Dec 29, 2013

Lex's Hockey Stop

I like to play outside during the off-season.   Here in Montréal there is no shortage of winter activities.  Since today was an "off-day" and I didn't have any training to do, I pulled out my ice-skates.  I thought I'd test out my skating skills for fun.  I was trying to get ice to fly up above my head...what do you think? 



Dec 23, 2013

Good news, we made it to the next step!

In November 2013 I had the opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Los Angeles with the Canadian National Team, at the Vélo Sports Center Vélodrome.  National Team programs are often self-funded, as was this one.  Thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to get to Los Angeles.
Good news, we made it to the next step!  I've been chosen to continue in the program.  I am invited to spend a good part of January at the vélodrome in Los Angeles with the Canadian National team.  Here is why this is such a big deal:  This is where the final decision on which athletes will continue in the permanent program (ultimate goal: Rio 2016) will be made.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to helping get me to Los Angeles for the first round.  This truly feels like a team-effort.  We've made it to the next step!

A GoFundMe campaign has been established help cover the costs of participating in this round of the project.  The cost is quite substantial (it's outlined here), but I don't want finances to get in my way of giving my best shot again.

Thanks to everyone who has believed in me, and thank you so much for your support.

Lex's GoFundMe fundraiser : http://www.gofundme.com/5w1tkk
Photo copyright : Justin Knotzke.  www.justinknotzke.com


Dec 20, 2013

A Bloody Good Day

Before the crack of dawn this morning, I was at the hospital for blood tests.  There are two reasons for the timing: 
    1. To get free parking in the street before 9am (JACKPOT)
    2. Get the boring stuff over with so I could move on to training at PowerWatts!

I was waiting patiently for the priority patients to have their blood drawn ahead of me.  (When I fly, it's cool to have priority status.  At the hospital, nobody gets Special-Priority-Status for a "cool" reason.  So, I was happy to wait.)

Instead of sitting in the waiting room, I stuck around in the hallway to up my chances of not going home with some nosocomial infection.  (It probably didn't make much of a difference.)  My cellphone rang.  "Lex, we're here for blood testing.  We're at the door"

"Well, actually, I'm right here!"  I replied, thinking they decided not to call my name over the waiting room loudspeaker.  Hey if they think a cellphone call is more efficient, cool. 

But in fact, it was the CCES who was at my home, waiting at the door to take blood for the Blood Passport program.  How ironic!

After getting 6 tubes of blood drained from my left arm in the hospital, I hustled home and gave 2 more to the CCES from my right arm.  The rest of my blood?  I'm keeping it for MYSELF!  
Photo copyright : Justin Knotzke (www.justinknotzke.com)
...that's what I call a bloody good start to the day.

Dec 5, 2013

New North American UCI Race for Women for 2014

Tour de Delta Gets 1.2 UCI International Status for Women’s Road Race
In 2013 I was proud to be named Ambassador for BC Superweek.  I won the opening stage and final race general classification with my team, NOW and Novartis for MS.  My teammates swept the podium in other stages of the event. Check details from the press release here:
BC Superweek has announced that the international governing body of cycling, Union Cycliste International (UCI), has officially upgraded the 2014 Women’s White Spot | Delta Road Race to a 1.2 UCI sanctioned event.
“The Corporation of Delta is very excited to have the Women’s White Spot | Delta Road Race become a UCI 1.2 sanctioned event and join the men’s race on the international cycling calendar,” said Corporation of Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “Delta is a community that encourages active  healthy living and fair play, therefore, the inclusion of the women’s race was a natural step for us to support."

"As the title sponsor for the Delta Road Race, we’re happy to support the growth of women's cycling in British Columbia and Canada with the inclusion of the 2014 race on the UCI calendar,” said White Spot President & CEO Warren Erhart. “It's an honour to be a part of the Delta Road Race since it's first year in 2001 and to see it become an internationally recognized event."
 
With international sanctioning and awarding of official UCI points, the road race will draw a deeper, stronger field of top professional cyclists from all over the world to the already well attended three event Tour de Delta and the rest of the nine race BC Superweek series ...

UCI officials attended and closely examined last year’s race before awarding the certification. White Spot | Delta Road Race Director Mark Ernsting added, “With the inclusion of the women's race into the UCI calendar, this adds significant profile to the Tour de Delta and overall series of BC Superweek.”

