2012 Olympic Track Cycling Team!!!!

Tara Whitten, Zach Bell, Jasmin Glaesser, Gillian Carleton, Laura Brown, Joseph Veloce and me!

I am very proud to be part of this team!

I started cycling when I was 12 because I loved riding my bike and 11 years later I still love riding my bike. My career has had highs and lows and I am very grateful to the support team around me for always being there to help.

“If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”- Isaac Newton

Thank you to PCL Construction Leaders for supporting my dreams from the beginning and making it all possible.

Thank you to my mom and dad, family and friends, for their unconditional support.

Thank you to my boyfriend Mark for being my rock every step of the way and my best friend.

Thank you to my coach Rich for helping me to get my passion back for riding bikes.

Thank you to my teammates for their daily inspiration and friendship.

Thank you to the many support staff, CC staff and Sport Center staff for getting us all at our best. The ones I see most regularly: John Evans, Mike Patton, Jenn Turner, Sandy Gilchrist, Mac Read, Tanya Dubnicoff, Sara Poutanen, Kirsten Barnes, Dr. Tavis Campbell, Steve Sleep, Andrea Wooles, Jacques Landry, Gwen Mckenzie, and Adam Duvendeck.

And thank you for reading along and supporting my dreams!!

Official press release here.

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Back at it

I can’t believe the World Championships ended less than 7 weeks ago.

After the World Champs everyone scattered home to visit family and friends. Mark and I escaped to Emerald Lake Lodge thanks to a very generous gift certificate from his old cycling group and had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. (Where we happened to run into the team’s sport science guy Mike Patton and his wife! 🙂 )

Mark has been working for almost a year now as an engineer “in the real world” and it has been so interesting to follow along. The lessons and skills he learned as an athlete and coach have transferred so easily to the workplace it has really given him an advantage. It is something that we hear about but I didn’t realize how true it was.

There is a lot of buzz around athletes at the moment and the videos that are starting to come out put goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes. (Here‘s a good one.) Each sport has their own qualification system but one thing remains the same: It is cut throat and no one does it alone, there is a huge support system behind every athlete.

Last week Mark Tewksbury posted a photo on twitter of all the cargo team Canada has shipped to London and it was a phenomenal amount of stuff. It gave me a small glimpse into the behind the scenes work that goes on to get the athletes at their best. When I think about the amount of work going into our small team for London, the world wide collective effort of the Olympic Games is staggering.

After a short break I got right back to work with a small endurance block. It felt refreshing to do something different and I was so happy to be out on my bike for long rides without the pressure to perform. At the beginning of May everyone who made the Olympic Selection Pool came back to LA. It had only been 4 weeks since I rode the track but it hurt something fierce!

Everyone is working hard and slowly getting back into the swing of things. There is sunshine everyday in California and we are soaking it in after the “mixed precipitation” we all faced riding in the “Spring” at home! (At least in Calgary!)

The Team Pursuit girls are all racing in the Exergy tour in Idaho this week, we had 3 Canadian girls on the podium last night and Gillian is still wearing the young rider leaders jersey!

Thanks for following along,

Monique

These are the only photos I’ve got! I will try to take more!

The trees smell like caramel! Photo credit Ken MacDonald- Near Palm Springs. (We also saw snakes and lizards and a huge windmill farm! )

Emerald Lake

World Championships Melbourne

All there really is to say about Worlds is that The Racing Was Incredible. Every single rider there had something to prove. On one end you had riders trying to catch the last Olympic Points to secure their spot, and on the other end you had riders from the stronger countries trying to prove that they should get selected. (With only one rider per nation per event, some of the competition within countries is fierce!)

Canada had a best ever World Championship with 3 medals (Women’s Team Pursuit, Men’s Omnium and Women’s Points Race) and I can’t wait to see how the next few months unfold for the whole team!

Here is an interview I did with Canadian Cyclist

There are also a couple stories here and here

2 golds! Pan Am Championships: Mar Del Plata, Argentina

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.

Jonny on the left, Mike on the right

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!

Sprint Podium

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!

Monique

PS A little bit of media!
Globe and Mail

Training Camp: Newport, Wales

This week the Canadian Track Team has been training in Newport, Wales to prepare for the London World Cup/ Test Event next week. Our head coach and team manager are both from Wales so it has been fun to see them in their natural environment. When I am sitting in my hotel room and someone walks by outside the door I always think it’s Rich or John because everyone sounds like them.

The camp has been really great, the countryside is beautiful and we have all had some strong training sessions on the track. I have been doing lots of motorpacing and wishing I got to race the motorbike everyday!

Tomorrow we leave for London! It is extremely exciting to visit the Olympic venue for the first time!

Thanks for following along and I’ll be back soon,

Monique

I stole some great photos from our videographer Steve Sleep. Enjoy!

World Cup #3: Beijing

It looks like my Olympic Qualification is destined to be close right till the end. (The end is April 7th)

The 200m time trial in Beijing went very poorly, so poorly in fact that we have made some significant changes in my training leading up to the next World Cup. The only way to learn is by making mistakes but sometimes I feel like I am running out of time to learn. I wish that we already had it all figured out.

But we don’t, and wishing doesn’t make it so. Even though it seems like worrying about it would help, it turns out that it doesn’t and so we just have to learn as much as we can at every race and move forward.

The keirins went a bit better for me and I made the 2nd round again which was positive. I finished 11th but because of complicated and in this case lucky Olympic details, I got 8th place points, and even though my closest competitor got 3rd, we are still very close on points. I have had some really good training since arriving back in LA, and it has been refreshing to focus on some new things.

Next Saturday we leave for London for a pre-Olympic test event and it’s a pretty big deal. I am guessing there will be 50 girls racing, and only 18 of them can qualify for the Games.

In other news, I officially have my own place! I’ve paid my dues sharing houses and fridges and showers and beds and forks and keys with both strangers and teammates in the four winters I have been training in LA, and now I get to do everything in the best way possible for me.

I really didn’t realize how much stress comes from living with 8 other people but I certainly notice the peace of coming home to my own place and I love it. (And my landlords are great! They left flowers for me for the day I moved in!) I am grateful to Richard Wooles for setting up houses for us for the last two years because I couldn’t afford my own place for all this time, but thanks to the support of PCL Construction, I will have my own place for the 6 months leading up to the Games. Having somewhere to call home where I can rest and recover is invaluable leading up to the Games and I simply couldn’t do it without their support.

Thanks again for following along and I hope to have some good news from London soon!

Take care,
Monique