Criterium National

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Elite podium with 1) Katherine Maine (Canadian National Team/Opus-The Cyclery), 2) Carrie Cartmill (Opus-The Cyclery), 3) Kirsti Lay (SAS Specialized Mazda)

For the past 10 days, I’ve been attending a National Team training camp in preparation for Road Worlds at the end of the month.   Last weekend, we conquered the heat in Vermont at the Green Mountain Stage Race. The challenge this weekend was rain, wind and wet painted lines.

Before the race, I was nervous. The course consisted of two U-turns and the road conditions were slick, which unfortunately caused some falls. I knew that it was going to be difficult jumping out of the corners and I feared sliding out. In a pre-race meeting with teammates Gillian Ellsay, Liah Harvie and Gabby Traxler, we were told by national team coach Denise Kelly to use it as training a race. We were told to race hard and have fun but that it was not worth crashing, so to take the corners with caution.

Knowing there was not much pressure on me, I was free to go out and have some fun.

As the race began, I could feel my rear wheel sliding out, so I was taking the corners slowly as I was worried about crashing. Unfortunately, after only 4 laps, the slick conditions took down three riders including myself. Although a little shaken up, I got back on my bike and rejoined the main pack on the next lap along with the other girls. I was anxious to attack but decided to wait and go for the intermediate sprints- attacking each of them coming out of the last corner without allowing myself time to think.

In every race, teamwork plays a huge part – there is no way that I would have been able to take the win without the help of my teammates. I lucked out as I had two teams. I had the support of the junior girls riding for the National Team and The Cyclery-Opus girls who, even though I was not racing in pink and blue, I knew I could count on. 🙂

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Katherine leading Carrie in the closing laps

After the intermediate sprint with 5 laps to go, Cyclery-Opus teammate Carrie Cartmill attacked. For about half a lap, I was in a no man’s land and I was feeling tired and ready to go back to the pack. However, as I heard people cheering and I saw Carrie look back at me, I realized that we had a gap and I decided to fight to get on her wheel. Being in this break was lucky as I could work together with Carrie, and know that I had two of my junior teammates (Gillian Ellsay and Liah Harvie) in the pack behind me chasing every wheel and helping me stay away.

Coming up to the finish, I knew that I had to just give it all and it was only when I crossed the finish line did I realize that I had won. This was my biggest win ever and a huge confidence boost before my next race on Sept 25th!

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Canadian National Team sweeping the Junior podium with 1) Katherine Maine 2) Gillian Ellsay 3) Liah Harvie

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