“Cycling Canada is extremely pleased to see the White Spot | Delta Road Race for women has now been upgraded to UCI sanctioned event,” said John Tolkamp, President of Cycling Canada. “...we thank all the supporters of the Delta Road Race for making a significant commitment and investment in supporting the growth of women's cycling in Canada and North America.”
“Cycling is definitely one of the most popular outdoor activities in Canada and its popularity  is growing at an exciting rate, that’s why I’m thrilled that the Delta Road Race has become a UCI event for 2014,” BC Superweek Ambassador Lex Albrecht exclaimed. “This new classification has positive repercussions for women’s cycling, riders who represent Canada internationally, and for BC Superweek.”

(UCI points are used to determine the number of entries each country gets into events like the World Championships and Olympics.)

A member of Team NOW and Novartis for MS, Albrecht won the Tour de Delta Criterium and the Tour de White Rock Hill Climb in 2013.“The UCI status will attract teams and riders from around the world, and gives Canada, BC, and the Lower Mainland a chance to shine on an international level,”  continued Albrecht. “Presently, the majority of UCI races are in Europe, which makes accessing points difficult for riders who focus on the North American race circuit. The White Spot | Delta Road Race now brings anopportunity for Canadian riders to score points on home soil.”
BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest cycling series, with $110,000 in prize money available during
nine races over 10 days. BC Superweek takes place in July 2014, and is made up of the Tour de Delta, UBC Grand Prix, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby and the Tour de White Rock.


Learn more at www.bcsuperweek.ca

Nov 29, 2013

End of 2 Weeks at Track Camp with Team Canada

"Okay Lex, now touch the black line.  BLACK line.  BLACK LINE, Lex."  That was my first lap around the track as I rode on the flat apron, the evening that I arrived in LA.  Everyone else had flown in earlier, and were done for they day.  Rob Good (from the Forest City Vélodrome) coached me to ride up high in the bankings, one step at a time.  He's good at that one-step-at-a-time thing.

By day two, I was sitting on the back of the team (rode behind them) doing pursuit efforts.  And day three I was IN there doing the pursuit.  Then, I learned to do a standing start and flying laps.  Day four: heck, why not, my first ever track race: the team pursuit.  (It's a 16-lap or 4 km 4-person team time trial on the track).
Waiting for our start at the Los Angeles Grand Prix UCI track race.  We raced the team pursuit.
By week two I didn't get all panicky every time I started off on the track.  That was a welcome change.  Well earned too.

As the days went on we gradually hit higher and higher speeds for our 16 lap team pursuit.  The coaches tracked our pace on each lap, and I got used to their system of communicating the information with us.  If we were 1/10s slower than our target lap time, they would stand one step in front of the start line as we passed. - PICK IT UP! - If we were 7/10s faster than our target, they would stand 7 paces behind the start line. - STEADY - With 1 lap to go, the bell would ring, and we'd drill it to the finish.
By the end of the project, it felt like we were nailing our pursuit more often than not.  Super feeling. 
America's Only World Class Indoor Velodrome, Los Angeles, Velodrome, Track Cycling
I had a great time during this project, and gained some really valuable experience.   Thank you to everyone who helped get me to L.A..  I would like to be back on the track again soon.

The track is for everyone.  You don't even have to consider yourself a cyclist to give it a whirl.  Most places rent bikes and have intro sessions.  Forget going out to a restaurant, the movies, or BOWLING.  Go try the track. 
London, Ontario - Forest City Vélodrome
Burnaby, British Colombia - Burnaby Vélodrome
Los Angeles, California - Velo Sports Center LAVRA

Nov 21, 2013

Hotel Laundry Room

I have a special sense called Gym-Radar.  I developed it while I was in highschool.  It means I can sense where the nearest gym is in the area.  I'm kind of kidding, but kind of not. I found a gym hours after arriving at the hotel I'm living at in Los Angeles (during the Canadian National Team's track camp).
I ride my bike there every morning.  But it was pouring today...so I readjusted my strategy.  I took over the hotel laundry room.  Perfect!  There was a even a table to use with my Travel Roller so I could get right into some hard-to-reach spots that I can't get at easily on the floor.  When I needed a mirror, I looked at my reflection in the vending machine
Morning myofascial release in the hotel laundry room.
Good thing nobody had to do their laundry this morning.

