Diane Bomans - 2023 Season Recap
My year started back in November 2022 when I decided to see what I could accomplish with a coach. My HPL Cycling teammates had been using the coaching services of CIS Cycling for many years. The success the CIS program brought my teammates helped make my decision to start working with Coach Bill at CIS Cycling.
After qualifying for worlds in 2022 but being unable to attend due to having already committed to the Whistler Gran Fondo, my goal was to qualify for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Along the way I wanted to defend my jersey in the Canadian esports national championships and race both the TT and road race at the Canadian Nationals this year (last year was just TT).
The individualized training plan was fantastic. Coach Bill created a plan that also allowed me to continue racing in ZRL and Fat Biking outdoors on occasion. Around that time, I also switched virtual teams from Cryo-Gen to Aeonian. Aeonian is a women’s only team that boasts some of the best esports racers in the world including 2 time esports world champion Loes (who I got to see racing the mixed TTT in Scotland), 2022 Zwift Academy winner Alex, and several other women who represent their countries at the esports worlds. Needless to say, they are very inspiring.
First up was the esports nationals in February, hosted on the virtual cycling platform called RGT. The big change this year was it was held in combination with the USA’s esports nationals. Pros and cons of this but will not include that discussion here. The other change was the submission of a video and fit file to validate your performance and prevent cheating. The test had to be done within a certain timeframe leading up to the event. Of course, height, weight, and trainer calibration were also required. While it is important to have these types of requirements, my guess is that it also meant some people did not sign up due to the extra work involved. In my age category this year I was the only Canadian women, however there were US women in my age group participating. Happy to report that I beat these women, outsprinting one of them at the line. https://cyclingcanada.ca/event/2023-canadian-esports-championships-presented-by-wahoo/
Around this time, we also learned that the UCI Gran Fondo Canadian qualifier scheduled for Victoriaville, Quebec, was canceled. This meant there was no UCI qualifier, and no Canadian masters championships. My whole goal of getting to Scotland was now in jeopardy.
The only other qualifier in North America for the UCI World Championship was in Alabama in May. For months I continued training not knowing what the status of the qualification would be. I knew Cycling Canada was trying to at least hold the nationals somewhere but there would be no UCI qualifier. I also found out from the UCIGFWC that Canada would be given wildcard spots to allocate accordingly. As it turns out, the nationals were relocated to Saint-George, Quebec. Those coming first and second would get a UCI spot and then there would be draws for the rest. Thankfully, I came second in the TT, so I was guaranteed that spot at the UCI World Championships. As for the road race, I got a wildcard spot. After months of training I had met my goal of getting to Scotland!
Scotland did not disappoint!!! I had been to the age group worlds for duathlon in the past so had some idea what to expect. However, factor in the world championships for 13 different disciplines and this was a whole new level of experience. It seems the entire country of Scotland embraced the event either by volunteering or spectating, after all it was the largest cycling event ever held in the world! My son (Nate) came up from Birmingham to join me in Glasgow. We cycled, we watched, and I participated. Oh yes, and I had to drive on the left-hand side of the road (more stressful than the racing). My races were in Perth (road) and Dundee (TT) so having a car was necessary. We got to see so much of the country through our travels by bike and car. Absolutely gorgeous.
As for the races themselves, I would highly recommend this to anyone who has the opportunity to participate. The road race ended at a palace! How often do you get to do something like that? People were out in all of the small communities cheering along the road race route. Pretty special. Not to mention Nate and I sitting on the lawn of the palace afterwards looking at all the beautiful bikes. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of money in bikes that was in Scotland over those 2 weeks. The Gran Fondo portion was extremely well run. Volunteers everywhere. You were made to feel like a pro. The Wahoo folks had set up a tent for the TT with special rollers (front wheel supported but no need to remove any wheels) and you could go there to warm-up - they even set everything up for you.
What did I learn? I think my fitness was pretty darn good. I was well-prepared with my CIS-UP training. What I lack is road race experience. The road race at the UCI Worlds was only my 3rd ever competitive road race, and only the second with just women. We were combined with the 50-54 year old women so the peloton was 100 people at the start. Just that takes some getting used to. For the TT, I hit my target power and estimated time so was happy about that. This was a flat course with lots of wind which is not ideal for someone my size. Some of the gals that came ahead of me were built like track sprint cyclists. One of my goals this year will be to add some more muscle to my legs/twigs.
With anything new (at least for me) there is always that added stress that takes its toll on performance. Do I think I could have done better? For sure. Am I happy with my results? Absolutely. Will I go back again in the future? I sure hope so.
Nothing is more motivating than being surrounded by the best cyclists on the planet. And having my son there watching me race was beyond special :) - Diane Bomans