Monday, 14 October 2013

two thousand thirteen season recap

Man how time flies! Feels just like yesterday I was procrastinating writing a blog after my first race in San Diego.  Now with the slower paced days and the changing colors of the fall, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the season and thinking how grateful I am of my adventures this summer and of the people who made them possible.  Here’s how my 2013 season went down:


One night I was writing a university exam and the next I was sitting in my first WTS race briefing in San Diego! Being my first WTS race ever, I went in with no expectations and an open mind. I remember warming up in Mission Bay before the race in the sunshine and thinking that this WTS thing is pretty cool. As for the race, I surprised myself by coming out of the water in 6th position and riding in the first main pack.  I finished in 25th and felt pretty proud of taking that leap to the WTS level.


Next stop was to my home province of Alberta to race in the Edmonton World Cup. Most of the races this season were outside of North America so having a race on home soil felt extra special.  Pretty sweet having my family there to watch! I even got to go to the Press conference and I pretended I knew what I was talking about.  The race was story tale perfect for the Canadian women with the top 4 positions locked up by Canadians! I grabbed the silver medal and sung the Canadian anthem proudly alongside Amelie Kretz and Kirsten Sweetland. 
Ellie p on the mic
Oh canada

While I was super stoked about the Edmonton World Cup weekend, the devastation from the flooding in Calgary definitely put things in perspective.  My family was incredibly lucky because my dad’s business was really close to the flood zone but was miraculously spared.  However lots of my friends and their families had extensive damage to their homes. I spent some time at home post Edmonton and helped out a bit with the clean-up; it was a humbling yet inspiring experience.  You might expect the affected areas to be a dusty, dismal ghost town, however the energy at the flood zone was anything but.  Thousands of Calgarians wearing rubber boots grabbed a shovel and would go into random strangers' homes to rip out drywall, haul out sludge and toss garbage in dumpsters.  I joined an assembly line with a team of Aussie Rules Rugby players to remove tiles from a person’s basement.  Among the chaos of dumpsters, dust and garbage was a vibrant sense of resiliency.
Birthday love for Bear
Flood dust
Mom (top left) cannonball queen

After some solid family time at home (which also included some cannonballs and my dog’s birthday), I jetted off for my first ever European adventure.  First stop was Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain for some training en route to Hamburg, Germany for World Sprint Championships.  Being my first time to Europe, I was blown away by the architecture, cobbles, narrow streets and culture.  My first day in Hamburg was a sensory overload and I just wanted to explore. A pre-race adventure run got it out of my system and I was able to mellow out before the race. As for the race, I got absolutely pummeled around the first buoy in the swim and didn’t make lead pack.  I still ran my heart out and came 31st . My ego was a bit bruised because swimming is kind of my thing and have never experienced such carnage before.  But I got thrashed on a beautiful sunny day in a triathlon in Europe. Life ain’t so bad.
Vitoria commuter
After Hamburg I headed back to Victoria, Canada to move into a new place with my brother!   We live a block away from the ocean and have some cool hipster furniture and make foamy lattes in the morning.


After the move, I headed back to Vitoria-Gasteiz to polish off the rest of the racing season. I made a pit stop in Magog, Quebec to watch my brother and the rest of the Alberta kids rip it up at Canada Games.

Next race was WTS Stockholm.  I rekindled my swim abilities after Hamburg and found myself in the front 5 girls nearing the end of the 1500m swim.  I had the prime line around the last buoy and was like YOLO and surged to come running out of the water first! My moment of glory before being dramatically dropped on a hilly and technical bike course to finish off 28th. Embraced some Swedish culture the next day at the ABBA museum and gave a rousing performance of Mamma Mia on stage in front of several other museum goers. 


We had about two more weeks in Vitoria-Gasteiz before U23 World Championships in London, England.  I had some pretty epic rallies to survive these last two weeks of hard training, but made it to London in one piece.  The Canadian crew assembled daily in the artsy Canada House and established a good sense of team.  In the days leading up to the race, I listened to some new Arctic Monkeys (fitting being in London) and carbo loaded on bread pudding.  Ready to go.
Team Canada
The swim went smashingly and I was out of the water in 2nd to then eat pavement around the first corner on the bike! I bounced up quick though, thinking if I got up fast enough nobody would notice.  I joined in with the main pack and was cautious not to make this a repeat of my double crash at Junior Worlds.  Survived the rest of the bike unscathed and it was going to come down to a run race.  The pack of girls settled into a decent clip and I played it safe tucked in mid pack.  The first 3km I was thinking “just hang on” and then all of a sudden I started feeling better and better.  Coming down to the last 180 turn and about 800m to go, I was feeling antsy for someone to make a move so I took the bull by the horns and pushed the pace!  The sprint at the finish line was such an adrenaline rush and I ended up crossing in second.  Huge congratulations to Charlotte for taking the W and fellow Canadians Amelie Kretz and Joanna Brown for taking 3rd and 5th. 
Photo by Mark Bates
I often think of all the strange coincidences that lead you toward the life you’re living and all the people you meet that shape the direction.  That being said, I have some BIG thank yous to give out to all the people who have supported me and made this summer possible.  Thank you to Shimano, Nineteen, Carolyn Murray, Alan Carlsson, Jamie Turner, Randy Bennett, Houshang Amiri, Libby Burrell, Marilyn Adams, Kyla Rollinson, Sharleen Hoar, Sue Lott, Steve Keeler and Vanessa Young, Kim Ward, Dave Coleman, Drew Mackenzie, Reed Ferber, Triathlon Canada, Own the Podium, Podium Alberta, CSC Calgary, CSC Pacific, my mom, my dad, my brother and my dog! 

Also check out this amazing ski movie I'm obsessed about:

xoxo, ellen

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