Now that the Canadian National Championships have come and gone and a week's time has given me a chance to process the race, I thought I needed to put my experience in words.
First off, I want to be clear that I'm absolutely thrilled to see my teammate, Raphael Gagne, take the title and I'm equally thrilled that I was a big part of that win. As a team, we knew we had to work together to take the title and I feel we did that to perfection.
Yet, despite that, I'm left feeling a little empty. Empty not because I didn't have a good pair of races. I did. If anything I feel I raced better and stronger than I did a year ago. But empty because of how painfully close I came to getting on the podium both days. I had no realization of this before the race, but it turns out that 4th is just about the worst possible result to get in a race. I was left wondering what could have been. Wondering how I could have gone that tiny amount faster. Wondering if I was hungry enough.
Up until this season, I had continually outdone my own expectations. A podium at last year's nationals? Amazing! A 2nd in Iowa? Never imagined it! A year ago I would have been happy with my results this past weekend. To be honest, I had no idea how it felt to work really hard for something and come out just short. Adam Myerson told me a couple years ago and again last week, "you are too strong now to just ride hard." I didn't know what it meant at the time, but I realize the truth in that statement now. I can't just ride hard and be happy with the result anymore and it took until this season for me to realize that.
In retrospect, Nationals needed to happen like it did. I allowed myself an experience of what it was like to come devastatingly close to something I wanted and instead, came up short. With every race I do from now on, I will race hungrier because of what happened. I took a step towards learning how to win, whether that be the race or my group, by realizing how much I don't want to lose. So Nationals, thank you.