“He takes the time to get to know you and creates programs that are specifically catered to your needs as an athlete.”
- Erin Carter
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Great Year for PCC Athlete Annie Ewart

October 24, 2011

Pacific Cycling Centre's Annie Ewart has had a memorable year. As she leaves the Junior's behind she reflects on 2011 and looks forward to racing with the seniors next year. Here is Annie's year.

The 2011 racing season has now come to an end. After placing 7th in the time trial and 50th in the road race (stuck behind a crash with 200m to go) at the Junior World Championships in Copenhagen, I am happy to say that Worlds was a great way to end my season. This year’s Worlds had all riders combined (elite men and women, U23s, and juniors), so it was incomparable to last year’s World Championships that was just for junior riders. The atmosphere was something that I will never forget. I have never seen or experienced such big crowds in my life, and I hope that it’s not the last time! Most importantly, I learned that this is only the beginning of my cycling career proper. Now that racing at the junior level is finished it is time to race with the ‘big girls’, and I am really looking forward to it.

This time last year I was sitting down with Houshang (my coach) discussing what the plan and the goals were for the 2011 season. I had four main goals: become Canadian Junior Time Trial Champion; become Canadian Junior Road Race Champion; become Junior World Time Trial Champion; and finally get on to a Professional Cycling team in North America. As I reflect back on 2011, I realize that compared to all previous years that 2011 was my best season yet. As the season progressed my race performance improved with podium finishes in a number of races both at home and away. A major milestone was my early July win of both junior national champion jerseys in the time trial and road race — as this secured me a place on the national team for world championships.

After nationals my focus with Houshang shifted onto Worlds, specifically the time trail (TT). A good bench mark on my progress was the regular Sidney Tuesday night TT,
and in late August I set the record for the fastest female time for the year. I left at the end of August to join the national team at the training camp in Belgium and raced and trained there until September 14 — leaving to go to Copenhagen (a very bike friendly and beautiful city). At our team hotel in Copenhagen I was lucky enough to share a room with Clara Hughes — an amazing competitor who had tons of advice and wisdom to share.

I have placed a detailed account of my races at Worlds on my website under Latest News www.annieewart.com), and I learnt a lot from the experience. Although the Time Trial course was largely flat and fast the event was hard because of technical cornering at speed and constantly changing weather, especially strong winds. I was happy to be seventh even though my goal was higher, so Houshang and I are now analyzing my pre competition training and Worlds TT race file as they relate to my tapering, so that we will know better what is needed for greater success next time.

As for the road race, I was pleased that I was able to ride at or near the front of the peleton for the entire race; a substantial improvement over my 2010 performance where I was dropped after the first lap. On the fourth lap (of the five lap 70km road race) I was in a strong break with five other riders. The break should have lasted since the entire group was in the top 10 in the Time Trial, but as a result of a lack of organization we got caught by the peleton starting the final lap; which was too bad as the break had the potential to ride to the finish without challenge. Although I was able to remain at the front after being caught, on the final sprint for the finish line (despite being well positioned) I got caught behind a crash and lost a potentially top 10 finish as a result. That’s racing… and I was satisfied overall with my performance.

Following the World Championships (on my eighteenth birthday) I received an email from the Race Director of a new professional women’s cycling team based in the United States offering me a position on the team. This was very exciting as it is often tough to transition to join a professional team as a first year rider leaving the junior racing category. The experience of being interviewed and offered a contract (unfortunately — but not surprisingly - without salary) has been exciting and a huge relief all in one. Although I’m prevented from sharing more details until the team is officially launched, this opportunity is exactly what I need to continue to progress as a cyclist. The team has had a very successful men’s program for a number of years and they now want to branch out with a women’s team. It is hard to express how happy I am with this step for 2012. As you can imagine, I am looking forward to next year’s racing already, as I will be involved in a significant number of professional USA National Race Calendar stage races all across the United States www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=7130). These races typically attract the top female riders and teams from all over the world, and with many riders gearing up for the 2012 Olympics in London the competition will be tough.

After a season which involved the start of training last October with competitions from March through to the end of September I’m now enjoying a few weeks off the bike. It’s especially nice to have time to catch up with friends and family, get some running in, and not worry too much about what I am eating. I may even try some snowshoeing when Mt. Washington gets some snow.

As many of you know, in the early summer I launched my website (after much encouragement) as it offers a big improvement on how I provide updates to family, friends, and sponsors — especially when I’m on the road or at competitions. I work to keep it as up to date as possible, and will add information about my new team and my 2012 race calendar as soon as I have it confirmed.

Lastly, it means a lot to me to receive your ongoing interest and support. It is thanks to you that I can continue to succeed and progress as an athlete.

Best wishes, Annie

cycling, athlete, willock, amiri
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