j’écris ce petit texte, nous en sommes à 3 semaines de préparation et je dois avouer que j’ai mal partout et je suis super fatiguée. Dans ces moments là, ça devient un défi de focuser sur la tâche à accomplir et de bien exécuter chaque entrainement. Mais on approche la fin, donc c’est d’autant plus important de continuer à faire de mon mieux, puis de m’appliquer pour bien exécuter chacun des entrainements au meilleur de mes capacités. L'emphase sur la recuperation et la nutrition entre les entraînements prend aussi une ampleur cruciale. 

Bref, j’ai bien hâte de voir si cette bonne préparation me permettra de bien performer lors des prochaines grosses courses! Est-ce que le pas que nous avons pris vers l'arrière nous permettra d'en prendre 2 vers l'avant? Le fait de ne pas avoir eu de bonbons maintenant nous permettra d'avoir 2 bonbons plus tard? Une chose est certaine, je ne pense pas que j’aurai à me questioner lorsque je serai sur la ligne de depart de la Coupe du Monde de Namur; à mon avis, David et moi avons effectué la meilleure preparation possible!  

Par chance pour moi, David est toujours présent pour m'aider durant et entre les entrainements. C'est aussi lui qui s'occupe de toute l'organisation, comme vous pouvez voir! 

Par chance pour moi, David est toujours présent pour m'aider durant et entre les entrainements. C'est aussi lui qui s'occupe de toute l'organisation, comme vous pouvez voir! 

Pratiques techniques! Photo par David 

Pratiques techniques! Photo par David 

Course de cyclocross en Arizona! Ce weekend, j'ai participé à 4 courses: Pro Hommes et Femmes le Samedi et la même chose le Dimanche, suive d'une séance de musculation.  Photo par David

Course de cyclocross en Arizona! Ce weekend, j'ai participé à 4 courses: Pro Hommes et Femmes le Samedi et la même chose le Dimanche, suive d'une séance de musculation.  Photo par David

Avec le meilleur squad d'encouragements lors d'une course en Arizona. 

Avec le meilleur squad d'encouragements lors d'une course en Arizona. 

***

Recette du mois: Je n'ai pas de recette extraordinaire à partager ce mois-ci...Je vous partage donc quelques livres que j'ai bien appréciés! 
 

- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a boy Solider, par Ishmael Beah 
Après avoir été sauvé par l'UNICEF, un garçon du Sierra Leone raconte son histoire d'avoir été enrollé comme soldat à 13 ans, lors de la guerre dans son pays. Livre déchirant par moment, mais qui ouvrent les yeux sur la réalité de certains pays et qui fait beaucoup réfléchir. 

- The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, par Amy Schumer: Autobiography hilarante écrite par la comédienne et actrice Amy Schumer. Elle raconte certains des moments les plus difficiles de sa vie avec un très bel humour. J'ai aussi trouvé intéressant de voir comment se passe la vie des comédiens et comment ils grimpent au sommet de leur art. 

- Le Sens du Combat, par Georges St-Pierre: Très bon livre sur l'éthique de travaille, l'ouverture d'esprit et le travaille d'équipe en quête de l'excellence. 

Bonne lecture :) 

Maghalie 

Is losing a good thing?

I just finished cleaning up my closet and I have a bunch of sweet looking, red and white Garneau jerseys and skinsuits to give away. And while I'm sad to be parting with these clothes, I can now reflect on the weekend and I think I can safely say that it is a good thing for me that I lost the National title this weekend. 

...wait. 

"WTF is she talking about?!" 

Well, you are right to be asking that. Actually, a few hours after the race on Saturday, someone kindly told me that it might be a good thing for me, and even though I smiled to that person, all that went on in my mind was: "WTF is she talking about?!". 

A couple of days later, though, I can now agree with that person. That wise person was Mical Dyck, by the way (thanks Mical). And you know what, she is not the only wise one who has told me that.

So how did I finally come to that conclusion myself? Well, it took me a while to see it that way, because I was so mad with myself after the race. I wasn't mad at the fact Chirstel Ferrier beat me; she was strong, smart, raced really well, and earned that title fair and square. The reason I was mad is because I beat myself during that race. 

I knew it was going to be hard to beat Christel. She has been very strong this year and she is a very smart and experienced rider. Some people in Canada don't know her because she is only recently Canadian, but she has represented France at the Olympics on the road and she has finished in the top 10 at Cyclocross World Championships several times through her long and successful career. She's been living in Quebec for the last two years so we've had the chance to race each other very often at the local and provincial races. 

Anyway, I entered the race feeling ready and confident, but ready for a tough battle. Here's a short summary of how the race happened: 

  • I led from the start. Christel and I had a gap early on.
  • She was sitting on my wheel. The course was very fast, dry and not technical at all in the dry. It was physically challenging though. 
  • "Keep pushing Magh!" I kept pushing but couldn't shake her off my wheel. 
  • I kept drilling it at the front thinking I could eventually make her crack. 
  • On lap two, I heard her not clipping quickly, so I attacked. 
  • I kept pushing hard at the front and extended the gap to about 10sec. 
  • After a lap at the front, the gap was stable at 10sec and I was hurting. I started stressing out. "Crap, this is really hard and I'm not making up time anymore." 
  • "Should I slow down and wait for her? Should I keep pushing and risk blowing up?" 
  • While I was somewhere stuck in my head, questioning myself, I slowed down, but never calmed down. I wasn't present. She passed and attacked me. I got surprised. I tried to follow her. I started stressing out even more. 
  • Her gap grew to about 5-10 sec. I spent too much time convincing myself to calm down while I was trying to catch her. 
  • It took me too long to calm down and her gap grew. 
  • She won. I lost. 