Nov 18, 2013

Quad Size - Not as Simple as I Thought.

I'm in LA with Cycling Canada.  My California-based NOW and Novartis for MS teammate, Beth Newell is also here at the track. 

Beth likes to talk about quad size.  She's actually an expert on it (she was quoted in the New York Times on the subject).  So, I like to listen to her quad talk, the girl knows what she's speaking about.  Beth said I needed to get my quads measured.  As she pulled out the measuring tape, I asked her how she knew where to measure the circumference from.  She said : "the biggest part!" as if it was obvious.  I'm new to this track thing though. 

I am now aware of the official quad measuring procedure. You might want to consult it for yourself.

My magic number: 48.5.  That's centimeters by the way.  We're in America.  I don't know why quad-size is measured in cm.  (Oh wait, there is a reason.  Read it HERE).  Beth says that my quads are going to get bigger while I'm at the track in LA.  We'll measure again in 2 weeks and see where I'm at. 
Beth Newell. US Track Cycling Champion. And, my NOW and Novartis for MS teammate.
I secretly hope that they don't get too much bigger... I don't want to have to replace all of my jeans.  Don't tell Beth.

Nov 16, 2013

One last day in Montréal

This is what I did on my last day in Montréal, before heading to L.A. with the Canadian National Cycling team to participate in their track program:

- I pulled the best shot of espresso that I had pulled all week.
Lex Albrecht, pro cycling, coffeeshop ride, espresso, Breville espresso
- I smashed a bottle of fast-drying orange nailpolish on the floor.  With a lot of elbow grease (I guess my elbows are greasier than I thought), I cleaned it up.  The only trace was the stench of solvent lingering in the apartment...

- I brought my track bike to PowerWatts to spin on the rollers.  I wanted to test my set-up that has been tweaked a few times in the past weeks one last time.  (I wanted to make sure the shifting was smooth and the brakes weren't rubbing either...you know?)  Everything : A-ok

- I stopped by Martin Rooseboom's bike shop on Hochelaga, again, to pick up some spare gears.  Martin has helped me a lot this season, and especially with gearing up for the track.  Thanks.
Martin Rooseboom, bike, specialized, hochelaga
Martin working on my road bike this summer. 
- I packed two bikes in one box, and made my final selection of nailpolish colours to bring to LA.

- I went for a motorcycle ride, and stopped at Crudessence, bought a 1L bottle of RISE kombucha, and drank it cowboy-style, right in the restaurant. Delicious.  Life is good



SEE YOU IN LA!

Nov 13, 2013

Living in Montréal : Bixis and Espresso

In 2013, as a new Montréaler, I made some good decisions. During the race season, I'm on the road very often, all over North America.  I finished the season in Europe with the World Championships in Italy.  When I was home in Montréal though, two of these decisions really paid off!
Lex Albrecht : Montréal Canada Photo copyright : Nicolas Paquet www.kipphoto.ca

I chose to buy a Bixi membership. RIGHT CHOICE. 

My car is not always ideal in the city.  And, as a cyclist I need an easy way to get around after my hard training rides.  Maximizing recovering each day is essential to be able to put the most into the next training session.  The Bixi seemed to do the trick for me, as long as I kept the cadence low ;).  

2014 memberships for the public bike sharing service in Montréal are on sale now, and this is why I am buying one again next year: 
  1. I'm not left with a bike to store through the winter
  2. I saved a whack of money on fuel and parking 
  3. I avoided hours of wasted time in traffic (no exaggeration!)
  4. I had extra freedom : Park a Bixi, walk a little while, and take a new one at a different location.
  5. The gearing is perfect, and the geometry is comfortable. The Bixi is pretty suitable for post-HARD training.  It doesn't demand a lot of effort.


I Became a Holder of The Indie Coffee Passport
Specialized S-Works Amira, Lex Albrecht, Professional Cyclist, Coffeeshop ride, Indie Coffee passport, Montreal, Espresso, Third wave espresso, professional cycling
Spy sunglasses, blue coffeecup, third wave espresso, recovery ride, cycling, coffeeshop, montreal quebecAn ex co-worker (pre-pro cycling life) told me about the Indie Coffee Passport.  I couldn't believe my ears. But it was true.  For $22, holders can try a coffee (I chose espresso) at 18 different independent and mostly Third-Wave coffee shops around Montréal.

