Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, Bell Lap Coaching, cyclo-cross, cyclo-cross training, Germany, Marc Boudreau, St. Wendel, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas, world championships, World Cyclo-Cross Championships
Here at KingsBridge we’re all about disaster recovery, and in a way, our sponsored cyclo-cross racer Vicki Thomas is on a path of disaster recovery as well. Read on to learn about Vicki’s recovery process from ulcerative colitis…
Got some excellent news yesterday from my Belgian gastro doctor: my recent blood sample shows no signs of inflammation. This means that I’m on my way to full recovery from this recent ulcerative colitis flare. The other piece of good news is that my body is responding well to the Imuran. Definitely the news I’ve been waiting to hear!
I had four days of excellent riding in a row and ended up taking a much needed rest day yesterday. It is so easy to forget during my recovery process that I don’t have nearly the same fitness, strength or reserves that I had in the past. It is amazing to me how much I’ve lost in such a short time.
I think what did me in yesterday was the three hour ride on Tuesday. In retrospect, this was probably a much too ambitious ride to do considering that four weeks ago I was in the hospital hooked up to an intravenous line and eating only chicken broth and dry toast… But it is this ambition that has got me where I am…
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of my recovery process for me has been my mental state. If you’re a regular reader of this web site, you’ll be familiar with my mental battles. All too frequently I would battle my “crazy brain” and lack self-confidence. Well, I’m proud to say that mentally, I’m feeling 100 per cent. It would be easy to get frustrated about my current lack of fitness and strength – but I know this will come back. How I’m riding and recovery right now will not be permanent. If anything this rotten 2010-2011 season has reinforced my mental resolve and strength – I know I didn’t ride and race like I can – so I’m super stoked to get out there and really race the way I know I can.
This period of recovery has also emphasized to me how important it is to get back to the basics. Basics of cyclo-cross like: smooth transitions and pedaling and focus and aggression on the bike. You might find the word “aggression” a strange on my website. But it is going to be a keyword for my 2011-2012 season. Last night over dinner, Marc pointed out that I’m not aggressive on my bike during cyclo-cross races – instead of fighting for positions at the start, I slip into a complacent mode of being “at the back” – the opposite of how I used to approach my cyclo-cross racing. This we determined is because “I got used to being in the back”. Well this is changing for the new season. I don’t want to be at the back nor am I going to be at the back.
One of the best parts of my recovery process has been the freedom to let my legs and mind wander. While out on the bike I can ride as hard and for as long as I want. My mind is free to simply relax and enjoy the moment. I’m not focusing on wattage numbers, cadence, the next interval, etc. If I am thinking it is typically about the drills and skills I need to focus on when I get home to make me a better racer.
Would I prefer to be in St. Wendel, Germany right now getting ready to race in the World Cyclo-Cross Championships on Sunday? Yes! This was my season goal after all. But everything happens for a reason and I can’t dwell on what didn’t happen. I know that really this season was out of my control. My body took over and I simply couldn’t race my bike.
I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in this recovery phase. I think the next phase will be the re-building stage where with expert guidance from coach Steve Weller, I’ll start getting my fitness and strength back. In a twisted sort of way, I’m looking forward to riding the trainer in my basement in Ottawa – this will be a sure sign that I’m on my way to a bigger and better 2011-2012 season.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, Karl Hoppner, Marc Boudreau, Masters World Cyclo-Cross Championships, vicki thomas
Bit late on this recap of the weekend and the racing that happened… Life just kind of took over….
Marc raced in Langemark, Belgium on Saturday on a very heavy and muddy course. This is a “classic” Belgian race course featuring deep mud and not much else. The feeling before the race was that it would be a leg sucker. Marc had a decent ride and came out with a good result. Some bike trouble at the beginning did set him back but once he got that sorted he was riding really well. I took a bunch of photos and have posted them on Facebook.
