Race report: Foreman-Mackey wins bronze at TT nationals

This past week saw the Stevens women racing under a number of different umbrellas — both for Stevens and for their respective provincial teams. Both Adriane Provost and Évelyne Gagnon were riding for the Équipe du Quebec, while Annie Foreman-Mackey was in attendance with the Ontario Canada Games team. Directeur Sportif Jenny Trew was also doing double duty as the women’s coach for the Ontario team.

The week started off with the time trial — a goal event for many of the Stevens riders. Annie led the team home with an impressive bronze medal performance in the U23 women’s category and 13th overall. Team mate Adriane was hot on Annie’s heels in fourth for the U23s, while Catherine Dessureault had a strong performance to finish among the top 20.

Of note was the fact that Annie was one of just two riders in the top-15 riding a road frame (the other being Olympic medalist Gillian Carleton who put in a top 15 performance on her road bike after flatting her TT bike early on). While Annie is able to get into a good aero position on her Stevens Xenon frame thanks to their race oriented head tube lengths (and position is the most important variable in any time trial set up), it is possible that she lost a little time at both Nationals and Gatineau to pure time trial frames (such as the slippery Stevens Volt frame for example).

However the use of her standard road bike with clip-ons has been part of DS and Ontario Coach Jenny Trew’s plan’s for Annie’s preparation for Canada Games. At the Games competitors will have to use their road bike for all events, and Jenny reckons that by racing on her road bike will give Annie an edge. The devil is in the details, and if you want success on race day you need to train to replicate those conditions.

Canadian Championships Time Trial
June 21, 2013 — Ville-St-Georges, QC
By Annie Foreman-Mackey:

Annie Foreman-Mackey
Annie Foreman-Mackey

The Canadian National Championships in the beautiful Beauce region kicked off on Thursday with the time trial. I was racing for Team Ontario for Nationals because of CSG (but I was also racing for Stevens Racing p/b the Cyclery in my heart!) The time trial course was a tough, HILLY course on some bumpy bumpy Quebec roads; this meant that finding a rhythm would be an interesting challenge on race day.

Since I had fallen a bit sick after the Preston Street aquathalon, I didn’t have many performance expectations. Instead, I focused on the process. I had a clear plan of everything that I needed to do on race day: breakfast timing, warm-up, bike checks, race plans, etc. A successful race would be one where I pace myself well and keep on top of my gears the whole time (especially when climbing).

Everything went as planned, and I got to the start fully warmed up and raring to go. As I went through the course, I took each stage one at a time: “it’s time to build now”, “time to go hard”, “time to be steady”, and “time to FINISH!!!!” The hills burned every time, but I tried to embrace it and kept reminding myself that the climbs are where the race would be won! The descents were speedy, and I was quite happy to go in my drops to push the pace and spin hard. The last three kilometres were the real test for me, and I put my head down to get to the finish!

I was happy with my ride as I had achieved most of my goals: I executed my race plan, had good cadence, and never gave up. An added bonus was reaching the podium! It was definitely pretty cool standing on the U23 podium with two cyclists who I really admire and look up to – Alizée Brien (who I trained with in SC in February) and Jasmin Glaesser (an Olympic medallist). What an awesome, unexpected surprise and start to the weekend!

It’s incredibly humbling to have support from both the Ontario provincial team and from the Stevens team this past weekend. Thank you so much to the Cyclery for all of the incredibly equipment I got to use for the TT – aero helmet, disc wheels, you name it! And Alex Sanna, Mike Garrigan and Jenny Trew for making sure that we had everything we needed to be calm and go fast on race days. We are so lucky to have so many incredible people believing in us and helping us reach new levels in the sport.

Next up, Carrie and I will tackle the CHIN Picnic Provincial Criterium in Toronto before jetting off to BC Superweek! It’s going to be another exciting couple of weeks 🙂

Canadian Championships Road Race
June 21, 2013, Ville-St-Georges, QC
By Audrey Bernard

Audrey Bernard
Audrey Bernard

Friday afternoon was the National Championship road race for the women. The 110-km race started in St-Georges and took us to St-Odilon for 3 laps of a very challenging circuit with a steep climb and open windy roads, and all the way back to St-Georges.

Actually, the race did not start in St-Georges, but just outside.

We had an 8-km neutral start because of a 500m gravel section on the course. So after 8 km on the brakes, trying to avoid potholes and potential crashes, we stopped at the bottom of the first big hill for a good five minutes to wait for the girls who flatted in the gravel section. The pros were pretty cool that day; they set a very decent pace up the climb and did not try to kill our legs right from the start. I still thank them for that!

It was a weird race, no one really tried anything at the beginning until teammate Catherine Dessureault decided she had enough of this “Sunday afternoon coffee ride” and attacked. Everyone kind of looked at each other, and let her go. She already had two minutes on the field when we got to the circuit. The first time up the climb was fast, but not very aggressive. The pack was still all together at the top and stayed together for a while after that. At that moment, I thought I could win the race, ha ha ha, mistake.

So I decided it would be a good time to hang out at the back and eat a little bit before going up the climb a second time — also a mistake. Five kilometres before the feed zone, Joëlle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) decided it would be a very good idea to go to the front and hammer it in the cross wind. Indeed, it was a good idea. She pretty much shattered the peloton into six groups right before the second lap. I ended up in the third group, I think, and rode with them for a while. Then I had a lot of time on my hands to think about the joy of bike racing in beautiful Beauce. Beauce and I are not friends, but I did enjoy my ride that day, well at least part of it.

The rest of the race goes like this: Two girls bridged up to Catherine in the second lap, they managed to stay at the front until the top of the hill on the third lap. Catherine tried her best to stay with the front group but she could not keep their pace on the climb after the circuit, can’t blame her! A breakaway of the six strongest girls finally made it together to the finish and Joëlle won!

My teammates also did very well. Catherine finished with Annie about 5 minutes after the front group. It is a very impressive result for both of them, Annie being sixth U23, and Catherine spent a lot of time at the front and animated the race — she definitely deserves a prize for her courage! Adriane was 8th U23 and Carrie showed that her form is coming back quickly.

It was a tough and long race for all of us, but at the end of the day everyone learned from that race and it is an experience we take with us to go further in our cycling careers.