Posted by Editor on 10/6/11
On Monday, Olympic bobsleigh gold medalist Heather Moyse announced that she would be attempting to qualify for the national track cycling team, in the Sprint/Team Sprint events (See our report Here). Subsequently, we were able to talk with Heather about her plans, and with national coach Tanya Dubnicoff, who has worked with Heather in her initial training efforts.
"Heather talked to Clara [Hughes], and through Clara to [Canadian sprinter] Monique [Sullivan] and myself throughout the summer," explained Dubnicoff. "Since she was in Canada at the time I suggested that she come to Bromont for the Track Nationals, to see what it was like, and to meet. She brought her [road] bike, and I saw that she had a Powertap on it, so we did a couple of tests, and the numbers were pretty exciting. The explosive power she has from bobsled, that five or six second effort, means that there is a huge amount of power there; she's reaching numbers as high or higher than anyone in North America."
Moyse didn't initially seek out a new sport - cycling was a way to recover from a devastating injury she had suffered in her first national sport: Rugby.
"After the [Vancouver] Olympics the rugby team still wanted me to play the World Cup [in the fall of 2010]. So I trained all summer and had a really great World Cup, up until the first 15 minutes of the last game of the tournament, when I ruptured the ligaments in my right ankle; I basically destroyed it. I was in rehab until Christmas and then rejoined the bobsled team, but I couldn't train; any more than two runs in a day and my ankle had to be rested and iced."
"I needed a break, but I needed to increase strength and power, and cycling was perfect, since it had no impact. I hadn't ridden a skinny tire bike before June 4th , but I bought one and started riding. Last year someone told me that I would be a really good cyclist, but I had laughed; it had never occurred to me because I was still focussed on bobsled."
"I was doing rides to just get used to riding a skinny wheel bike, but I'm not a person who can just train to train, so I needed some motivation, which became the goal to try to make the national team, my third sport. I e-mailed Clara, and Clara was great, she e-mailed me with stuff and included Tanya and Monique."
"Tanya invited me to Track Nationals, and I guess she saw potential, so invited me to a camp at Trexlertown [track in Pennsylvania], and then to train with the national team in Los Angeles. It's all been happening really fast."
Both Dubnicoff and Moyse recognize that it is not going to be an easy task for her to reach the level required in a short period.
"I have to prove myself," agrees Moyse, "it's a very steep learning curve to prove that I can be an asset. I didn't realize how technical [the Sprint] is, and the technical part is what I have to learn."
"The potential is there," comments Dubnicoff, "but track is a very technical sport. Heather needed to start at the very basics, to learn to get on and off the track safely, for example. The other thing is that she brings a wealth of experience from other sports, and that's something that the [national] team needs; a role model like Heather is is really good to have."
For now, Moyse is rejoining the national team at their base in Los Angeles, where Dubnicoff says she will focus on learning those basic skills, and then "the biggest thing for her is to get the times necessary to qualify. The Olympics is going to be tough, since the qualifying period is into its second season now, so it all depends on what happens at the World Cups, but if an athlete that talented walks through the door, you certainly don't turn them away."
"For now, my goal is to make the national team, and then go forward from there," says Moyse. "Over the next couple of weeks I will have some indication of what's possible. But I'm excited. This is something completely different."
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