Mont Sainte Anne World Cup, Quebec:
My biggest goal coming into this season was to qualify for a World Cup finals. Mont Sainte Anne was definitely the perfect place to do just that. I had some experience on the track from Nationals being held there the year before, so memorizing and learning the track was a lot easier. I took practice very seriously as I had only one full day before my qualifying run. When my qualifying run came around I had everything dialed and memorized. I took it a little cautiously as I didn't want to throw it away. I ended up just squeaking into finals at 74th. I was beyond stoked to be able to compete on Sunday. I kept hitting my same lines and was feeling very confident on the track. I had nothing to lose on Sunday so I gave it everything and didn't hold back. I really had no idea where I would place with a good run like I had, so when I crossed the line I was just so happy I had put together a solid run. It didn't feel insanely fast because I had every line and pedal section so dialed in practice that it was like a roller coaster and I didn't have to think about the small details I just "got out of my own way" and let myself ride, not over thinking. I came down and went into the 2nd spot on the hot seat behind Andrew Neethling. I stayed there for quite a while until I got bumped to 3rd and then eventually off the hot seat when the top 40 guys started coming down. To end up 33rd was crazy and exceeded my goals of a top 60 by a lot.
Crankworx Canadian Open/Canada Cup #3, Whistler:
Next was Crankworx in Whistler. The Canadian Open track is the most fun track in BC for me. I had a lot of fun riding in practice! My race run was a little scattered but I put down a solid run and ended up 15th, accomplishing my goal of top fifteen. I was very happy with how it turned out and was relieved that I was in good health for World Champs, which I had to fly out for two days after Crankworx. My placing that weekend secured me into 2nd overall in the Canada Cup series!! I was very stoked on this and I ticked off another goal on my list.
World Championships, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa:
Just to be invited to compete at World Championships this year was amazing. Being my first year as an elite, I wasn't sure if I would be selected. The Canadian National team wanted us there a week early to get adjusted to the time zone and country, so I left a few days after Crankworx. The first day of practice was a week after we had arrived. The hardest thing to get used to was the dirt, which was either hard packed or loose sand. The track in Pietermaritzburg is a lot of fun to practice with the big jumps and drifty flat corners. Racing it is a bit of a different story though. With a minute flat pedaling section in the middle, it really tests your mental and physical strength. I was scrambling a little in the first days of practice and didn't really feel comfortable on the track until Sunday morning. I had a good clean race run and pedaled the hardest I ever have. My body felt like it just shut down as I crossed the line. Even with all the sprints and training I did throughout the winter, I've never felt that exhausted in my life. I was .04 of a second behind my fellow Canadian Sid Slotegraaf. I had decided before I dropped in for my run that if I leave everything on the track and push it as far as I can that would be a win for me. I did that and finished 45th which I was not super excited about but definitely satisfied with. It was a very cool experience to travel to South Africa, thanks to my awesome teammates it was a great trip! Thanks as well to the the National team staff and mechanics for another amazing World Champs!!
Got featured in a Pinkbike article "35 bikes from World Champs"
I know I've used the words awesome, fun and amazing a lot in this blog post but it really sums up my season. I had a couple bad races and crashes this season but I learned from those mistakes and finished the season a more experienced and faster racer. Having the chance to race in Scotland, Italy, South Africa, Quebec and BC in one summer was an incredible experience. I have never had the confidence in my riding that I have now. Accomplishing my goals, and exceeding them in some cases, is a pretty cool feeling.
I didn't have the budget to attend the last two rounds of the World Cup this year which I was a little disappointed about but it just makes me more motivated to acquire the support to race a full World Cup season in 2014. I feel that I have a lot to work off of this winter, I know what I need to improve and I have a pretty good idea how to do it. I will try and take a few weeks off from my bike and training in September, but when I was coming home on the plane from SA I already started thinking about how I wanted to train this off season and where I wanted to be for next season.
Cheers to my family, friends and sponsors who have supported me this season!! I can't thank you enough for giving me this opportunity to travel, race and just generally have good times riding bikes!!
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