Raph taking the win. Photo copyright of Doug van den Ham 

Raph taking the win. Photo copyright of Doug van den Ham 

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.

Copyright Doug van den Ham 

Copyright Doug van den Ham 

Post-race. Copyright Doug van den Ham 

Post-race. Copyright Doug van den Ham 

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.

- MVDH

 

 

 

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