This was a great way to discover some excellent coffee shops where I'm almost a regular now (espressos aren't cheap, so I supplement my coffee shop visits with home-pulled shots from my entry level machine, & small mugs of instant decaf coffee).


lapresse newspaper, journal lapresse, indie coffee passport montreal, black espresso cup, thridwave espresso, lex albrecht, professional cyclist, womens cycling, champion of quebecMost importantly: this gave me a destination for my coffe-shop rides.  There's nothing like spinning around enjoying the city at a slow pace, while scouting out a new coffeeshop address.  Then BAM, at 45 minutes into the ride : ESPRESSO.  Most of the times, it was delicious.  Sometimes, off-the-wall delicious.

I'll be participating in this again during 2014 too!

Nov 6, 2013

THIS was #inthebox !

#whatisinthebox answer: Louis Garneau 721 Course Snowshoes. THE BEST snowshoe I have ever tried!
In the winter, it's no secret that I spend hours every week at PowerWatts Premier Studio in Montréal, it's a great place train.  I compliment my training on the bike by getting outside to PLAY.  Nothing can replace fresh air and sunshine...

I cross-country ski.  I used to snowboard too, but that had to be wiped off of my list of activities after I whacked my head one-too-many times.  (I don't miss it.)  So, I added another activity to the menu : SNOWSHOEING - off-trail, and uphill.

In 2012 I was lucky enough to try a prototype of Louis Garneau's revolutionary Course 721 snowshoes.  It's 2013, and they're on the market now.  I wanted a pair of my own, "real bad".
That BOA dial...can be twisted with GLOVES on.  Ohhh yehhhhh!
WHY I "NEED" THEM:  Snowshoing is a super off-season crosstraining.  It's low impact, a great endurance workout, uses a lot of the same muscles solicited in cycling ... and it's a lot of fun.  I can go snowshoeing with any of my friends, even my Mom.  She's awesome, by the way.

Louis Garneau Limited Edition 721 Course snowshoe
WHY I WANT THESE : Because they're the best snowshoes out there! The LG Course 721 Snowshoes are super light : only 1.75lbs.  The exclusive BOA closure-system is a first in the industry.  The BOA bindings stay tight and are easy to micro-adjust.  Plus I don't have to take off my gloves to change the tension...

The snow hasn't started to fall in Montréal yet, but when it does, I'll be prepared with the best snowshoes that I have ever seen in my LIFE.  Who wants to come snowshoeing?

Nov 5, 2013

#whatisinthebox

Purolator box, cardboard box, special delivery, #whatisinthebox, getting ready for winter, winter in Montreal
 I live in Montréal. The winters can be harsh, especially for a cyclist.  And, I love it like that.  The trick is being well prepared.   I got a special delivery yesterday with something that's going to be mighty useful for me this winter.  We're playing #whatisinthebox on Twitter.  Join in, and take a guess at what you think is in the box!  www.twitter.com/lex_albrecht

So far, nobody has guessed correctly!  (You can check out some of the answers that I retweeted).  Here's a clue to help you out:
BOA
Come on guys, I know that somebody can figure it out!

Nov 4, 2013

High Five at the World Championships

Even when...
         there aren't any more "matches left to burn",
        when there is no more "fuel in the legs"
         and when it feels like every last effort has been "laid out on the road"
 ... it's amazing what wringing out a wee bit of force for a HIGH-FIVE can do!
Lex Albrecht, women's pro cycling, UCI, World Cycling Championships 2013, Florence Italy, Specialized Bikes, High Five
I had a few sparks left to give this fan a high-five at the World Championships when I thought my legs were about to fall off.  His cheering and spirit definitely gave me some extra sunshine to an already amazing day.

Representing Canada for a second time at the World Championships was an honour, a extraordinary experience, and a feat that I'll be endeavouring to attack again next year.

Thanks to everyone who cheered me on in Italy, and from afar.  You're all SUPERSTARS!

Oct 4, 2013

Lex is on Vacation

What a great year of racing.  I finished it off with the World Championships in Florence, Italy.  Now it's the off-season.  I'm on vacation in Italy and Switzerland until the second week of October.  Here are some shots of what I have been doing before I'll head back to Montréal.
Ford C-Max Hybrid car : Just like NOW and Novartis for MS's team car!   I even got a rental version in Switzerland!
Hiking from Ebenalp to Santis to Wasserauen in Appenzellerland, Switzerland
A gondola ride in the watery streets of Venice, Italy
Climbing the chains of an Italian castle's drawbridge.  Hey, it's the off-season!
Espresso in Lindau, Germany during a ride around the Bodensee.  The best espresso I've had in Europe. This was no coffeeshop ride though!

