Just a few days ago, four members of RealDeal/Gears p/b WASPcam team were on the track in LA, with Cycling Canada.
Three of them from the women’s team (Krista Ruby, Kristen Sears and myself, Marie-Soleil Blais, aka Sun) were participating in the first sprint team assessment camp from May 5th-11th. This camp marked the beginning of the Canadian sprint team program, a first in long time for the sprint field in Canada. Erin Hartwell, national track sprint coach, was leading both the men’s and women’s group.
Ed Veal (member of RealDeal/Gears p/b WASPcam) and the rest of the men endurance team were working on their team pursuit for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in-between our sprint sessions. No other team could have been better represented than us on the track during that week! RealDeal is a real fast team!
On a personal note, I was extremly excited to be part of that sprint camp, as it marked my first camp with Cycling Canada. Before the camp, I did not identify myself solely a »track sprinter ». Throughout thw winter I was focusing more on endurance, but I demonstrated that I have the abilities to compete against some of the fastest sprinters of the country. Amazing experience!
It was actually not that big of a surprise for me though. I started doing sprint drills on the bike for hockey training, years before I even start racing. I always had this sprinter fire inside of me, a love for speed, for going out of the saddle, at top speed, and faassster, until my lungs and legs felt like they may break. Then repeat! Never heard of pacing :p Now it’s just a matter of transfering that sprinter fire into an actual track sprint with the proper technic. Working on it!
Unfortunately, the truth is, we are still somewhat far from the international level in the sprint field. With the exception for current sprinters Hugo Barette and Joseph Veloce, there were no other elite sprinters in Canada, no program or support. However, that is about to change with the arrival of our coach Erin and the willingness of Cycling Canada to invest in the sprint program.
That being said, we might have to wait a little to see a world class women sprint team in Canada. Sara Byers, from Ontario, were the only one to come very close to the standard time. The rest of the women’s group were a few tenths of a second behind.
Krista met her expectations : the second fastest among the group. This is especially impressive considering she had jtaken a few years off racing to focus on her studies. Kristen (the youngest among the group) also did great even though this is her first year at the elite level. Both of these athletes demonstrated a lot of potential that you will definitely be hearing about again sooner or later.
For me, it was a first experience in track sprinting. I was pleased with my results and had the 3rd fastest time. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed the camp, I love sprinting, I love this type of effort, love being on the track. I’m still developing as a cyclist and am still not sure yet what I want to specialize in whether it be road, track endurance or track sprinting. As I develop, I will continue listening to my heart and my inner fire to lead my decision-making.
Next step for the team : Grand Prix Gatineau, June 6th-7th
Next step for the track sprint program : Trexlertown, PA in June.