On Sunday we were off to Bakel, Holland for day two of the double-header. The race course in Holland was in stark contrast to the race in Belgium. Sentiment was that it was very similar to the racing in the United States. Fast. Twisty. Dry. The course was in a great location – a nature park basically in the middle of the town of Bakel. It was a very relaxing day – warm weather and just the perfect place to have a race. Marc had another decent race, though starting at the back of 64 guys is a bit challenging considering the twisty nature of the course. I took a bunch of photos of Marc, Kevin Hines, Jonny Bold, Peter Webber, Brandon Dwight and Kurt Perham. (Check out Facebook.) After Marc and Rene’s race we hung out and watched Karl, Yohan and Benjamin race.
To close off the day we hopped in our car and followed Rene to his place. We had a great evening of chatting, laughing and good food. To top it off, Marc got a new haircut!
It was very different for me simply being a spectator – I must admit that I definitely did miss racing this weekend. Well, I didn’t really want to race in Langemark but I wish I could have raced in Bakel.
Marc has the Master’s World Cyclo-Cross Championships this weekend in Mol, Belgium. This will be a great time I’m sure – looking forward to cheering on Marc and just being out for the day. We only have a few more weeks left here in Belgium and then we’ll be back in Ottawa… Sigh…
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, Bell Lap Coaching, Canadian National Cyclo-Cross Championships, Champions Systems Canada, Clif Bar, cyclo-cross, cyclo-cross training, Hasselt, KingsBridge Disaster Recovery, Koksijde World Cup, Marc Boudreau, Neil, Oakley, Outdoor Gear Canada, Stevens Bikes Canada, Stevens Carbon Team DA, The Cyclery, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas, world championships, World Cup
Vicki here with my ruminations on this past cyclo-cross season….
For a cyclo-cross racer, this is kind of an odd time to be writing about my cyclo-cross season. But as you know, my season was cut short in December… I’ve had some time to think about this 2010-2011 cyclo-cross season and I thought I’d let you in on these thoughts….
In a nutshell, this was a very disappointing cyclo-cross season. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted or planned. The goals I set weren’t achieved. And quite frankly I didn’t race the way I can or wanted. This was not for want of trying. In fact sometimes I wonder if I “tried” to hard. I wonder what my season would have been like if when I first got sick again last May, I’d backed off on the training and let my body heal. But hindsight is 20/20. I felt good on the bike and everything was pointing towards the training benefits paying off into the cyclo-cross race season. But this didn’t happen. I fought my body each and every time I got on the bike to race this year. Is this an excuse for why my season didn’t live up to my expectations? I’m not sure – it is what it is.
I worked hard in the off-season on my technical skills. But still I have much more room to improve in this area. In fact more than my struggles with the ulcerative colitis this season, I wonder if my technical skills held me back more than my health struggles? I pushed myself technically this spring/summer/fall, but I still believe I can push myself more. There are skills that I simply need to “get”. Being smooth in my transitions. Really understanding gearing and how it applies to different terrain: sand, mud, steep climbs, off-cambers, etc. Technically I’ve come along way, but this season has shown me that I still have further to go. By making improvements technically, I think I can really improve my cyclo-cross racing.
Really there are no results to write about here. After a few weeks into the season it became pretty clear that the results I had attained last season were going to be pretty darn hard to achieve. Instead I had to look at each races as an opportunity to test myself technically and to simply just focus on getting around for 40 minutes. Not really what goes through the mind of an elite cyclo-cross racer on the start line. But it is what it is. I did have some races that I was happy/content with – my ride at Niel was decent for my first muddy slog of a Belgian race, I had a blast at Aspere Gavere and was stoked to be able to ride the crazy descent, Hasselt was fun as usual, and I really felt like I had a decent ride at Koksijde. Sand is still very challenging for me, but I felt like I rode better at Koksijde this year than I did last. Actually, even the Canadian Cyclo-Cross Nationals were okay for me – I was 16th – not the result I wanted or expected… But through it all, I didn’t quit, I stayed positive and just focused on leaving it out there. It just so happens that this year it was 16th (rather than 7th the previous two seasons…). If anything this cyclo-cross season has taught me more than ever to focus on performance rather than outcome. It would have been so easy to quit and crack if I had been only looking at my name on the results sheet.
