Pan Ams last week was one of the hardest and most rewarding races I’ve ever done. I won’t get into all the details but here are some highlights!
Coming from London where we were at one of the nicest tracks in the world, with 10+ staff and everything taken care of, to Pan Ams where we were outdoors with huge amounts of wind and rain and 2 staff, took an adjustment. Two days before racing in London I did an 11.2s 200m, and two days before racing in Mar Del Plata I did an 11.7. Thank goodness for power meters because I saw that my power was very similar to London, just the conditions were different. (Very different.)
For staff we had John Evans and Mike Patton. As soon as they showed up I knew everything would be taken care of, even if it meant they had to stay up all night. (Which they did do one night.) We were very lucky to have them as our support staff.
I knew I had pretty good form but I didn’t know how the other girls would be riding and I was extremely nervous. As the 2nd last race to collect points, the pressure was on to collect as many as possible and to beat Venezuela. (We are currently fighting for the 2nd Americas spot for the Games- Cuba’s spot is pretty secure and qualification is limited by continent)
My ipod broke the day before competition, but luckily my teammate Allison Beveridge had an extra one she lent me. It has this great track on it and it put me in a great frame of mind before racing. Despite feeling extremely nervous and borderline panicky in the pit, when I got on the track I felt confident and I raced with my instincts. It was really amazing to race that way.
I qualified 1st in the 200m qualifier, only a hundredth ahead of Lisandra from Cuba. This was the same position I was in last year, but Lisandra out-sprinted me for the win last year. I had to wait out two full days of the 1/8’s, ¼’s and ½’s until we finally got to race in the final. Our sprint rides were certainly among my best ever. Lisandra won the first ride by an inch and it was very hard to stay positive. But I did and with Mike’s help I decided on a new tactic which worked birlliantly. We tied one ride each. The next ride would decide the 2012 Pan Am Champ. When I crossed the finish line first my whole body went numb, I think I was shocked that I had finally done it!
The following day we had the first round of keirins in the morning but the semi’s and finals were delayed due to rain in the evening until the next morning. Lisandra had to leave and was not there in the morning for the final. When the finals finally came I decided on a very simple tactic. I ended up drawing the #1 spot and was riding right behind the motorbike. Venezuela was in 3rd. With two laps to go she came up beside me and I thought “Perfect. You can stay right there.” I matched her acceleration for the lap and with 1 lap to go I went all out. I couldn’t see her anymore and wasn’t looking back. In the last corner she swung up too high and Mexcio and USA came under her. It couldn’t have worked out better!
Unofficially I am sitting much better in regards to points for the Games now but I have one more race until I can count my chickens.
Winning Pan Ams is something I have been working towards for a long time, and I have had tremendous support from the entire team (riders and staff), and my family and friends. The financial support I receive from PCL Construction makes it all possible and I am extremely grateful. It was very fun to have a win this season but there are bigger things ahead and I have to stay focused for the World Championships. For now I am back in LA for 2 ½ weeks until we head to Melbourne!
Thank you for so much support!
PS A little bit of media!
Globe and Mail