Sep 26, 2013

Nailpolish for Worlds 2013

I'm in Italy.  I'm staying at Il Borghetto Andrea Tafi (Tafi is an ex-pro cycling champion) in Italy, with the Canadian National Team.  Today we drove to Florence to pre-ride the Worlds race course.  It's not going to be anywhere near easy.  But, it is a really, really cool course.
2013 World Championships manicure
Before getting on the plane to Italy I went and got my nails done with my friend Véro (check out her site here).  Last year I painted Candian flags on every nail, this year I decided to leave the painting up to the pros.  It was good for my brain.  Check it out, the mani-pedi matches the new Cycling Canada team kits.  ;)

Sep 23, 2013

Princess in the Parc

I did my final ride in the hills of Westmount and on the Mont Royal before taking off from Montréal to Pisa, Italy for the World Championships.  The race is on Saturday, September 28.  Here is a link to watch live : http://www.cyclingfans.com/uci-road-world-championships/live

I feel lucky because for the past month, my travelling was limited and I was at home in my own element, training.

Along with a bunch of leg-busting workouts in Montréal and at PowerWatts, I trained in Lac. St. Jean, Cantons de l'Est, and the Mauricie.   I raced the Green Mountain Stage Race and the Québec Championships. I finished it all off with the Défi VéloMag, two days before my departure.

I love the Défi VéloMag.  (It's not a race, it's a ride, and I don't say that mockingly.  It's true.)  The Parc de la Mauricie is my most favorite place to ride in all of Québec, and the Défi itself is plain awesome.  Some guy called me a princess a few kilometers into the rolling 105km ride.  I didn't know if it was a compliment (yeah, highly unlikely), something to laugh at, an insult, or just some stupid thing he said after ramming his handlebars into my left buttcheek, because he was a little too far into the red-zone.  You know, I get like that sometimes.  Pounding it up steep hills in my training, sometimes I don't see straight anymore at the summit. And after I max out during efforts on the E-Motion Elite rollers at PowerWatts in Montréal, sometimes I say the most incoherant stuff.  I only realize it when I get one of those Uhh-What-Planet-Are-You-On looks.  So I'm just going to attribute the handlebar-ramming and the princess comment to a lack of oxygen.  It happens to all of us.

They say that when you're driving something like a Specialized S-Works Amira, you've got to look in the direction that you want to go and your bike will follow.  I think that's the same with thoughts .  When you think positively, positive stuff will happen.  I know that the World Championships are going to be flipping tough, but I'm stoked to be there, to represent Canada, to race my BIKE with the best, and I'm feeling positive about it.  You know which direction that means I'll be going in.

Sep 16, 2013

Grand Prix Cycliste Montréal 2013

I promised I would be out to cheer on the Canadian riders for every edition of the World Tour races in Québec City and Montréal, and only one thing could stop me: a World Championships selection.  I got stopped last year, and slowed this year, but nevertheless...

In 2012, I was in Europe already preparing for World Championships (The Netherlands).  This year I'm home in Montréal preparing for Worlds (Italy on September 28, 2013).  I decided to be wise, take it easy, save my matches for training and recovering for my own racing.  I didn't go to see the race in Québec.  In Montréal, I ran around lot less than usual and hooked myself up with a megaphone to save my voice.  Perfect solution, excellent compromise.

Lex & the megaphone at the Grand Prix Cycliste Montréal.  Photo Credit: B. Poirier
Thanks to all of the Canadian riders for representing us so well, putting on such a great show for us, riding hard, and inspiring fans here on our own roads in Montréal.  Awesome, awesome, awesome. 

Especially since my self-assigned passion-driven mandate was to cheer on all of the Canadian riders, a SPECIAL HUGE congratulations to Guillaume Boivin for his team's victory.  At the end of the day, one rider takes the win, but in bike racing it's a team effort to get there.  NICE WORK!  Big, big props to Zach Bell for representing Canada in the break that lasted most of the race. AND, of course, Ryder Hesjedal for his podium finish!