Mentally, this has been my strongest season ever. There was a point at the start of the season when I didn’t know about the ridiculous anemia and the effects the ulcerative colitis was having on my ability to perform that I did worry that my “head had fallen off”. I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t race the way I believed I should be. Immediately I started to worry that I just didn’t want it badly enough. But deep down, I knew this wasn’t the case. Honestly it was a relief to find out I was fighting my body and not my brain. I’ve come a long way mentally in this bike racing game. It hasn’t been easy. But I think I’ve found my groove. I’m confident. I believe in myself. And I’ve learned to ignore the idiots out there – yes, in our little Ottawa cyclo-cross community there are people who were (and probably still are) talking “trash” behind my back and to others about how “Vicki sucks”. Well, I let this get to me for a bit but then I realized that I just simply don’t care about those idiots. I don’t have time to let them get in my brain. I suppose the hardest part with this has been wondering why people bother saying “crap” about others – what is the point in being outright mean to another person? Sometimes I’m tempted to say something face-to-face to these people – but what is the point – idiots just don’t get it. So thanks to my strengthened mental resolve and confidence, I was able to come out of this negative aspect of the season on top. I’m a good bike racer. I’m a strong bike racer. Those who know me, know this. As for the others – I just don’t care.
So where does this leave me for 2011-2012 cyclo-cross season? Well, I’m eager to start training again. But I’m not rushing things. I have to get healthy before I can do this. I have been out on my bike for the last three days and the riding has been slow but enjoyable. I find the riding now is not “effortless” like it was. But I know the strength and form will come back. I’ve got some goals set for the upcoming cyclo-cross season and I’m hoping to get out to do some road racing this summer as well. I’ll be out on all three bikes this spring and summer: mountain, road and cyclo-cross – plugging away and enjoying every minute of it.
One aspect to this cyclo-cross season that can’t be overlooked is of course my sponsors. I’m a very lucky bike racers. I’ve got amazing sponsors who support me for who I am and what I represent. They are not hung up on my results or podiums – they’re about getting the brand out there with a positive image. For this I’m very fortunate. It was very hard for me to contact my sponsors in December and let them know about the end of my cyclo-cross season. I have such a solid connection with all of my sponsors that I really felt like I was letting them down. The response I received from each and everyone of them was overwhelming. In a nutshell: get better don’t worry about the racing. Yep, pretty darn lucky. So a big thanks to:
- KingsBridge Disaster Recovery
- The Cyclery
- Stevens Bikes Canada
- Champion Systems Canada
- Clif Bar
- Bell Lap Coaching
- Outdoor Gear Canada
And many many thanks to the sponsor behind all of these fine companies: Marc. Marc has once again made this cyclo-cross season a reality. His faith and belief in me really keeps me going. It would have been easy to pack it in this season and change my plans and goals. But Marc wouldn’t let me do this. He was there to keep me steady and to remind me of what is important to me. Right now, I’m getting so much satisfaction from seeing Marc race so well. He is having an awesome cyclo-cross season and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Hopefully his success and experience will trickle down to me.
So there you have it. My thoughts and ruminations on my 2010-2011 cyclo-cross season. It wasn’t what I expected or planned. But it happened and I made the best of it. Do I wish my season was still happening and that I was getting ready to racing in St. Wendel, Germany – damn straight I do! In the end I was 5 UCI point short of making the qualification standards. Pretty darn good, all things considered. This time next year, I plan to be writing a blog post about my thoughts on the upcoming World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Koksijde, Belgium – my thoughts on what I want out of the race. That’s right – I’m going to be there on that start line on January 29, 2012.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Affligem, Belgium, cyclo-cross, Karl Hoppner, Marc Boudreau, Six Days of Rotterdam, vicki thomas
Life revolves around bikes this weekend in Belgium….
Saturday was all about bikes. Cyclo-cross bikes. Track bikes. A very good day indeed.
I tagged along with Marc to Affligem to cheer him on during his cyclo-cross race. I had a great time (rain and wind aside). I hadn’t watched Marc race since Drongen in late November. On top of the bonus of getting to watch Marc race, I had a great time hanging out with Luc before, during and after the race. After the race we chilled out in the cafe and I got to catch up with a bunch of our cyclo-cross friends. Definitely a good way to spend the first part of the day. Marc had a good ride and finished in fourth place.
