By: Amélie Bruneau
As some of you might know, I haven’t really been racing the past six weeks, due to a broken collarbone at Speedweek in late April. Crashing and being injured sucks, but it is unfortunatly part of bike racing. I can’t even count how much I crashed in the past 10 years I’ve raced my bike, but I think every single crash helped me to be the bike racer I am today. Nevertheless, I tried to stay as positive as I could, knowing that my fitness was there at Speedweek and that a broken bone wasn’t stopping me from training on the trainer! I would be lying if I said that it was easy to watch my teammates going to races that I trained really hard all winter for. I cheered for them and sent them as much energy as I could. It was hard to be on the side of the road at GP Gatineau on home turf, but I was so proud of the accomplishments of my teammates.
After one month (it was not that long, but it felt like forever!) of riding inside, going to physio appointments and resting as much as I could, I finally got the “OKAY” from my doctor to ride my bike outside!! I couldn’t ride for long at first, as my shoulder was still hurting, but I saw progress everyday. I then trained for a week outside and then went back to racing with my teamates at the GP Charlevoix, a hilly stage race in the beautiful city of Baie-St-Paul in Quebec.
We started off on fire winning 1-2 in the first stage, the criterium. We were really agressive in the race, going for back to back attacks and showing our strength with a leadout starting with 3 laps to go. The team really showed it’s power with the six of us in the top 15, out of 35 riders. The second stage was a 19,2 km flat time-trial. We again had some really good results with Cath finishing with the second best time and Ariane in fifth position. It was a stellar ride for Emily Flynn, even without a TT bike. Everyone went hard with the six of us in the top 20.
Stage 3 was the hard hill climb : a 8 km flat road followed by a 4 km climb, starting with a percentage as high as 16 % for some parts. The strategy was to secure Cath and Ari in the general classification. Sophie attacked right from the gun and made the peleton roll aggressively to the base of the climb. When we caught her, I countered her attack, followed by Emily and Kinley. The goal was to keep rolling fast and then let Cath and Ariane go at the bottom of the hill. We did our job as told by DS Jenny and Cath was able to get a top 5 after a hard fight up the climb.
Finally, the queen stage : The road race ! As Catherine had dropped to fourth place on GC, we really wanted to move her up in the classification. I was unfortunatly caught in a crash in the first 20 km and it caused me to stop my race, as I broke my rear derailler. But, for the first time in my life I saw the rest of the race from a different point of view as I got in the car in the caravan! The girls fought really hard in the hilly race and Cath managed to finish third and Kinley fifth. Ariane, Sophie and Emily finished a few minutes behind. The whole stage race was a really good team effort. We were able to put Cath and Kinley on fourth and fifth place in the general classification. For me it was hard to get my mind back into racing mode as I needed to rebuilt my confidence on my bike.
I am ready for some new challenges in the next month and after some rest, we will be racing the North Star GP next week, with our very own Annie Foreman-Mackey as a guest rider!!!