Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New website

After abysmally failing to keep this blog updated I've decided to see if a fresh start can get me back on the blogging bandwagon. Head over to deniseramsden.ca and I promise there will actually be updates there!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Good News

In the face of all the bad cycling news, here's some GOOD cycling news - for me anyway!

I'm excited to say that I'll be back with Optum p/b Kelly Benefits for the next season. I had an awesome season with the team last year and I'm looking forward to another great year. And this also means I don't need to change the colour of my blog! Although, this year I get to rock the red and white, rather than Optum orange - until the end of June at least.

Check out the press release for the full story.

And another positive announcement from the past couple weeks - a Canadian company, Global Relay, has made a huge investment in Canadian cycling for the next four years. They're already sponsors of the Gastown Grand Prix -  a part of BC SuperWeek here in Vancouver - but now they've decided to take their support to the next level with the formation the Global Relay Bridge the Gap cycling fund.  It's pretty cool to see this company and some of Canada's biggest names in cycling, Svein Tuft, Andre Pinfold, Will Routley, Ryan Anderson and Erinne Willock come together to support Canada's up and coming cyclists. The fund is designed to help get athletes onto pro teams and on the women's side, help keep them there as well. I'm supposed to be taking on a bit more of a mentorship role, but it's great to know that the fund is there if we need it.

Check out some of the press releases on that as well!

What it's all about

I've been meaning to write this post for the last month, but naturally it isn't until 2 days before my Comparative Environmental Physiology final that I feel that it is a good time to sit down and blog.

A month ago I got the chance to head home to Yellowknife - in between midterms and final papers/presentations - to spend some time with several of the sporting organizations where I started my path as an athlete and to share my story with a couple of the schools. 

I've always felt that growing up in the North had a huge impact on who I've become as an athlete. Both the support of the community and how much physical activity can become a way of life. People laugh now when I'm determined to head out to ride even if it's miserable outside. But to me it just seems normal. I was never getting out of Jackrabbits as a kid, because no matter what temperature Mom had to be there to run things, so I was going to be there skiing. Even the Christmases I've spent in YK since starting cycling, I was much happier to get out skiing on the trails (even if it was -35) than spending hours on the trainer. 

That commitment to training, and my long history in sport, has definitely paid off in my athletic career, but I think it will continue to pay off once I'm done being a competitive athlete as well. It's not just about the racing, but leading a healthy active lifestyle. You need only go to Canmore, AB to see the retired Northerners who's activity regime could put any Olympian or professional athlete to shame. 

And for me when it comes down to it, that's what this - being an athlete - is really all about. Maybe on a day to day basis it isn't, but long term it's about promoting a healthy lifestyle and the power of sport.

In Yellowknife I got the chance to get back on my skates and get out with the Speed Skating Club, as well as get in a dryland session. I still think speedskating dryland has got to be the hardest thing I've ever done. Never a fantastic jumper I was worried I was going to land on my face doing different stair drills, but thankfully kept it upright.

 Back on the ice

Same on the ice - after 6 years off short track blades I managed to keep out of the mats. 

 Competitive group

As I signed helmets, we all laughed at the autographs on my helmet - I'm old now I guess.

There were lots of promising athletes in the group, but I wanted to say a special good luck to Cynthia Simmons, who's heading to Korea to represent Canada at the Special Olympics World Winter Games next year.

I spent Friday at three different schools talking about my Olympic journey and the importance of sport. That was a new experience for me, definitely the biggest groups I've talked to, but lots of fun. The middle and high schools kids had plenty of questions, some that got good laughs - "Are you single?" in an assembly with 150 kids. I forgot what high school was like. I got to check out some cool artwork the grade 1/2s were working on at k'alemi Dene school, and the grade 4s kept me on my toes with lots of questions, down to what my favourite colour, and number were.

 Talking with students at William Franklin, Sir John and k'alemi dene 

I got to spend a little time on air with CBC and CJCD as well. 

 Hanging out a CJCD

And then wrapped up the weekend at the Ski Club's Snow Show which was good fun as well. One of my Olympic jerseys auctioned off for a couple hundred dollars, which was great and I got my butt kicked by the high performance group. I haven't played frozen tag or done sprint relays in a while - I'm going to definitely stick to the biking/not sprinting.

 Snow Show

Running hard at frozen tag

A huge thanks to Sport North, John Stephenson and Karen Johnson and the Ski Club for giving me the opportunity to come up and share my Olympic experiences. The skating and running were a good way to kick off my training for the coming season!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Better Late than Never


I've been very slack with my blogging, but figured with the season drawing to a close (or already closed for me) I should put something together. That and I'm postponing a date with my Neurobiology text as long as possible.

That studying means I'm unfortunately not in the Netherlands at the moment. UBC was kind enough to let me take last year off without too much trouble so it was time to get back to the books this year. I decided it might be the responsible decision to spend a little bit more time actually at school for my last year, so here I am. As much as I'd like to be in the Netherlands, it's almost as fun trying to make my cyclist brain a student brain again (a year off hurts!). And I'm really excited to watch the girls race on Saturday. I have a feeling one of the Optum p/b KBS girls has a good chance of pulling something pretty exciting off. Go Carmen, Leah, Lex and Joelle!! And, also, good luck to the rest of the Canadian team - Vero and Karol-Ann! Getting up at pacific time is going to hurt, but probably not quite as much as getting up that Cauberg. We pre-rode it in April and it is nothing to turn your nose up at.

My failure to blog for so long means that it's been a bit too long to go back through all the details of the past four months. Other than to say it was pretty crazy! Filled with lots of travel, quite enough stress, lots of fun racing, and three personal highlights for me.

1. Making the Olympic team/going to the Olympics!
2. Taking the RR National title
3. Being apart of Carmen winning NVGP, our team's home race

Winning the national title was exciting and something special in a stressful time for me. It gave me some good confidence, particularly in my ability to just get down to racing no matter what else was going on.

Winning the national title was exciting and something special in a stressful time for me. It gave me some good confidence, particularly in my ability to just get down to racing no matter what else was going on.

The Olympics were an experience for a lifetime- something that definitely hasn't quite sunken in yet. One of the most memorable parts was the sound for the first 10 or so kilometres. Completely overwhelming.

Under crazy conditions, I think I can definitely say I gave it my all and will take away a lot for the future. 

But the main reason I felt like I should get down to writing a blog was for some thank you's. 

I can't say enough about the support I have received this season. 

My friends and family have been incredibly supportive, which helped so, so much - so a big thank you there, which ties in to one more video and article that are really important to me.

A Ring to Remember - thanks Dean for the article

And a huge thank you to my team Optum p/b KBS for being so understanding this year and for just the great general support. I had a massive amount of fun racing with Optum this year and they were so understanding of all of us pursuing our Olympic dreams. It definitely wouldn't have been possible without the understanding of all the staff and the great sponsors.

And  Sport North! I can't wait to get up to Yellowknife at the beginning of November and have the chance to share some of my experiences.

And CANFUND/Ryder Hesjedal. Thanks for everything you do for Canadian athletes and for being such an inspiration for Canadian cyclists, respectively.

That doesn't come close to doing everyone justice but I just wanted to express my appreciation. 

It has been a surreal year. Which feels even more surreal now, as I try and draw from the depths of my memory and try and contribute to conversations in class with people that appear to have spent the past year reading every scientific paper under the Sun, while I've been killing time on Facebook. 

But back to the main point. A huge thank you to everyone that has been a part of this season!!