I’ve been in Santa Cruz since the American Thanksgiving and I’m staring down the barrel of my first (ever!) Christmas away from Canada and my kick-ass family. I figured I’d be better off rehabbing from my November 3 shoulder surgery in the sun and (relative) warmth of California rather than FOMOing in Whistler while my friends see one of their best early snowfalls in years. One of my favourite things about this time of year is reflecting and appreciating what the past 365 days had to offer. This year has been nothing short of insane - so I thought I’d summarize my favourite things from a personal perspective for Part 1 of my little series of The Best Of 2015 (full disclosure: I stole this idea from working with the brains at Arc’teryx):
Favourite Enduro World Series Stop
Rotorua, New Zealand. Ok, I know: my account of “Favourite EWS Stop” isn’t exactly fair - I only raced 4 events (I had actually only planned to do 3) this summer - but I’m going to say it anyway. I spent most of this season trying to figure out what was so rad about NZ for me. Yes, it had tough moments and there were definitely a few miscalculations when it came to transfer times early in the race. But I loved it. I really enjoy when EWS stops are a part of bigger events like Crankworx: all of our friends converge into one place and the hype seems to grow exponentially.
EWS #1 had it all - it had stages that seemed unrideable, it had locals who followed us everywhere and cheered at every stage, and it had a variety of terrain that I really enjoyed. My choice might be even weirder because it is the race that took me out big time (my shoulder surgery last month was to repair the injury I sustained racing in NZ), but I loved that event and I can’t wait to go back. I also had my best stage results of the season that day. Talk about highs and lows!
Favourite New Friends
So many. Besides learning that I love training and riding with my teammate Kelli, I really, really enjoyed getting to know the women I raced next to on the circuit. Andréane LN and Nathalie Schneitter kept me laughing in Europe. Mary Moncorgé was a constant source of entertainment during transfers at every race. Hannah Barnes asked for tea when we waited for storms to pass in Spain (!?). Katrina Strand isn’t a new friend to me, but I missed her terribly when she wasn’t at events. I learned that these events can be made so much more special when I appreciate the folks who I get to hang around with all day long.
This topic ties in nicely with my 50% attendance rate for the EWS in 2015. I took on SO. MANY. PROJECTS. this summer. The volume of work wasn’t related to a schedule that was expected of me, though: I chose to take them all on myself. From trips to Ethiopia with Giro to 10-Day epics around North America with SRAM, there was no shortage of cool stuff to do that wasn’t racing my bike.
I’ll carefully say that my favourite project of 2015 was Jasper Wesselman’s and my submission for the Dirt Diaries at Crankworx. It was a really, really challenging project to make for a few reasons. All of our work started in June and I had to integrate filming for long hours with my training schedule, so I would often film in the morning, train in the afternoon and then film all evening. It was ridiculous (I also did my full time job in there too). The major factor in making it my favourite project this year was that I got to include a handful of people in the video who I have a ton of respect for and care about very much. Our submission didn’t even make the top 3 in the actual contest, but in the end, none of that mattered to us. Jasper and I created something that we were both proud of and it’s about something that means a lot to us both: trail builders!
Biggest Lesson Learned
It’s amazing to think of how far I’ve come since I joined the Juliana SRAM team back in December of 2014. From personal setbacks just before I joined to the team to the rad life I have and people I get to surround myself with today, I’ve learned that in the end, everything works out. No matter how hard it is in the moment, or how sad we can be or how frustrating the process becomes: it will be ok. Once we step over one hurdle, there is always another behind it. Dealing with adversity is what being alive is all about - we are lucky if we get to interrupt the monotony of our daily lives with cool shit like racing mountain bikes or just being around the people we love. I’m learning to sift through the noise of the things and people who bring negativity my way to find the moments and individuals that bring me happiness and joy. Focusing on bringing positivity back to those folks and the instants we share is the best part of it all!
Stay tuned. I’m working on a summary of my favourite gear of the year, but my BF is hating his role as ‘Instagram Husband’ these days. Can’t blame him.