It was busy start to 2023 with a number of performance programs in full-swing. Amber Hutchinson, coming up on her first full year in the role of Technical Lead – Performance Programs, implemented a number of new initiatives to enhance training and support services to athletes and coaches. The first quarter is primarily focused on track programming, which included weekly programming, development camps, and Team Ontario representation at the Canadian Track Championships. We were also excited to officially announce Britney Hovencamp as the new Provincial BMX Development Coach, helping lead both the Performance Program and re-established Rising Stars program. To close out the quarter, mountain bike athletes attended a 12-day camp in Victoria, BC working on technical skills and preparing for early-season competition.
Weekly programming continued on the track with the Ontario Track Academy and Ontario Performance Program operating out of the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton. Both programs were led by Provincial Coach David Jack with strength and conditioning/nutrition programming delivered by Kevin Iwasa-Madge of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario.
This program focused on U17/U19 high performance track athletes tracking towards selection to Junior World Championships within 1-2 years. The program involves weekly on-track training and strength and conditioning sessions. Athletes are also provided off-bike sport science workshops. The 2022-23 Academy involved 8 men/8 women.
This program targeted U23 athletes from any cycling discipline involved in or tracking towards national team selection. The program allowed track focused athletes to attend training sessions 2/week while also allowing any targeted athletes to “drop-in” for a training session. Often, national team members, including Elite World Champion Dylan Bibic attended session when in Milton. Program athletes were also provided strength and conditioning programming and opportunities to access sport science workshops.
It was the first time since 2014 that U17/U19/Para Track Nationals were held outside of Milton. In Keeping with past practices, athletes represented their clubs during the individual events and Team Ontario in the team events. This was Ontario’s most dominant performance taking home gold in all but four individual/bunch races. This includes sweeping the podium in several races include the Men’s and Women’s Individual Pursuit. Also, in the para categories, Lochlan Hotchkiss took gold in both the Men’s C4 Kilo and IP while new athlete Amanda Provan captured gold in the Women’s tandem Pursuit. In the team events, Team Ontario again dominated the podium with gold in every event with the exception of the U19 Women’s Team Sprint, finish 0.1s back of the winners.
The past 2 years have been exceptional. The strength of club programming with the enhanced training opportunities offered through the Ontario Track Academy has created a system that is consistently producing strong track cyclists. It is important to recognize that in 2016 Ontario had no representation on the Olympic track team. Since then Ontario had 5 athletes on the Olympic team in Tokyo, won 4 Junior World Championships jerseys (and 6 total medals) and also holds the U19 IP Men’s World Record. Additionally, an Ontario athlete won the World Championship in the Elite Men’s Scratch Race.
Ontario Cycling is excited to have hired Britney Hovencamp as the new Provincial BMX Development Coach. Britney brings years of experience as a former athlete having represented Canada on the international stage including at the Junior World Championships and as a coach working with younger developing athletes at her track in Kingston.
In an effort to increase the talent pool of BMX athletes in Ontario, the Rising Stars concept was re-launched this year. Targeting aspiring athletes aged 12 -14 three (3) camps were held at JoyRide150 using mix of experienced technical coaches and former BMX athletes transitioning into coach leadership roles. The camps were hugely successful not only as an athlete development opportunity but also to improve relationships with the BMX community. Rising Stars programming will shift outdoors to the Pan Am BMX track starting in May with weekly training sessions.
This program is focused on athletes aged 14-18 tracking towards representing Canada a Junior World Championships within the next 1-3 years. Athletes are provided with training camps, coach support, and sport science services. The program utilized JoyRide150 and the Mattamy National Cycling Centre to host training camps and will move to weekly training session at the Pam Am BMX track in the spring/summer.
Mountain Bike programming
Returning to the West Coast, the annual MTB Skills camp took place at the end of March involving 13 athletes and 3 coaches. The 12-day camp focused on riding technical features while providing also providing athletes early access to on-trail riding and building aerobic capacity leading to the start of the competition season. Led by Canada Games MTB coaches Rob Holmgren and Roxy Slotegraff and supported by Team Canada rider Gunnar Holmgren, the camp utilized several train networks in the area including the new Jordie Lunn Bike Park. Athletes attended off-bike workshops from the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and provided with mental performance sessions from Judy Goss who was with the team for the second week of the camp.