Just one thing: TOO STINKIN' BAD that the women's World Cup road cycling race on the Mont Royal had to stop after 2009.  I don't know if it's 'okay' to say that, but it's how I feel.  I want a women's pro race back here in Montréal so I can race on my own roads again. 

Sep 11, 2013

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013

I am very excited and proud to officially announce that the Canadian National Team has released their roster for the World Cycling Championships to be held in Florence, Italy.  I have been selected to represent Canada along with 5 other athletes amongst the best women in the world at the World Championship race on September 28, 2013.

Lex Albrecht: Canadian National Team.  Photo copyright Nicolas Paquet - kipphoto.ca
I will spend the remaining period of time before the big event training in Montréal and at the PowerWatts Premier Studio.


THANK YOU TO :

 My team, NOW and Novartis for MS and all of our sponsors.
 Nuheat for your ongoing support, I am so proud to be a Nuheat sponsored athlete.
Global Relay Bridge the Gap fund for helping me achieve this ultimate goal for 2013, your support has made an enormous difference for me this year.
CSHNQ for supporting me with an amazing deal of valuable resources to help me train and prepare for my competitions.

Sep 10, 2013

Silver Medal at the 7th Jeux de la Francophonie

 I had the honour of representing Canada and Québec in Nice, France at the 7th Francophone Games (held every 4 years).  Nice (pronounced "niece" by the way) borders on the Mediterranean sea. I had been once before, but without my bike.  I was so happy to have had the opportunity to return, to RACE.
The day we arrived was long and difficult.  I like challenges, but only when my basic needs are met: sleep, food, and reasonable hygiene.  Priority #1: Getting our bikes built up, and riding.  I ended my ride with a swim in the Mediterranean ocean.  That was pleasant. Exhausted from jet lag and travel, we could not sleep until late at night due to meetings and ceremonies and events that we were happy to attend, but perhaps not in the best shape to get the most out of.
Waiting for a ceremony to begin... the energy tank is past empty, but the spirits are high.
We had one day to get over the travel and jet lag (6 hours time difference).  I did a warm-up ride with my teammates, and headed back home to do the real intervals on the stationary trainer.  Alain from ISM took care of my legs afterwards with an excellent massage that I was more than grateful for.
 
 We skipped the opening ceremonies of the Francophone Games that night.  It made me sad to hear the fireworks and see them flash through the trees of the campus where I was staying.  But I knew I was better off resting.  I was already sleep deprived and the race start was at 9 am the following morning.  
We started in a heavy rainfall on the Promenade des Anglais and headed out towards the hills.    With the 100 SPF sunscreen running down my face in the downpour, much too often I could only see out of one eye, even with my Spy sunglasses.  There were climbs, attacks, flats, and plenty of crashes on the extremely slippery roads out there.  Fortunately, even in Cyclops-mode, I had no such issues other than my wheel slipping across the pavement a few times.  

In the final kilometers, there were 7 of us up the road, ahead of the peloton.  One French rider attacked and got away, but I jumped on her wheel and went with her.  We sped down the road and as the finish line neared, we started playing a bit of cat-and-mouse.  I was on the front, and didn't want to be.  She attacked hard, and even though my legs were tired, I pounded on my Time Xpresso pedals and jumped in her draft.  HA! Now I was in the favorable position, and she just burnt half a match...  A large, blue, inflatable arch was coming into sight.  There was no red flag (or flamme rouge).  I was sure it was the finish.  Jumping off her wheel and crossing under it first was a mistake.  1km was left.  I felt silly for my mistake but determined to fight to the end.  I was now on the front, and she was in my draft.  With 275m to go, I stood up on my pedals and tried to start a long sprint, but the French rider used her momentum from riding behind me, and accelerated so fast out of my draft that I couldn't catch her before the line.  She won.  I got silver.  I was a bit disappointed.  But very happy at the same time.

