A very long season has now come to an end! It was a year full of ups and downs but it was undoubtedly my most successful to date.
I had three main goals for the year. The first one was to improve my swim and the second was to be in the first pack off the bike. I was confident that if I could do these two things that I could accomplish my third goal of making the Olympic Team.
It all began in early January at our warm weather training camp in Tucson, Arizona. From there we traveled back to Victoria for a few weeks and then it was off to Flagstaff for altitude training. Both camps went very well. The season officially got underway in Mooloolaba, Australia in March. This was the first World Cup event of the season and our first opportunity to achieve a top 8 result en route to Olympic Qualification. I came up just short, finishing in 10th place, but was very pleased with my fitness and confident I could achieve a top 8 result.
My best World Cup finish came in Richards Bay, South Africa where I just missed the podium, finishing in 4th place, and achieving the first part of Olympic selection. This result came at the perfect time with just three weeks to go until the World Championships in Vancouver. I returned to Victoria for my final preparations and training went incredibly well. I was running faster than I ever had and was booming with confidence.
The biggest race of my young career had finally come…and it was gone in a matter of minutes. I can remember finally getting my wetsuit off then struggling just to get my helmet buckled thinking – it’s over. That day still haunts me. For days and weeks after the race I found myself still asking “what if”. Over and over again I thought about that race but the bottom-line is that it’s over; rehashing it isn’t going to change a thing. We compete in such a unique sport in that it presents many different variables that can affect the outcome of a given race. Race conditions are often uncontrollable and not always ideal but in the end it’s the same for everyone. I did not fulfill the criteria and discretion was out of my hands. If I was going to grow from this and mature as an athlete it was time to move on, learn from the experience, and adapt my goals to finish the season.
At that point I decided to race as many World Cups as possible with the goal of learning and improving my consistency. So, in July I packed my bags and headed to Europe where I competed in Germany, Hungary, and Austria. In hindsight, I probably stayed a week too long but nonetheless I was happy with the trip and it was a bonus to have Kelly come along with me. It was her first real exposure to racing and we had an awesome three weeks. I came away with 9th and 12th place finishes to boot!
After Europe I returned to Victoria and got ready to join the Olympic Team in Beijing. Wow! What a memorable experience. I learned a lot from not only watching both the men’s and women’s races but also from seeing how everything else goes on outside the event. Simon’s silver medal performance was simply inspiring.
Upon returning from Beijing I had yet another decision to make. I could pack it in and call it a year or stretch it out and extend my season another couple months. Knowing it would present some challenges, as I would be going solo while the rest of the National Team began their well deserved down time, I decided to race in both France and Mexico hoping to improve my World Cup ranking and win some cash. Although I was unable to come home with top 15 performances in either race, the experience was invaluable.
I finished the season ranked 22nd in the world, my best ever ranking thus far in my young career. I had three top 10 World Cup results and the privilege to travel to Beijing for the Olympic Games as the alternate. I improved my swim considerably while still running faster than I ever have and riding stronger than ever. Most of all, I learned a lot about myself and this great sport. I have no regrets. I am proud of my accomplishments and more importantly I’m anxious to get the next four years underway.
It’s now time for a much needed break from racing. In a couple weeks I will turn 24. So many people tell me I’m young, that the consistency I strive for will come with time and maturity. Some days I wish I had the patience of my supporters! Now I will enjoy some downtime and then on December 1st it will be time to rock again!
Thanks to everyone who has supported me this past year. If you are visiting my website for the first time and would like to join my support team I would love to speak with you. Please feel free to contact me.