by Oliver Evans
Any tips for riding in the snow?
Jeff Vopni, Burnaby, B.C.
Go somewhere warm without snow.
But, if like me, you live in Canada, then there seems to be no escaping the slippery stuff. I do my best to avoid it when out on the road, but when I do encounter snow, I’ve noticed a few things.
I ride slower. Much slower. I brake long before turns and don’t even consider touching the brakes as I turn. I lean as little as possible through turns with my hands in my drops to lower my center of gravity. I’m easy on the brakes and sort of dab the rear when I do need to slow down. Too much front brake might cause me to slide out. Sometimes I even unclip my inside foot through a corner. If I know I’m on a patch of ice, I try not to brake or turn.
Wider tires and lower pressure are an important modification. If you know the roads are dangerous though, sometimes it’s best to hit the trails or ride indoors.
How do you imagine the future of Canadian cycling for Canadian athletes?
Trevor March, Ladysmith, B.C.
There are a lot of positive initiatives within the world of Canadian cycling these days. It really feels like cycling is growing in Canada.
Programs such as Canada’s NextGen for both track and mountain bike seem to be doing a lot to develop athletes. Canadian medals at track worlds and rounds of the World Cup in the past 12 months have been inspiring. We seem to have a pretty young bunch of up-and-coming cyclists. Seeing the young women’s track team medal at the World Cup in Minsk, Belarus a week ago implies a promising future.
Even now, riders such as Leah Kirchmann and Michael Woods are achieving incredible results on the world stage. Perhaps their success will continue to encourage funding and growth at all levels of cycling in Canada, so that the promising young athletes who are already medalling at World Cups can continue on their trajectories.
In the past few years since racing cyclocross worlds in Tabor in 2015, I’ve noticed a group of invested individuals work together to secure funding for Canadian cyclocross projects to help subsidize trips to worlds. Entirely self-supported trips to world championships to race for your national team shouldn’t be the way things work, so ideally that will change. While the funding for track seems to be paying off, it would be nice to see that same level of funding for road and cyclocross.
In short, I think we have some promising athletes but there needs to be more support to be consistently competitive.
What kind of training takes you from recreational cyclist to pro?
Laurie Cooper, Shawnigan Lake, B.C.
The kind that requires you to quit your job, travel somewhere warm, and do nothing but ride your bike and eat rice.
I think the biggest difference is volume. As a pro, it becomes your full-time profession. Cycling comes first. I worked from September until the end of January. Today is my last day of work and then I’m off to Tucson to put in a month of long hours before meeting to train with the team in March and start racing in April. I worked as long as I could to put some money away for the next eight months of travel without income.
As a recreational cyclist, you work and ride. As a pro, you ride and work. I have to plan around training rather than train around plans.