We zipped back to Blauberg, quick unpack of the car, change into dry clothes and then we were off again. The four of us (Marc, Karl, Alex and I) went to Rotterdam last night to catch a night of track racing. The Six Days of Rotterdam is a very cool and special track racing event. I don’t know much about track racing but it is a pretty fun night out and the atmosphere at the Ahoy! arena is pretty special. The track racing night really is a spectacle. The riders are all introduced with a great deal of fanfare and special song. Through-out the night the announcer keeps things lively and gets the crowd excited. To top it off the music played is over the top – ranging from 80s techno to current day hits, the music really keeps people smiling and cheering. Clearly the crowd favorites last night was the team of Schep and Bos. These guys were pretty darn fast. As was the sprint World Champion Bauge. The speeds that these guys ripped around the track was amazing. As was the size of their legs!
I think we all had a fun time. We had awesome seats – two rows up from the track so we could really feel the speed of the racers as they flew by. Around the arena there were many displays of different bikes, manufacturers, and books. The Right To Play organization was there as well – Marc gifted me a very cool Right to Play zip-up jacket. Right to Play is a special organization and is doing excellent work in the developing world to foster a healthy and safe environment for children.
The track racing went on until after midnight but we were all a bit weary and only managed to stay until just after 11. All in all, a good night was had. To top it off it was Alex’s birthday so when we got back here at about 12:30 we all had a bit of super tasty birthday cake before hitting the sack. Have to say there is nothing quite like the chocolate cake from the Blauberg bakery…
As for today? Well, it is a beautiful day. So riding is in order. Jos and Ed are coming by and we’re setting out on an easy paced ride. Marc and Karl have got specific work-outs to do – so we’ll let the speed demons do their own thing! Then this afternoon it is all about the Belgian National Cyclo-Cross Championships. Truth be told, I’m more interested in the women’s race and how my friends will make out than the men’s race… I think one of the most interesting championship races happening today will be the Dutch Women’s National Cyclo-Cross Championships – it will be interesting to see who comes out on top: Vos, Van De Brand or Van Passen.
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, Kalmthout World Cup, Karl Hoppner, Marc Boudreau, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas, World Cup
Ever wonder what it is really like to race at a World Cup?…
Up early today, lots of snow on the ground and the drive to Kalmthout is going to be slow. No problems, this is why I always pack my race bag the night before. Okay into the car with Marc and we’re off. We made it with plenty of time and now I can get settled into my pre-race routine. Marc is off to check out the course and to cheer on Karl.
My race is at 1:30 so I’ve got lots of time to get ready, pin on my numbers and eat my pre-race meal. Just the way I like it – lots of time to relax and get in my groove before the race. I put some music on and let the course run through my brain. I see the start and the first entrance onto the course. It is going to be icy and it is going to be slippery. Fine with me, I’m pretty comfortable in these conditions. I’m running the file treads today and I’ve got the pressure set just right so I’ll get some good traction and still be able to roll over the bumps and lumps in the snow and ice. Really there is only one line today. Keep your wheels in this line, head up and remember to keep pedaling and everything will be fine. Super icy corners – I’ll likely dismount and quickly run them. Up and over the stairs as quick as I can. Sprint into the fly-over and let the bike flow on the way down. Keep pedaling. Eyes up.
Time is starting to tick by. I like to eat two hours before my race so it is time to dig out my plastic container with my homemade ride pudding. This is white rice cooked in water and then I add sliced banana, a blob of natural peanut butter and rice milk to give it the pudding texture. Carbs. Protein. Comfort. Perfect pre-race meal. Marc is back and is busy with my bikes. Luc and Ignance are here now as well – everyone is starting to get a bit excited. I’ve got my skinsuit pinned up and my race clothing is ready to go. Cold one today so I’ve decided to go with leg warmers and my Sealskinz socks and gloves.
Alright, what is the time? 12:00. Okay, time to get some warm-up clothes on and hop on the trainer. I like to ride for 45 minutes to an hour to get loose and ready for the race. It helps me stay relaxed and actually takes my mind off the race a bit. I ride, chat with people as they come by and just enjoy the moments. My warm-up routine is roughly 20 minutes or so of easy riding followed by 4:30 minutes of tempo with a 30 second all out effort, recover for 5 minutes and repeat the effort – I follow this with more easy spinning.
