My Cycling Adventure

By: Erica Leonard

These past few weeks have been an opportunity to remind myself why I do what I do. To start 2018 off, I joined the all women’s road team High Gate Racing where, I will be their honorary mountain bike racer! While that has been an exciting step for me, I have also started my second semester at McMaster University while making preparations for the 2018 season with my new coach, Kyle Douglas! I am extremely excited to move forward with my new team and coach this year and am hoping the change up will provide me with some new stimuli and motivation to make it a break through year!

As I write this blog, I’m sitting on a plane on my way back from an incredible two weeks of training in Majorca, Spain with Team Ontario. This particular adventure began mid February after I finished up my first round of midterms then set off to Zurich, then Palma Mallorca, Spain which if you’re not familiar with, is a cyclists’ dream island.

One of our first rides was one I’ll never forget. Our coaches Sean Kelly and Mike Garrigan took us along the most beautiful coastline where we weaved through mountains and even caves! Our route took us to a lighthouse where we found a goat waiting for us (more like our ride food).

Another legendary ride for me was one of our longer days where we road to Sa Colabra, a famous cycling route that gave us about 2000 metres of climbing in about 125 km. What made this route stand out for me was hands down the scenery. The main climb (Sa Colabra) was a picture taken out of recent Star Wars movies, so for the non-Star Wars fans out there, it was a cascade of rock mountains with hints of grass everywhere, leading down a mountain range to a bay looking out to the ocean. The climb back up was a bit of a haul but worth every minute and lots of fun thanks to the people I rode back up with.

These camps really do a great job of not only testing your fitness, but also your mental strength. I would be lying if I said that every ride was perfect; we definitely were tested during some of the colder, rainier days as it was Majorca’s off season. During one ride when it was raining, I decided I wasn’t going to let the cold/wet weather get to me and try to find a way to make myself appreciate my circumstances. I road out to a pier and tried taking some pictures of my bike against the ocean waves. I had it strategically (so I thought) rested on some rocks against the ocean. Pretty soon after I started taking pictures my bike got absolutely SMACKED by a wave and luckily, I (first screamed) jumped and caught it before any real damage was done. As I caught it I fell to the ground, soaked, and laughing so hard the locals probably heard me. It was a long day of training, I could feel it in my legs but I sat there beside the ocean in Majorca after a crazy two weeks of training, I enjoyed laughing at myself and really appreciating the moment. Man, I really am a tourist.

This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the help of High Gate for sending me out there with all the best gear and tools I needed for a world class camp. I used my VeloToze for majority of the rides! Thank you to Sean Kelly and Mike Garrigan for taking the time to bring the group of us to this incredible cycling destination and for providing us with superior coaching and training environment, and also to my coach Kyle Douglas for getting me prepared! And a special thanks to Garneau for providing my beautiful Steeple and Cinch Power Meter that got me through the camp even with a 1×11 set up!

Until next time, thanks for taking the time to read about how I’m doing! See everyone soon!