For many Canadian Amateur athletes, the Olympics mark the ultimate sporting event. But for smaller countries like Chile, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, very few athletes will ever make it.
Last week I competed at the Pan Am Championships in Mexico and took special care to notice the importance placed on this race by some of those smaller countries.
As a Canadian athlete I have a million opportunities in my future, and for the most part, it is up to me what I choose to do with my life. I can decide when to stop cycling and choose to focus on my engineering career, or raise a family, or start a band.
For a Cuban athlete, the options are riding or riding.
Having said this, the Cuban athletes are treated much better than the average Cuban, but there is no future beyond the sport. In fact, two senior Cuban athletes defected from Cuba into Mexico City before the racing even started. I can only guess as to the exact reasons they would choose to do this.
I wonder at the quality of education that the (very) young Mexican gymnasts are receiving as they are already living in a full time training facility.
It is often hard to be grateful to be a Canadian athlete. I have been blessed with a corporate sponsor (PCL construction companies) but many are not. It can be long and arduous to finally get a result that grants carding or even proper provincial support. But we get something that many other countries don’t. I get to ride my bike for the challenge and for fun. And though, for the past few months, I have struggled with injuries and finding fun, I know that I will still have food on my table if I have a bad race or am injured.
The week before the racing I injured my back in the gym. I had a minor herniated disk, but it was very painful to ride. Some days I could not warm up, and could only race thanks to the adrenaline that builds on the start line.
In the 500m time trial and the sprints I was 4th and in the team sprint I won a silver with Tara Whitten (Edmonton). My form was not what I wanted and my back held me back. But tactically I had some very good races, and I really have to be happy with that, because it was the only thing in my control.
Racing photos coming soon…
This was Mark and I’s first National Team Project together!
With new jerseys I didn’t have my PCL logo on there yet. But PCL was there!