Ah, good warm-up. Legs feel really good. They ticked over really nicely and I was able to really open up the legs. Just the sensations I want before a race. Okay the race starts in 40 minutes or so. Off the bike for a quick pee. Back on the bike for more spinning. 1:00 – time to pull on my race clothes and then back on the trainer for a few more minutes. Wow, it is 1:15 already – time to get over to the start. Quickly change my shoes and socks – I always like to start with dry shoes and socks. Quick hug and kiss from Marc and I’m off.
I love riding up and down the start/finish straight of the race course. It is relaxed yet tense at the same time. A collision of all ranges of emotions happens in this very short space. Some of the other racers are visibly nervous. Others are super relaxed and are joking. The fans are starting to come out and crowd along the course barriers. I see Luc and Johnny – they’ve got their cameras ready and are already cheering for me. I pedal along up and down, chatting with my friends and really just wishing the race would start.
The whistle blows and we’re all in the start area waiting for our call-up. I’m in the fourth row today. Ah well, no big deal. Everyone is pushing trying to move up a bit – trying to get an edge on the start. The gun goes off. We’re off. Okay, sprint, settle in, catch a wheel. Ya – nice start. Here comes the corner, pay attention to drifting wheels and listen for squealing brakes. Crash, no problems you saw it coming and got around it. Onto the snow and ice. That’s it. Settle. Settle. Relax your shoulders. Just pedal now. You know what to do. Look up. Easy on the brake. Here comes that icy corner that Karl told you about, off your bike and around you go, back on the bike sprint up to speed. Settle in. Breathe. Calm. By the pits – there’s Marc and Ignance – they’re cheering and pointing at the good line. Get ready for the fly-over. Sprint. Sprint. Keep pedaling up and over and pedal on the way down. Good job. Okay back into some slippery stuff. Don’t lean the bike too much. Relax. Pedal. Good job. Ah the bike is sliding, stick out that foot and catch the bike. Nice! I hear Luc cheering for me. By the pits a second time. “Nice ride” “Good job” Onto the pavement and time to go around again. It is a fast one today. Five more laps to go. I can do it. I’m loving the course and having a great day on the bike. Keep going. Pedal. Focus. The bell lap! Yes, the bell lap. I’ve done it. Good job Vicki. Just keep it going now. By the pits – Marc is so pumped up. “Awesome ride” Okay, just stay calm and upright now. Onto the pavement, there is the finish line. Give it one more big hard effort. Ah, I did it. There’s Denise with my warm-up clothes. Luc is there taking some pictures. I’m ecstatic. Excellent race today. What a feeling.
I roll back to the car. Put on some more warm clothes and onto the trainer. I like to spin out my legs for 20 minutes or so after each race. Helps me keep them fresh for the next day and it gives me time to think about the race. Today I can’t stop smiling. I just had such a great ride. Everything seemed to come together today. What a feeling. I love this sport. Marc and Ignance are back from the pits – Marc is stoked. We talk about the race as he and Ignance clean my bikes. Okay, time to get changed and eat some food. Ah, what a day. Couldn’t have asked for more.
Car is packed and before I know it we’re back in Blauberg. Great day. Karl and I vote for Sultan’s for supper. We monopolize the supper time conversation by talking about our races and what we loved about the course and how it felt out there. Marc, Alex and Denise try but they can’t get word in. Great day. Can’t wait for the next race. Thanks for the cheering and support.
(Of course this is a fictional account of today’s World Cup race in Kalmthout, Belgium. I wasn’t able to race today due to my illness. But this is how I imagined the day and I’m pretty sure how it would have turned out. Nothing quite like the emotions of race day.)