To be clear, the reason that I feel like "lost" is not just because she won... She beat me (and won the race) which translated in me losing the race. That's a fact. But that's not why I'm saying that I lost. I feel like I lost because I beat myself and couldn't get out of my own way. I hadn't done that in a while, but it turns out I'm still not mature enough I guess. 

I didn't really sleep after the race because I was disappointed and mad, and that physically hurt me deep down in my belly. So I went straight in and reflected about what was actually hurting me that way. Usually, what hurts the most is the truth, and facing it is the only way to learn and move forward. 

So here's the truth: I messed up, I did a very bad job at controlling my emotions, I didn't trust myself enough and in the end, I choked. I tried to win too hard. I wasn't patient enough. I got nervous and questioned myself during the race. And when she passed me, I was still questioning myself about what was happening and why I couldn't follow, instead of actually trying to follow...all that because I didn't trust myself enough. 

Interestingly enough, without talking to each other, David and I came to the exact same conclusion. 

So, can losing the race be a good thing? I think so, and here's why: I race like that way too often, and I am just realizing it now. If I had won Nationals, I never would've made that realization. It wouldn't have hurt as much and I never would've thought much about it.

Sometimes, it needs to hurt for us (for me, anyway) to learn.  And I think this one hurt enough for me to learn a lot. 

Yesterday a good friend texted me something, as we were talking about my race. She said: "Sorry to say that, but that's sometimes more important than winning. I know it sounds bad, but you'll get it one day!" 

I think I get it now. In some ways, her message helped me to officially get over the past weekend by appreciating the lessons I had learned and to set my sight on the next goals of the season.

In the end, it was still a good weekend, because I'm coming out of it better than when I came in. The energy at the event was really good and I heard a lot of people cheering for me, or introducing themselves to me to talk about their Fever. Furthermore, my family as well as a few close friends, and sponsors were there to cheer me on and that is always a very special feeling. I'm lucky to have their support and the support from a few close friends who are with me wether I win or lose. 

I think I know who I'll give those Maple Leaf jerseys to... 

Up next is the Pan Am championships this weekend, where I'll be looking forward to apply the lessons I learned. I'm also excited because Hannah Bauer (CX Fever Grant recipient) will be joining our team for the weekend. Should be fun!  

Maghalie

Pre-riding with The Junior (Adam Roberge). It's always so fun to spend time with him. He's a real champ and always helps me to be better. Photo by Canadian Cyclist

Pre-riding with The Junior (Adam Roberge). It's always so fun to spend time with him. He's a real champ and always helps me to be better. Photo by Canadian Cyclist

Disappointed, but still grateful for everyone who was there and cheered all day! Photo: Jeff Faulds

Disappointed, but still grateful for everyone who was there and cheered all day! Photo: Jeff Faulds

Running with Christel.

Running with Christel.

Riding with Christel.

Riding with Christel.

I have a gap!! Photo by Jeff Faulds

I have a gap!! Photo by Jeff Faulds

Christel has a gap! 

Christel has a gap! 

Thanks for always being there for me! Photo by Jeff Faulds.

Thanks for always being there for me! Photo by Jeff Faulds.

Félicitations Christel!! (This means Congratulations, but we both speak French...) 

Félicitations Christel!! (This means Congratulations, but we both speak French...) 

It was very special to see Ruby win the U23 title!! I also got to give 100$ cheques to the SPICIEST RIDERS in the Junior and U23 categories for the fastest lap!

It was very special to see Ruby win the U23 title!! I also got to give 100$ cheques to the SPICIEST RIDERS in the Junior and U23 categories for the fastest lap!

Rubydoo with her big cheque and socks. She did very well this weekend. 

Rubydoo with her big cheque and socks. She did very well this weekend. 

Brody was the spiciest U23 man and won the CX Fever Hot Lap. It was really fun and rewarding to be able to give them a little something for their efforts. Special mention to Laurie Coulombe for the very cool looking Cheque! 

Brody was the spiciest U23 man and won the CX Fever Hot Lap. It was really fun and rewarding to be able to give them a little something for their efforts. Special mention to Laurie Coulombe for the very cool looking Cheque! 

We have sold A LOT of CX Fever gear this weekend. Thanks everyone, we raised over 500$ just this weekend. :) Photo by Scott Kelly.

We have sold A LOT of CX Fever gear this weekend. Thanks everyone, we raised over 500$ just this weekend. :) Photo by Scott Kelly.

