Part of me finds it hard to believe that the London Olympics wrapped up over a year ago. sometimes it feels like just yesterday that we moved into the village, nervous and starstruck among the world’s sporting greats. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like much time has passed at all. i can still remember the hot, sweaty air inside the velodrome, and the deafening roar of the crowd.
I could never have predicted this last year going the way it’s gone – finally feeling part of a winning team at Worlds, only to have it all torn apart by the death of one of our closest friends. Starting a road season in the most negative of spaces and yet somehow still holding it together enough to take two pro wins by the end of May. Looking back now, it’s not surprising that I cracked so hard mid-way through the season. Although at the time I couldn’t see how badly I needed a break, and instead buried myself beneath crushing shame and embarrassment over what I viewed as backing out on my commitments, I’m glad now that I stepped away from the race calendar when I did.
I am incredibly lucky to have had such wonderful support from Specialized-lululemon, and from Cycling Canada. With their blessing I was able to take some much-needed time off, and come October, I was anxious to step back onto the world stage and perform well. In the first two international races of the year, our pursuit team collected double silver medals, and I won my first ever individual medal in the Manchester World Cup omnium. everything was going well, except for the lingering chest infection I just couldn’t kick.
Unfortunately, the Aguascalientes World Cup in December turned out to be my last track race of the season. I did everything I could to manage my health (training less, eating well, sleeping constantly, dosing myself with as much echinacea and oil of oregano as possible) but by the start of the new year, I was laid out with bronchitis. And then a sinus infection. And then a severe case of influenza requiring hospitalization. And then finally an asthma diagnosis and some sweet new drugs that let me breathe again.
The past few months haven’t been easy. It’s very difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch my teammates take the world by storm, and not be able to support them. it’s panic-inducing to lay in bed for weeks, watching my quads slowly shrink down into nothing, and be unable to do anything about it. However, once I finally accepted the reality of my situation, I became determined to enjoy this unexpected vacation as much as I could. To be honest, these past few months have been the longest consecutive time I’ve spent at home in years, and that’s nothing to be upset about.
i’ve been back on the bike for one month now with the aim of competing at the Tour of California with my new Vanderkitten teammates, and everything is going well. I’m a fair bit slower than I was at this time last year, but I’m not tired and i’m definitely not sick anymore and the idea of riding my bike is still so novel that even the constant rain isn’t a deterrent.
Happy springtime, everyone!
Stay tuned for more updates soon.