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, Bend, Clif Bar, cyclo-cross, Essen, Marc Boudreau, Oregon, Overijse, U.S. National Cyclo-Cross Championships, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas
Since I’ve been forced to take a break from racing and training, thought I’d share with you my tips on being a cyclo-cross fan…
I am a cyclo-cross racer. My husband, Marc, is also a cyclo-cross racer. This means I spend a lot of time at cyclo-cross race venues. Typically Marc’s race is early in the morning (10 a.m. or so) and my race is in the early afternoon (2 p.m or so) – we like to arrive two hours before Marc’s race and we stay until my race. So I really do spend a lot of time at the ‘cross race.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks that come in handy when preparing to be a fan all day. First off a few tips on things to bring with you to make your day of cheering as comfortable as possible:
- a folding chair – one that you can easily cart around with you
- a good book – yes there will be moments during the day when you won’t know anyone racing or simply want a break from the racing action – a good book goes along way in beating the quiet times
- a thermos – fill this with your beverage of choice: earl grey tea, strong dark coffee, chai latte, hot chocolate, soup – the options are endless – but know that you’ll be happy to have a nice warm drink to keep you company during the day
- easy-to-eat real food – think tortilla wraps with peanut butter/banana, sandwiches with hearty fillings like chicken and avocado, fruit that doesn’t requiring peeling or stickiness (so basically an apple or pear), natural energy bars (Clif Bar products like the Clif C bar come to mind)
- clothes for all conditions – a hoodie to keep you warm, a scarf to cut the crazy wind that pops up out of nowhere, waterproof tops and bottoms, a hat (or as we Canadians like to call it – toque), warm gloves, and a complete change of clothes – somehow you will end up muddy, wet, or if you’re like me – manage to spill your thermos of warm drink on your lap and dribble your tasty food down the front of your shirt
- an open mind – chances are you traveled to the race with a cyclo-cross racer – remember that said cyclo-cross racer might be a bit tense or stressed as the race time draws closer – keep this in mind if the conversation seems to get a bit “short” or if your racer starts to act a bit crazy – this is the race talking and nothing else…
As a racer myself, there is nothing worse than racing by a bunch of spectators and not hearing any cheering. Truly this is just not cool. If you’re going to stand out there and watch the cyclo-cross race then cheer for each and every racer. Even simple things like “That’s It – Keep It Going”, “Pedal, Pedal”, “Ya – Doing Good”. These words make a difference even if I don’t know who is yelling them. So do the racers a favor and cheer for them – whether you know them or not – believe me – we appreciate it.
The last thing to keep in mind when attending a cyclo-cross race with a racer is that time slows down once the race is done. Your racer will want to discuss the race with his/her fellow racers for what seems to you like an eternity. Your racer may go out on a cool-down ride or ride the trainer for what seems like a very long time. The changing, cleaning up and repacking of the car will also appear to take a long time. This is normal. We racers need some space after the race to decompress, relax and take stock of how the race went. Rushing your racer won’t help matters – often this will cause your racer to slow down even more… Luckily for you, you’ve brought a good book, a folding chair, a thermos, and some good food…
So there you have it, a few tips from me on how to be a fan for the day. Hopefully you can use these tips this weekend at whatever races you’re out watching. If you’re in Bend, Oregon this weekend, I think the warm clothes, thermos and change of clothes will come in very handy. Remember to cheer for all the racers out there ripping it up at the U.S. National Cyclo-Cross Championships – they will silently thank-you as they pedal by. If you’re heading out to Essen or Overijse for the elite men’s races in Belgium this weekend – definitely cheer for racers that aren’t named: Bart, Sven and Niels – remember to cheer for Jonathan, Enrico, Thjs, Radomir and all the other non-Belgians racing…
(Just heard from Marc – he was in 4th place at his race in Varsenare until a flat tire forced him to pit… he finished the day in 7th… Still an excellent result. Nice ride Marc!)
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Belgium, cyclo-cross, Marc Boudreau, OBC Cyclo-Cross Series, Ottawa Bicycle Club, ulcerative colitis, vicki thomas
Latest update from Vicki….
Got out for a pretty good ride on Monday. It was a gift to see the blue sky again and to see the green grass. Thanks to a solid bucket of rain on Sunday and slightly warmer temperatures, the bulk of the snow is gone. No complaints here considering it is December. Time will only tell how long this respite from the snow and the negative temperatures last….
