It's always good to get home and reflect on the season overall, and certainly the final trip and racing in Canada meant different things for different team members. But most importantly, it was the final opportunity to meet the selection criteria for this year's World Championships back home in Canberra. The seduction of a home World Championships is too sweet to miss, so everyone was digging deep after the long season of travelling.
Both Canadian rounds showed how different the racing conditions in the Northern hemisphere are to ours back home - from the dry, dusty and rocky tracks of Australia, to the wet, rooty slippery courses of Canada. The rain that was experienced at both World Cup rounds (in Bromont and Mont Sainte Anne - ed.) is something that will be remembered for a long time as it was totally amazing to all of us who are on water restrictions back home.
All team riders raced with great enthusiasm and embraced the testing conditions and couldn't thank GT, SRAM, and Continental enough for keeping their bikes working and gripping in the testing conditions. Each rider made the most of their final opportunity for Worlds selection.
The team comraderie was strong as all shared the ups and downs that traveling and racing brings in a team - including the trepidation and long wait to see if their names were on the "list" and if they had made the grade for all their sacrifices and hard work. For most of the team, the wait to hear who would be on the worlds team was spent soaking up the last couple of days in Quebec trying to unwind and then the long and arduous flight home.
Finally, the announcements were made, and the TORQ team was rewarded with five of its riders getting selected to represent Australia after a very consistent season at home and overseas. Dan McConnell our most experienced team member is selected for his seventh World Championships; Cal Britten for his third and Katherine O'Shea, Jo Wall and Brenton Jones will make their World Championships debuts in Canberra on September 5.
Most of the team were able to catch up for the first time since coming home for a bit of social racing and to discuss their trip, the worlds team and race at the well-run Chase the Sun series, which is held around the state park of Lysterfield, the site of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth games course.
The racing didn't turn out to be much fun as the conditions can only be described as brutal (wet and dangerously windy), but despite the conditions, we all had some fun and discussed the excitement of the upcoming races.
After the Chase the Sun race, the worlds team riders headed up to Canberra to begin their preparations. Luke, Steele, Tory and Tim headed off to what we expect to be an amazing race experience in Timor at the Tour de Timor www.tourdetimor.com. The race is designed to highlight the beauty of the countryside and its people after a difficult start to its independence. This initiative by the president is a great way to bring people together while at the same time providing a long, tough and rugged mountain bike stage race that will challenge all riders.
Stay tuned for our next team update - straight after worlds when we will give you the low down on what and how it all happened in Canberra and Timor.
Thanks for reading and happy riding,
Dean Clark and Ray Lacis