After living under the same roof for 6 months, training together, and traveling the world together, the Canadian track team separates and goes home for the summer. Living in LA for the summer is both impractical and expensive for all of us. It is nice to get away from the group for a little while and to spend time with family. I’ve spoken about it before and it is no secret that I love being at home. I almost feel like I am playing house; I have carpets to vacuum and herbs to water.
Last time when I spoke about how fun it was to do all those different things, I forgot to mention how hard it was going to be to transition back into my regular training. The inspiration I got from taking a break isn’t as crisp when I wake up every morning with sore legs and I have to stand up slowly if I’ve been sitting for more than 5 minutes because my legs don’t want to move.
It is fun to be at the track in Calgary, there are lots of people and some of them even cheer for me when I do my efforts. But somehow I began to feel very alone. During training I doubted myself and started questioning my plan. Is this the best way to do this? How many? How hard should this be? Am I doing too much? Why won’t my srm (this records my power output) record higher numbers? I tried to answer the questions, but I didn’t trust the answers I told myself.
Mark, as usual, was extremely supportive, helping me figure it out. Usually when I ask him a question he just asks it right back to me.
“Mark, am I doing this right?”
“Monique, do you think you’re doing it right?”
It really does help a lot, and his support is very powerful, but I feel like a pest, always asking him for reassurance.
One thing I did do during this time was hang out with Canada’s ladies alpine ski team. They were doing cross training at the track and I purposely did my Wednesday workouts with them because they all have such a good attitude and it was a very positive training environment. Some days they would have 5 staff members there just watching them ride, and they’re not even cyclists! I loved being there, but I was also jealous. I wanted to have staff members watching me too. It felt like with all those staff there, their training must be better. More scientific, more precise. How could I compete? I felt like I could never get the best out of myself all by myself.
I have a lot support, all of you guys, the CCA and Sport Center staff, my sponsors. But I got into a dangerous place of comparing what I have to what they have, and it made it feel not good enough.
Which is why my quick trip to LA this week has been fulfilling in more ways than one. Not only did it feel like magic to put on some race wheels and ride on a wood track after training on the highway that is the velodrome in Calgary, but I got to spend time with some of our staff members; my coach Rich, our sport scientist Mike and Tanya. There were only 3 athletes, Zach, Tara, and myself, and I was reminded of the great people we have on our staff and the great teammates I get to come back to in September.
Cycling is not a tier 1 sport in Canada, we simply do not get the funding of winter sports. But we have people fighting for us and doing really great things with the funding we do have. For me personally, I have the support of PCL Construction Leaders, without whom I wouldn’t even have been able to come out on this mini training camp.
And no, next week I won’t have Rich, Mike, Tanya, Zach and Tara by my side, but I will in September, and until then, I have the many resources from the Sport Center in Calgary, my favourite massage therapist and physio, my family, and my friends.