Sara Byers is a Elite Canadian Provincial and National Champion in road and track cycling. Based in Niagara and racing with
Kallisto-FCV p/b Toyo Tires (Forest City Velodrome) and Canada's National Sprint Team, upcoming goals include
2015 Pan Am Championships, Track World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympics.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
National and International Success
It's been a long year of building, all the way up to where I want to be when it counts. Through the end of August and beginning of September I competed at national and international level cycling events in velodromes at New Brunswick and Quebec.
I represented Team Ontario at Canadian Track Nationals from August 28th to September 1st. While there I placed 7th overall in a set of races called the Omnium and brought home silver in Sprint and bronze in the Keirin as well as Team Sprint with fellow Ontarian and Junior Team Pursuit Pan-American Champion Kristen Sears.
With results close to Canada's National Team, I thought it best to build on the success and gain experience by entering the Bromont International Track Challenge, an international level track event held last week in Quebec, again representing Ontario. The competition was an UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) sanctioned event, meaning athletes who attend could earn points for their country and a place in bigger international events such as world championships and the Olympics. It has been over ten years since Canada last hosted a UCI track event. This was my first track event at the international level, but excitement outweighed nerves. The vibe of the event was extremely professional but very fun and down to earth. We were all squished together in a tiny infield so athletes and staff were welcoming and helpful out of necessity I suppose. Some of the world's top athletes came from more than five different countries.
In a repeat of the Nationals performance I placed on the heels of Canada's National Team again in the Omnium with 7th, exceling once again in the individual timed events.
A highlight was a bronze medal finish in the Team Pursuit after quickly assembling a team composed of athletes from Ontario, Quebec and Mexico. Together we had only a few minutes practise for the highly technical event. We would have loved to go faster, but our main goal was to keep it together and gain experience. We started conservatively and ramped it up toward the end but ran out of track. We are proud of the result and to have shared the podium with Team Canada and Team USA.
Next competition will be Ontario Track Provincial Championships, September 27th to 29th at Forest City Velodrome in London, Ontario.
A mid competition epiphany occured that as a 35 year old woman, I was the eldest competitor at these events and one of very few who also hold a career to self fund training, equipment and competition. Being outside of what is generally considered an athlete's prime years, I do not qualify for most funding or training programmes. Some are fulltime athletes and many travel abroad to compete in high level events. I guess the thing that drives me to ignore the differences is striving to be the best, not the best within parameters, just the best. I'd rather think of positive things ahead. The new velodrome that will be opened in Milton next year will change cycling in North America and I am looking forward to being part of that.
It's not over yet, but thank you David Jack my partner and coach for being the best ever, Rob Good track coach for being a cool/exciteable/inspiring guy, Lisa Perlmutter for enlightenment, Steve Bauer and Tim & Dan Lefebvre for the push in a few of my hardest rides (figuratively and literally), team mates in Invita/FCV and Team Ontario for being so grounded and just enjoying the sport, the folks at Invita, St. Catharines Cycling Club for helping log the endless endurance building hours, and my family and friends for endless patience and understanding about my "leaving this realm" for a time to see how far I can go.