I’m sitting in the plane on my way back home and it feels like my heart beats a little too fast and my thoughts are turning a bit too quickly.
This whole past week has been so much fun and I have a hard time explaining how it feels inside me right now. There is definitely an overflow of emotion going on in there… A mix of excitement, love, happiness, gratefulness and pride.
Ever since Louisville hosted the CX Worlds in 2013, I always dreamt of racing cyclocross Worlds one day. In the previous years, I have qualified to represent Canada, but with the team (Clif Pro Team), we decided that I wasn't ready. Although this fall, something kind of clicked in my mind and I found some new confidence, calmness and peace towards racing. I don't know if I became more mature, or more independent, or whatever it was, but something changed in my approach to racing and we decided that I was ready for a first experience at Worlds. I was thrilled to start preparing and the team's trust in me boosted my confidence even more.
With such an opportunity, David and I sat and prepared a plan. My palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy. But luckily I had no vomit on my sweater already, none of my mom's spaghetti. I was nervous, but on the surface I looked calm and ready to drop bombs.
I mean, what if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted? Would you capture it?
We decided we weren't going to let it slip.
Following Eminem's wise advice, we prepared well and we had a blast doing so. After 2 months of intense, focused, sustained and creative training (and good company/motivation from Canadian extra-festiver Ruby West) I felt ready and excited to head to Europe.
The trip started with a few days with Cycling Canada in Belgium until I joined my Clif Pro Team teammates for the Hoogerheide World Cup. I had a blast and a half racing there and felt like I had a great performance. The result wasn't anything amazing (I got 18th), but I was super proud since I knew I had had a good race. We also had great fun, which made the weekend a success.
The next day, we traveled to Luxembourg where we had an amazing week. Eva, Katerina and I were rooming, eating, riding, crashing, stretching and laughing together every day...I wonder how they never got too tired of me! We had so much fun that week and I felt so grateful to be preparing for the race with those 2, Waldek and Michel. Everyone was super positive and the vibe was just great; I felt calmer and happier than ever. To me, that trip had already been a success and I was just fired up to race and give it my all. I felt as excited as a fat kid on a fallen piece of chocolate!
After a few course pre-rides and some good riding and line choice advice from my teammates, race day finally arrived.
Race day - Pre race:
- Get to the venue at 12:30
- Wait in the car with Katka. We have at least 4conversations going like this: "It's probably time to get ready now." "Yeah, I think so too...Ugh never mind. It's been 2 minutes since we last checked".
- Finally time to get dressed. Tiny warm up on rollers, listen to the very exciting U23 race on the microphone.
- Pre-ride lap with Katerina. She gives me a few pointers. "She is so awesome."
- Verdict after pre-ride: It’s slippery and fun. We are pumped.
- Come back to the car. Change in race clothes.
- Michel does his thing and by the time I finish to dress up, all my bikes are ready to go. 18psi front and rear on PDX Clement tires.
- Think to myself : “That was so smooth. Michel is awesome”.
- Warm up on Feedback Sport trainer.
- High five + last words of wisdom from Dave!
- Get to the line.
- Vote for Athlete representative. Couple of sprints.
- Last minuet freakout about what gloves should I wear? Thin or thick? Thick or thin?
- Thin gloves.
- Last sip of water and high five from Waldek. We repeat our new favorite moto “No balls, no glory”. Fist pump.
- Ready to go.
- Get stuck between the curb and people. "Crap I am almost last!"
- First corner: everyone slows down. “My chance to bomb down and pass from the outside”.
- "IIIHHHHHHHH!!!" Success. Didn't crash and I'm not last anymore.
- Same thing on second corner. “Yiihaa!”
- Someone crashes. “Get around Magh”. Only got tangled up a little bit with the Japanese girl - all good!
- End of lap one: “Holy shit, the first group is right there!" Let's get there!
- Catch up to Katka on 2nd lap. “WTF! Amazing, I will follow her. I can do this, like in training”.
- “Oh no, she has a flat!” Worry about her for a few seconds. “I better not follow her now, wouldn't want to crash into her.”
- Infinite amount of “Iiihhhhhh” and “Ohhhhh” and “phew!” going on in my head as make my way up the field on the slippery course.
- Finally get around the Luxembourg girl after many attempts.
- Katka catches up to me. “Yes!! I’ll try to follow her”.
- Riding with Katka and Eva in top 5. “OMFG. This is so awesome!”
- "Stop freaking out Magh, focus!"
- Almost bridge to the first group of 3 on many occasions, but never quite make it.
- Maybe I’m too starstruck to actually believe I can go? Try to convince myself. “N-n-no, I belong here. All good, just stay calm”.
- Hands are frozen.
- "Should have gone with thicker gloves." "It's all good, stop worrying about that!"
- Eventually settle into 5th place.
- Get on the final pavement. Hear that Katka got 3rd. “YES!”
- “Holy crap I got 5th “
- Clap hands with the crowd.
- Eva got 6th. “What a day for the team”.
- Hugs with Scotty, Waldek, Eva and Katka at finish line.
- Stay around for Katka’s podium. Overflow of happiness, so proud of her/happy for her!
- Celebrate with David and Michel and Waldek at the team truck. So much excitement.
- Lots of dancing/rapping to Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” in the car with David.
- Team dinner. Celebration. Freak out.
- Some English, French, Czech and Italian is spoken. “I love my teammates.” “J'adore mon équipe.” “Miluji Te everyone!”
- CX is so awesome.
- Some chanting (yelling?) happens: “When I say Cyclocross, you say Fever.” Cyclocross! Fever! Cyclocross! Fever!
- “Dobrou Noc”
- Conclusion: Cyclocross is awesome. I feel so grateful.
I'm still trying to make sense of my emotions. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that even though I'm happy of the result, it is just the cherry on the cake. What really makes me smile is thinking about the journey up to that point, the people who helped me along the way, the many laughs and tears that were had and the memories that were created. Mostly, I'm feeling extremely grateful for the support I have received before and after the race and feel so lucky that I was able to share this experience and these good moments with the people I love.
For believing in me, teaching me, helping me grow up, supporting me in good and bad moments, for providing me with the best exemple, for challenging me, for forcing me to be honest with myself and become a better person/athlete, thank you: Clif Pro Team, all of our sponsors, Waldek, my teammates and dear friends, mom & dad, my sister, my family, my boyfriend/coach/partner in crime David, my friends and training partners,my personal sponsors, my fans and all of you who caught the CXFever; THANK YOU!
There are so many people I want to thank. Including you, Eminem.
Can't wait for the next adventure!