Saturday, July 02, 2016

One Thing You Might Have Missed in Cycling Canada’s Rio Selection

June 29, Cycling Canada revealed the 19 athletes (across all cycling disciplines) set to attend the Rio Olympic Games, but they didn’t mention the athletes names as team alternates – one of whom is me!

Canada earned 3 women’s road spots and 2 women’s time trial spots for Rio (announced June 2) which allows a maximum team of 4: 3 racers + 1 alternate.  Mid June, I got an email from CC titled Rio 2016 and was both extremely thrilled to be nominated to the team and also disappointed to be so close yet staying at home.  The alternate is a non-travelling alternate that will step in if one of the named team members cannot accept the spot (injury, sickness or maybe someone just doesn’t want to go?).  I truly wish all the very best to Karol-Ann Canuel, Leah Kirchman, and Tara Whitten, who I am confident will prepare themselves in the very best way to represent Canada at their Rio events.

It is truly such an honour to have been a part of the #roadtoRio as one of Canada’s top riders in contention for an Olympic spot.  It’s been just a-year-and-a-half since I committed to cycling as a career.  I have learned so much in the environment of Team Twenty16 Ridebiker.  The team has given me opportunity when they saw ability and instruction when I didn’t know any better.  We organized an important trip to race in the new Women’s World Tour events in Europe so that I could fast-track some needed experience in order to prepare for a shot at the Olympic Games.  We put a lot of pressure on me to prepare well and perform well – a similar pressure likely to be felt at events like the Olympics and World Championships.  This year I learned how to handle crashing and recovering, leading a team to overall victory and keeping our winner calm and strong.

I have many thanks to give to those of you who have been very interested and encouraging to me on my athletic journey.  Thanks for checking in after hearing of Canada’s Olympic selection.  There are still many more races in this year that need to be won.  I am really looking forward to preparing for the October World Championships in Qatar with my Twenty16 RideBiker team for the TTT and again aiming for a spot on Canada’s Road World Championship team.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Recovery on the Road

The life of a racing cyclist is a traveling one which has me living out of a suitcase for most of the year.  My husband and I do a lot of camping and choose to live simply.  This simplicity shows up in how I pack for months on the road with my professional cycling team TWENTY16 RIDEBIKER.  I pack my liquids and extra clothing around my bike as my only checked baggage. Then I take a backpack with one spare set of clothes and a shoulder bag of my essential cycling kit, pedals, shoes and helmet.  I don't pack much, but what I do pack is important!!

A big part of being a full-time athlete is resting well to recovery the body as fast as possible for the next big effort in training or racing.  Here are a few of the essentials that I take with me wherever I drive or fly to for racing.

I always wear compression socks or leggings when I fly or drive.  Sitting for long periods of time restrict the blood flood to your legs and feet.  Compression on the lower extremities protects against swelling.  I wear a long pair of compression socks from Sock Guy or a pair of full leg tights from ec3d.  After training, when there is no soigneur or chance to get a massage, wearing a pair of compression leggings improves recovery by minimizing inflammation. 

SockGuy creates all the fantastic fun socks that I wear on the daily, to ride and to live in.  This tall thin pair I wear comfortably under my pants when traveling by plane or car.
It takes a few minutes to pull these babies up because they are really tight but that's what I choose to do after a hard ride.
Then I kill-two-birds-with-one-stone by packing my 40oz MOBOT waterbottle that doubles as a foam roller!  The tagline here is Suck And Roll!  (You drink from a straw out of this waterbottle - which works superbly when driving!!)

Next up, I do a lot of yoga to compliment the many hours of riding a bike.  I have tried to travel with a regular roll-up yoga mat stuffed into a backpack that cannot close.  Now, I take with me a YOGO mat, a flat-pack yoga mat.  This mat folds up and fits in the bottom of my backpack.  During layovers or at my team hotel I lay out this mat and move through my asanas.  This mat has a couple other benefits 1) It is the most grippy mat I have ever done socked (or no socked) yoga on! 2) you can hang the mat up by its clips to wash and hang dry it in the shower!

I have my Global Relay backpack packed with my YOGO mat and my MOBOT.

Working together with the yoga mat, I bring with me a warm and cool set of yoga training clothes by Inner Fire.  These items are my most bright and colorful clothing options.  I wear them to yoga or to catch some extra attention at the campsite!  In my warm wardrobe I bring my Inner Fire Aurora leggings, to remind me of the sky I grew up under: Alberta - the land of the living sky.  In my cool wardrobe I bring my Inner Fire Bloom Shorts.  I love their wide waist band which makes being a #bendybikeracer a more comfortable person to be!  I found the brand Inner Fire because I have a passion for Canadian made products and brands.  Inner Fire not only is a Vancouver company, but also is working with sustainable materials made from 100% recycled bottles!  Isn't that fantastic!  So when you are meditating on how to make the world a better place you can smile when you think of your clothing for a change!  Inner Fire sells their products on both and AND if you enter the code AlisonJa you can get yourself 15% off!!

