Thank you for the ups, the downs, and the lessons along the way.
Thank you for new friends, and the memories with old friends.
Thank you for the exciting travels, and for the relaxing days at home.
Thank you for pulling me out of my comfort zone, and then for giving me confidence.
It seems unbelievable that every year that passes, I can continue to say, "Wow, this year has been my best one yet!".
This year, I travelled to Austria, Germany, Spain, California, North Carolina, Alberta, Quebec, and around Ontario; all to train or compete. I had my most successful Nordic Skiing season yet, and ironically since I actually (finally) decided to focus more on cycling now. I had my most successful Canada Cup season for mountain biking, and although my bigger races of the season ended unfortunately, they too have helped me in other ways.
Much to even my own surprise, I also ran cross country more competitively than ever, as I raced with McMaster's varsity team.
This year, I graduated high school with high grades that I was proud of, and so was able to begin university in the fall, studying kinesiology at McMaster. I've lived away from home longer than ever, and no longer had my parents there to nag (I mean take care of) me. I had to leave all my closest friends for months at a time, but I also got to make many new, amazing friends.
These monumentous events in my life are the direct or indirect result of many people who have supported and believed in me throughout the year.
So I thank 2015, but really, I am thanking all of my supporters. But, what exactly is a supporter to me? Most obviously, a supporter is someone who has helped me train or compete with financial, equipment, or coaching aid. These people have really made massive differences that have helped me reach my next level of athletic pursuit, but there are so many more supporters that generally go unrecognized, and these people provide many little aids which result in a big difference.
A supporter is the person who wished me good luck or pumped me up before a race, or even a hard workout. The person who coached me, or gave me advice. The person who offered to help with my bike perhaps, or accepted my offer to train with me. A supporter is someone who gave me confidence when I didn't believe in myself, or even just smiled at me strengthening my feelings of a friendly, supporting community. A supportive family who invites me into their house for food or to warm up after training.
Barry Near, the owner of my amazing team, Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team, has always been there to help me reach my important races with the best equipment, race/tech support, and encouraging vibes. My team mates are fantastic athletes to spend race weekends with, always lightening the pre-race tension with constant humour.
I never have to worry about proper fueling with Hammer Nutritiom Canada support in my back pocket (literally, always have a bar in my jersey).
Smith Optics is always keeping me looking fast and fresh with their performance glasses. The high quality glasses make me forget that I'm even wearing glasses!
The OCA continues to support so many athletes, including myself, in so many ways with training camps and race projects. This allows for a great base to be built in the winter months down south, and race/tech/coaching/travel/food/entertainment support at races!!
Back to Function in Orillia always finds time to help me with any injury that pops up over the year, or to help me with injury prevention.
Being on Team Hardwood for skiing, along with coach Ron Howden and the parent helpers, is always a highlight of my year. Training and race weekends never cease to be anything less than amazing with such an incredible team.
McMaster varsity trainers have helped me a ton throughout the fall during my running season, as I tried to go from not running in 10 months to running almost every day.
World gym in Orillia has provided an amazing training facility for my strength days with all new equipment!
Thank you to Quest for Gold and OHPSI for outstanding support programs for progressing Ontario athletes.
A huge round of applause to Kevin Simms for proving yet again to be one of Canada's best coaches yet again with his plethora of successful athletes who, thanks to him, have a fun training year round while making GAINZ.
Team Canada coaches, physio, and support staff have also been there through the year for outstanding race trips to Europe, training camps, and injury rehab.
And last but certainly not least, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to my never faltering family and close friends for always being there for me. No matter if I'm crying from happiness, or because of an injury or sickness, they are there to help me celebrate, see the bigger picture, and reassure me that they care for me.