Though, even with the rain and warmer temperatures, many of my favorite roads were not rideable. A thin layer of ice and in some cases some pretty narly ice ruts made the roads less than welcoming. I was forced to stick to the main roads for the most part but still managed to put together a decent ride. Basically did the tour of all the towns around Blauberg: Averobde, Zichem, Scherpenheuvel, Rillar, Aarschott, Wolfsdonk, Testelt, Averbode and back to Blauberg.
You have probably noticed that I haven’t posted any race reports from the weekend… This is because I did not race. I had full intentions of racing but I simply couldn’t. So I’m sick again. Yep, my ulcerative colitis has shown its ugly face again and I’m in a full-on flare. I have no idea what has caused this flare. All I know is that I’m frustrated and disappointed with my body. I eat properly. I get lots of exercise. I rest a lot. I’m not in a stressful situation. I’m taking my medicine. And still I get sick. I was simply way too wiped out and in too much pain this weekend to go out and race my bike. I was really looking forward to racing at Averbode as well as returning to Rijkervorsel to have a better ride there than I did last year. Instead I spent the bulk of both days in bed. Not fun.
On a plus from the weekend – Marc had a great ride on Sunday and finished 6th in the Averbode race. He also had a great race on Saturday but was held up by some annoying chain suck issues and had to settle for 12th on the day. I wish I could have been there to cheer him on. Super proud of how well Marc is riding right now – he really is coming into his own here and the hardwork and determination is paying off with some excellent rides. Definitely inspiring.
I was pretty wiped out after my ride on Monday but I think I will get out again today. The riding gives me a bit of a break from my ulcerative colitis symptoms. Only problem is not being able to eat much – makes it hard to prevent the “floating black spots” from appearing… Not sure where my bike will take me but I know it will be to a happy place.
(P.S. congrats to all the award winners at Sunday night’s Ottawa Bicycle Club Cyclo-Cross Awards night. Massive shout out to the youngsters out there who come out every weekend to haul their heavy bikes around the course and just keep giving it their all. We should all ride our bike with such enthusiasm!)
Filed under: KingsBridge Train | Tags: Canadian Cyclo-Cross Nationals, cyclo-cross, Marc Boudreau, vicki thomas, world championships
Vicki here checking in after the Canadian Cyclo-Cross Nationals….
Marc had a truly outstanding day on Saturday at the Canadian Cyclo-Cross Nationals. Marc finished third in the Masters 40-49 race. This was the largest field at Nationals with 56 racers lining up. Also it was was one of the deepest fields with lots of fast legs and race experience. Marc raced a very smart race. Closing gaps effortlessly, letting others do work when needed and attacking at the right time. Super happy to see Marc race so well and most of all to see him standing on the podium. Nothing like standing on the podium at a National Championships – regardless of the step. Congrats Marc. Of course congratulations to Norm Thibault for taking the win.
After Marc’s race he had a few moments to cool down and put on some warm clothes and then he was off helping the juniors, U23s, and myself. Marc spent the rest of the day tuning bikes, giving bits of advice, giving encouragement, and just being there for anything that myself and Karl, Evan, and Conor needed. Thanks Marc – we couldn’t have done this without you. Congratulations to Evan McNeely of EMD Serono for this win in the U23 category – Evan is now national champion on the mountain bike and cyclo-cross bike – two national titles in one year! Congratulations to Conor O’Brien for his great ride in the U23 race to finish in 6th place – another strong EMD Serono rider. Junior rider Karl Hoppner of EMD Serono rounded out the podiums for the team with a second place win in the hard fought junior race. Karl has now qualified for the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in St. Wendel, Germany. Congrats Karl!
As for myself? Well, I did not have the ride that I had “planned” on when looking ahead to my season and discussing my season goals with my coach in the spring. But sometimes life throws you curve balls and you have no choice but to roll with them. So this is what I did. I lined up and just focused on three things: constantly pedaling, looking ahead and having fun. I am happy to report that I accomplished these three goals. My result was very far from my early season planning but it was the best I could day on the day and that’s all I can ask for. I finished 16th. Not a result I would normally be proud of. But based on my health battles this year, I’m just happy to have been able to line up and race. Many thanks for the support and cheering – it means a lot to hear people cheering you on.