Ministre de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport : Marie Malavoy et Lex Albrecht. Jeux de la Francophonie. Nice, France
What an honour to represent my team, my sport, my province, and my country on the podium at the 7e Jeux de la Francophonie.  The minister of Leisure, Education and Sport, Marie Malavoy came to congratulate me after the race.
Lex Albrecht et chef de mission et coordonnateur sport de l’équipe du Québec, Éric Pilote.
 It was a tough day, and a lot happened out on the road.  I'm proud of the work our team did together. The courage and strength of my teammates was exceptional.  What an honour to be a part of it all.
La plus belle médaille que j'ai eu à vie!  (Et du vernis à ongle qui s'agence avec l'uniform de l'équipe du Québec.. :) )

Sep 5, 2013

Jeux de la Francophonie

J'ai eu l'occasion de parler des médiaux sociaux, mon sport, et les Jeux de la Francophonie avec Cédrik de Unikeo Media à Montréal dernièrement...

Allez voir les entrevues avec d'autres athlètes sur son site : UNIKEO Sport Digital

Sep 4, 2013

Green Mountain Stage Race

The Green Mountain Stage Race is a cycling race in Vermont, USA. An awesome 4 day race where the race isn't over 'till it's over.  The courses are fun, tough enough, and the time bonus structure is exciting.
Green Mountain Stage Race Criterium. Photo: C. Johnson
NOW and Novartis didn't have this race on their calendar, but I went alone.  I ended up having a BLAST.  This year, I was able to fit the 4 day event in my schedule as perfect preparation for upcoming European racing.  I couldn't believe how smoothly the GMSR was run, the exceptionally positive aura and atmosphere, the security of the courses, and the quality of the race circuits.
Stage 1 podium with my NUHEAT bottle and Rumble for recovery.  Photo: Gary Kessler
The first day I finished 2nd (by 7s) in the 5 mile time-trial, that started with a long steep uphill.  No TT bikes were allowed so I left my Specialized S-Works SHIV at home and went with my S-Works Amira.

In the Stage 2 road race, I planned to ride conservatively.  After sitting out the first intermediate sprint I thought "that's enough, I'm going for it", decided to go for all, and scooped up the remaining sprint and QOM (Queen of the Mountains) points.  I went for gold too, sprinting to a stage victory and taking the yellow leader's jersey while I was at it. I was feeling good.
Lex Albrecht, Specialized S-Works Amria, and Rolf tubular climbing wheels
I heard the next day's course finished with a brutal climb.  I took 2.5 hours to pre-drive the course in my boat-of-a-car.  (I wish I had a NOW and Novartis Ford C-MAX hybrid in Vermont with me...way smoother!).  I knew what was to come.  I did my own wrenching and put on a big (28 tooth) cassette. I wished I had a SRAM compact crankset to go along with it though.

Day 3 my job was only to protect the jersey.  My plans were otherwise though.  It wasn't "smart racing" attacking the field over and over from the gun, and I knew it.  But it hurt, and it's going to pay off.  I went for the QOM points and got them.  Towards the end of the 67mi stage with tired legs, I tried to hang on to Amy Bevilacqua's wheel as we dieseled up App-Gap, a 4km climb that ends with pitches with 20% gradient pitches.  With 2km to go..she stared slipping away.  I lost just over a minute in those final km as Amy pounded up the hill.  Seeing how strong she was made me feel good about only being 7s behind her in the TT at least.  I lost the yellow jersey for good to Amy that day (she deserved it, a LOT), but managed to secure the Queen of the Mountain jersey by scoring all of the points, except the ones at the finish that Amy earned fair and square.
 That Zenberry QOM jersey was mine to keep for the rest of the race!  Photo: Gary Kessler.

Stage 4 was a just-technical-enough criterium in Downtown Burlington, VT with my favorite thing : an uphill finish.  I wanted the Green sprinter's jersey to go with my Polka Dot climber's jersey.  So I went for all the sprints, and the win.  I got enough points to keep the jersey, and the victory was mine.  The screaming fans made it even sweeter, especially the crew from Trois-Rivières Québec (where I went to university and started racing!) who surprised me!
Burlington Criterium.  Photo: C. Johnson
THE FINAL SPRINT: (video J. Mathieu)

video


 Thanks to the awesome crowd for putting so much cash into the crowd-prime cup.  Hearing that bell for that prime made me sprint like there was no tomorrow.


At the 2013 GMSR, I became the Queen of the Mountains, Best Sprinter, had two victories, and two 2nd place podiums.  A race to remember.  And to return to. Thanks to Gary and Peter, the race organizers and all of the other staff and volunteers.  What an event.   If you weren't there this year, you should be next year.
Photo finish - Stage 4

Photo: C. Johnson