When Mother Nature catches the fever

So I think Mother Nature caught the fever…

We’ve been working hard to spread it and it’s slowly becoming bigger... We now have hats, socks, t-shirts, cycling kits and a bike that won a world cup. But Mother Nature? She’s kind of a big deal. I didn’t expect SHE would join the movement so quickly. It's more contagious than I thought...

Here’s the thing though; I don’t think she really gets it. I know having the fever is kind of hot right now, but it’s not just about heating things up. Okay mama Nature?

The CX Fever is also about sharing the passion/excitement for ‘cross and enjoying the peculiar characteristic of cyclocross. Okay, I agree that one of those unique characteristics about cross is being able to adapt and ride well in varied and rapidly changing weather conditions. I also know that extreme heat and humidity is ONE option of weather conditions; but you know, there are also other options you can choose from…that’s the thing about the phrase “varied conditions”. It doesn’t always have to be the same thing.

Anyhow!

I’m teasing you Mother Nature – you know I’m not the type to complain too much about these kind of things and I’m actually pretty flattered that you caught the fever... But this weekend was HOT. However, although I really struggled with the heat during the race yesterday, I’m actually happy I had the opportunity to race in such difficult conditions.. I had a bad experience with heat last year, and I’ve been a bit scared of racing in extreme temperatures since.

*** (prepare for a radical change of subject)

On our team, we are all pretty close and the good thing about that is that you always feel like you can be honest and tell the others how you feel without being judged. We do like to make fun of each other, but there are never any real judgments. To use the concept of Coach K (Basketball coach of the Duke University), we also have a “family” type of culture, where everyone actually cares about one another and is genuinely happy and proud for someone else’s accomplishments - which eliminates any type of jealousy between us. I think that’s pretty special in an environment where we are actually competing against each other.

The reason I’m talking about that, is that this positive culture and support from the team allowed me to express my feelings about the heat, and to seek help. Together, we came up with various cooling techniques and strategies that we could use prior and during the race. Those strategies included:

-       Good hydration the week before;

-       Ice buckets to dunk hand and feet;

-       Pantie hose full of ice;

-       Wrist bands with ice cubes;

-       Icy water on the bike;

-       Shorter warm up, Umbrella boys, etc.

As basic as it sounds, this made me feel awesome. I was confident in those techniques, it gave me something to focus on and I suddenly wasn’t scared of the heat anymore. I was aware it was hot, but I was okay with it because we had all these McGyver techniques that I could use to help me out.

So I started the race super confident and fired up. I had a good start and after two laps, I was in the top ten and feeling good. But at some point, I suddenly started feeling super dizzy and a bit nauseous. It just ht=it be out of the blue. I knew that feeling and I knew that I shouldn’t push it too much. It was frustrating because I wanted to keep pushing and battling, but I knew that feeling too well and wasn’t willing to get too deep into it. I spent the rest of the race managing that dizziness and focusing on what didn’t require my body to create too much heat; the technical sections and cornering. A few times I tried to push it, but my body quickly reminded me I had to back off.

I lost positions during the whole 2nd half of the race and finished in 20th place, not feeling very good. I was cooked. It was a bit frustrating to know that I wasn’t pushing as hard as I wanted to, but that was the best my body could do in that heat and I have to respect that. It’s easy to judge ourselves in those situations, but honestly, I was quite proud of myself after that race because I think I managed it pretty well and it was a huge step in the right direction to make me more confident in the heat.

In the end, it hasn’t been the beginning of season that I wanted. In my opinion, I’ve had two pretty mediocre performances at the first 2 World Cups, but I’m honestly not too worried about it. It’s a long season and I’m confident I can be where I want to be. 

Despite these results, I’ve had a really good time racing, preparing for the races, chit-chatting with the cross communtiy and hanging out with the team.  It’s pretty special to have these 2 World Cups in North America and I’m grateful I got to participate in those. The support from the fans have been amazing and as usual, I feel like I am the luckiest to be on a team, working with my favorite people.

The next race is KMC Cross Fest, which will be the first event of the US CUP series. Should be fun. 

Here's a very cool video that Bill at CXHairs made for the team: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZjcjl2lwlu/?taken-by=maghroch

Love these guys. Hannah would also be a part of the hug, but she was not there... We all struggled that day in Waterloo, but at the end of the day, when you your best and spend a weekend doing what you love with people you love, it's hard to be too bummed out :) 

Love these guys. Hannah would also be a part of the hug, but she was not there... We all struggled that day in Waterloo, but at the end of the day, when you your best and spend a weekend doing what you love with people you love, it's hard to be too bummed out :) 

Pre-riding with my faves. 

Pre-riding with my faves. 

Racing. 

Racing. 

Katerine won the first World Cup! Even though I was kind of bummed for myself, I was so very proud and happy for her :) 

Katerine won the first World Cup! Even though I was kind of bummed for myself, I was so very proud and happy for her :) 

We were so fired up before the race in Waterloo! Photo by Clark Maxwell. 

We were so fired up before the race in Waterloo! Photo by Clark Maxwell. 

No so fired up after the race... 

No so fired up after the race... 

Cooked... 

Cooked... 

Just hanging out in an ice bucket after the race...

Just hanging out in an ice bucket after the race...