Handstands have always been a favourite posture of mine.  Often I get this overwhelming feeling to be upside down!  This feeling is strongest whenever I am sitting in an airport during a layover!!
I do a lot of poses that open the shoulders to combat the rounded posture of a cyclist.
My husband and I lived on the road for 3 months traveling around California from training camp to races.  To break up the long drive we stop for me to yoga and/or for Alex to take pictures of the places we are in!
Made responsibly to make a difference!!
Remember, rest and recovery for your own body adds peace and patience and focus into other areas of life.  So, wear your compression, drink lots of water, roll out those tight muscles and breathe deeply through a few yoga poses!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Desert Yoga

This year the plan was to get a good chunk of miles in outside.  We live in snowy Alberta now, so that meant travelling south for winter.  The main goal of my day is to get the prescribed miles in on the bike but after that we get to explore all these beautiful places!  Part of my personal approach to training and resting and increasing my happy endorphins include wrapping myself up and stretching myself out in yoga poses.  I would like to share some amazing Californian desert yoga shots that my husband, Alex Jackson, took of me featuring my partnered brand myinnerfire.  Myinnerfire is a local Vancouver-made brand that creates fantastically fun leggings, shorts, shirts and sweatshirts - and get this, the fabric they use is made out of recycled water bottles!!  Check their store out online at and use the code ‘ AlisonJ ‘ to get 15% off your order!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

TWENTY16 - It's Our Year

New year = New look for the jersey
It is January 2016, new main sponsor is RIDEBIKER which is an online community for cyclists of all terrains.  When your club joins RIDEBIKER you get an online store where all of your members can access to order clothing any time of the year at the group discount price.  You can also connect with other riders and clubs across the nation.  No club is too big or too small.  In the end the proceeds of any sales goes back into developing the cycling community or sponsoring RIDEBIKER professional athletes.  Check out the community here (

My husband and I have been chasing warmer weather for longer outdoor bike rides since the beginning of December.  We have been dreaming of driving the California coastline with the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces.  In truth, we have experienced more stormy wind and torrential rain than anything else – but at least it’s warmer than below freezing! You can follow our travels on our travel blog Double 'Eh' Adventures.

In the California desert - Photo by AJCmedia

I met up with my new team in Encinitas, California for a week of heavy mileage just after the New Year.  Our 753km in one week was no short of fun…or pain.  I am excited for what this team will accomplish in 2016, an Olympic year.  It is after all our year!

Photo by Adam Pulford - Rainbow Loop

#twenty16 #RIDEBIKER

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Off-season 2015

It’s over???  I can hardly believe it. Is my first real season of bike racing over?  Can I really sleep in and go camping for a few days without bringing my bike along?  Yes…but not really: Yes, it is the off-season but my off-season looks like full-time farming on my parent’s grain and bison farm.  I’ve switched from riding bikes to driving tractors, eating bison steak and stealing seconds of my mom’s fresh cinnamon buns!

All the time spent in the tractor (today I was baling straw) has allowed me to reflect on this past year.  It has been an amazing year of bike racing and exploring professional cycling.  I have far and beyond exceeded my expectations for the year.  I had four major goals: improve my bike handling (and learn how to catwalk my bike), be top 5 at Nationals, be involved in a National Team project, and learn how to motivate my team.  Alex (my hubby) taught me how to catwalk, I won the Canadian National Criterium Championship race, I was involved in 4 National Team projects with the finale being World Championships, and worked with gems for teammates.

As for the race reports:

Overall winner at Twee Daagse van de Bloemenstreek, Massemen (photo by Joselyn Ryan)
Belgium – I did my first European race tour with Canada at the beginning on August.  My time there I personally used as a sprint camp.  I sprinted for every preme and took a few wins at the end too.  European racing has a huge following in Belgium and the crowds that we raced for pumped me up!  These local races often had 80 girls lined up at the start – I dream of the day that it is like that in Canada!!  One race that we did started with a 70km kermesse, or short circuit race, where the top 20 were started in a second race that was organized as an elimination race.  Cones were placed 500m apart and the last one across the line was out until only 1 remained.  After two stressful eliminations I attacked and stayed away solo to take the 1000euro prize (and a beautiful bouquet of flowers of course) for the team.
Leading the elimination race (photo by Hinnick Paul)

Attacking in the Finale of Lotto Ladies Cup in Belgium (photo by Krist Vonmelle)

France – It was only 2 weeks after returning home from Belgium that I got back on an international flight to Lyon, France for more racing (I had to come back for a TTT camp in between).  I flew with my trade team TWENTY16 p/b Sho-Air for the 6 day stage race of TCIFA (Tour de Cycliste International Feminin de L’Ardeche).  We traveled with our director Mari, but had no mechanic, no soigneur and no control over where we stayed or what we would find when we got there.  When we arrived we were greeted so warmly by the race organizers and were found everything we needed by the help of so many of the other teams and racers.  The racing there was like nothing I had ever experienced.  The climbs were steep and kept coming and the descents were fast, technical and on narrow roads.  I sprinted every day to earn the red sprinters jersey and held off some very tough, experienced riders to win the jersey each stage and at the finale.  I ate more crostinis, pizzas, waffles, and baguettes than I ever have – ever!

