Another National Championships is over. We were supremely lucky with weather, dark heavy clouds sat over us most of the time but we had very few rain delays. The racing went well for me, I accomplished what I came here to do which was defend my 500m, sprint and keirin titles, but the most exciting part of the weekend was that we finally have some new sprinters around! Brand new faces on all podiums. We have a serious lack of development on the track in Canada and it was nice to finally see some new legs.
I can’t believe this was my 8th National Championships. Nationals is the one consistent thing that we do every year but looking back each one is different.
At my very first Nationals I was told that I was too young to compete. Back then the youngest category was junior, ages 17 and 18, and I was 15. Only once I was 16 would I be allowed to upgrade and race with the juniors. After some strong words, my coach at the time Tanya Dubnicoff, convinced them to let me race out of competition, and I got 2nd in the 500m time trial!
When they announced the podium, the announcers forgot to take me out of the results and I was given a medal. OH MAN, I was thrilled! Afterwards two commissaires greeted me (although where they found me I was kind of backed into a corner and I felt ambushed) and they took away my medal. They took it away!
I was so crushed, back then winning Nationals was the biggest deal in the world!
Fast forward a few years later and I was preparing for the Jr. World Championships and OH MAN. Being Jr. World Champion was now the biggest deal in the world. I remember people telling me to relax, that this race isn’t the end of the world, it’s just the beginning, and I should enjoy it. At the time I didn’t understand what they were talking about. I wanted to win! I came very close.
Fast forward to right now and now that Nationals are over everything we do is about qualifying for the Olympics. And OH MAN. It’s the biggest deal in the world.
At least it seems that way now.