Do you celebrate successes as much as you dwell on losses?

Over the past month, I’ve struggled to stay positive, and even experienced days where I questioned my commitment to cycling—but this is not uncommon as an athlete. Before beginning my pre-season training, like most athletes, I highlighted the races that were most important to me, that is, which ones I wanted to peak for.  At the top of my list was Canadian Road Championships. Up until last month, everything was going pretty stellar. I was following my training plan diligently, feeling strong and confident in early season races, and, much to my surprise, even learning to focus on recovery and embrace rest. So, when I developed a chronic knee injury less than one month before Nationals, and my training log slowly morphed into that of a couch potato, to say that I was upset would be an understatement.

After skipping a few local races, seeking treatment from my expert healing team, stretching, foam rolling and even toilet plunging (an innovative and affordable home myofascial release technique) myself silly—my knee pain persisted. I wasn’t about to let all of those miserable rainy and indoor training rides go to waste, by skipping what was meant to be the highlight of my season. So, I stocked up on ibuprofen, chinese herbal remedies, topical anti-inflammatory and three different types of athletic and kinesio tape and committed to race Banff Bike Fest as a prelude to Nationals.

Long story short, I managed to race through the pain in Banff, though my prior couch potato streak took its toll. Once in Quebec, I tried to block out all feelings of unpreparedness and self-doubt, focused on my strengths and geared up for the main event. Well, there was no sugar coating my performance—I had a horrible ride on all accounts. After the race, I somehow forgot all of my previous achievements and zoned in on this as a giant failure. Thankfully, I have tons of supportive people in my life that are willing to help me put a positive spin on things and focus on the big picture.

I re-categorized Nationals as a training race for the remainder of the season and re-grouped for the Criterium Challenge, in which I placed 4th. After hanging my head low in a brief moment of disappointment for missing the podium, I recalled a question asked of me earlier this year: “Do you celebrate successes as much as you dwell on losses?” Reminiscing about some of my less-than-enthusiastic podium appearances, with respect to my reaction to yesterday’s defeat, I could now easily answer this question. Time to change. So, rather than viewing my result as “Podium Bridesmaid”, I celebrated my improvement from last year’s mid-pack finish, and considered it an indication of my soon-to-be super fast crit-legs for BC Superweek. On another positive note, this was my first knee-pain-free day!

Back in Vancouver, I’ve been given the go ahead to train through any remnant knee pain and prepare for my upcoming three-week racing stint, including Superweek and Cascade Cycling Classic. With only 2 days of un-scheduled racing in these three weeks, I can now see my knee injury in a positive light—a forced mid-season rest, or much-needed speed bump, for an athlete whose primary struggle is knowing when to slow down (with the exception of descending!).

I can already feel the butterflies stewing in my stomach, as rumors soar that BC Superweek is attracting almost triple the number of women racers that it has in previous years. I am particularly motivated to have good legs in time for Global Relay’s Gastown Grand Prix, having just missed the podium in a tight sprint for 3rd last year. I think I speak on behalf of all the aspiring women cyclists in BC, in thanking race organizers, promoters, and sponsors for bringing a good chunk of the pro peloton to BC. Since many of us struggle, logistically and financially, to make it to the big races, Superweek offers a unique opportunity for us to showcase our talent in attempt to make the leap to a professional team.