Sprinter's Jersey in Ardeche (photo by Velo Palmares)

Mari Holden (DS), Me, Lauren K, Jess Cerra, Senna Feron (BEL), missing Sofia and Leah
#yogaeverydamnday and with a bottle of Syrah from Ardeche area

Richmond, Virginia – 2015 Cycling World Championships – I was entered in two races at this event.  My trade team selected me to race the TTT and Canada selected me to race the road race.  For me this was an honour that recognized where I came from and the hard work that got me the results I’ve had throughout the season.  World Championships would be the biggest and hardest event that I had ever participated in to date.  Our team came in 5th in the TTT as the top North American team and I rode to a solid 36th place in my first every Road World Championships.  I loved it! I loved the excitement and the intensity.  I loved that people cheered so loud that you forgot there was a helicopter filming you from above.  I loved wearing the maple leaf and riding into one of Canada’s best ever showings at a World Championships.

A team of Canadians (hehe ok, I am the only Canadian - but proud!)
Getting aero - It's science. (photo by Adam Pulford)

The Team - a special moment in my heart (photo by Mari Holden)
Canadian Women's Road World Championship Team (photo by Denise Kelly)

Pinned and ready to roll at the 2015 Richmond World Championships.
Now it is time for the off-season – which is something I have never had!  When I was a triathlete I was also a cross-country runner for my university, a swimmer in an elite swim club, and a club cyclist.  One season would end just for the next sport to start up and I never missed a beat.  On my wedding day I went for a run in the morning and raced a triathlon in the middle of our honeymoon while on Christmas Day I spent the afternoon on cross-country skis! I am taking professional cycling seriously and I want to build into this next season from a solid and rested start.  During this time I am reflecting on 2015 and setting goals for 2016, 2017 and 2020.  This first year was big, but I think there is a lot more to squeeze me.

Waiting for 2015 World Championship Team Selection


Here is a cool video made by AJCmedia (Alex Jackson Creative media) to recap a bit of racing and wait for the news on who has been selected for the 2015 Canadian Women's Road World Championship team.

Seen in the video: Felt Bicycles, SRAM red components, Quarq power meter, Zipp Speed Weaponry, Speedplay pedals, Fizik shoes/saddle, K-Edge, Arundel bottle cages, JLVelo clothing, Sho-Air International sponsor, GQ-6 Hydration found at GNC stores, Modify Watches, SockGuy socks

Monday, September 21, 2015

Alison Edition: 2015 Global Relay Canadian National Championships

Thursday Time Trial – June 25, 2015
                The Canadian Championships TT would be my longest TT of the year at 30km.  The day was windy and the course was two laps of descending at 70kph and climbing up a near 7% grade.  I was able to negative split my laps while maintaining a consistently hard pace.  When I finished I had the best placed time but I knew that there were several key contenders after me.  In the end I took home 7th place and a greater understanding of what level of pain one must embrace in order to be a champion.  Congratulations to Carol-Ann on her win.

Photo by Velo Palmares
Friday Road Race – June 26, 2015
                The road race course itself was selective due to the wind, a steep climb in the 3x15km circuits, with a longer climb out of the circuit toward the finish at 110km.  The Canadian field is strong and the hunt for the Maple Leaf jersey was fierce.  It was all about playing the game of tactics and riding hard.  We had a beautiful day to ride and I had a great time rolling on Quebec’s roads.  It wasn’t a perfect race but I grinded the gears to 4th place.

Photo by Richard Wooles

Sunday Criterium – June 28, 2015
                The Sunday crit was a West Coast crit due to the rain that came down for the race.  Rain is not a problem for a BC winter riding gal like me and I had been looking forward to the punching crit course all weekend.  The course was fast, it climbed to the finish, rounded two corners descending, and then climbed again.  It was a dynamic race and I came into it with a plan.  A few breaks went and were pulled back, but the winning move was a break of two out of which I was able to take the win on the uphill finish.  The win was really sweet because my parents were there to watch it happen.

                I really enjoyed my debut riding at Canadian Nationals and am really thankful to have the best equipment to use courtesy of our sponsors Felt Bicycles, SRAM, Zipp, Speedplay and Fizik.  A huge thank-you to Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air for taking a chance on me this year and developing me as a cyclist.  Thank you to the supports of CyclingBC, Richard Wooles and Julian Base for the technical and managerial support, and running around for us all week, it would have been much more stressful had I been there on my own.  Thank you to my coach Alison Testroete, and also Felicia Gomez for working with me this year – we are looking good!  And yes, thank you Bruce and Phoenix Velo Training Group in Mission, BC where I got my cycling start.

Super happy that my parents could cheer me on to my first Championship win. Photo by Richard Wooles.

2015 Canadian Crit Champion
Full Results here.