Emilly John­son

Two na­tional cham­pi­onship ti­tles in one year

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - Q&A -

In late Novem­ber, Emilly John­ston was back at home in Co­mox, B.C., and back at school af­ter spend­ing three weeks away. She had been rac­ing in On­tario, where she notched a win at the na­tional cy­clocross cham­pi­onships. That vic­tory marked the first Cana­dian ti­tle in the ju­nior women’s cat­e­gory, which is new to cy­clocross. That maple-leaf jersey was her sec­ond of 2019; in July, she be­came the na­tional j unior cross coun­try cham­pion.

In mid-fall, John­ston had to catch up on her stud­ies. Her plan was to fin­ish high school in Jan­uary and then head off to Europe to race World Cup and world cham­pi­onship ’cross. Later in 2020, she plans to have a full cross coun­try race sched­ule with events in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

In 2019, you be­came the na­tional ju­nior cross coun­try cham­pion as well as the ju­nior cy­clocross cham­pion. Which of those two ti­tles is more sig­nif­i­cant?

That’s re­ally hard to say. I’ve al­ways had bad luck at cross coun­try na­tion­als. At my first one, I had a big crash. As a first-year un­der-17, I was in the lead but then had a flat and had to run a lap. Then I up­graded. In­stead of rac­ing U17, I was with the ju­nior women. I came sec­ond in a re­ally tight bat­tle. This year, when won my first cross coun­try cham­pi­onship, I thought, fi­nally. I’d wanted it for a long time. But with ’cross, it’s su­per sig­nif­i­cant be­cause it was the first time there was a ju­nior women’s cat­e­gory. It’s awe­some to be part of that pro­gres­sion in the sport.

You joined Pen­drel Rac­ing this past year. What is some ad­vice you’ve re­ceived from Catharine Pen­drel?

She has so much ex­pe­ri­ence. To watch her learn cour­ses is pretty cool. She def­i­nitely learns them a lot faster than the aver­age per­son. Also, she fo­cuses on en­joy­ing her­self and work­ing hard. It keeps it fun. But, I feel like I use that word way too much.

The word “fun?”

Yeah. I’m try­ing to stop my­self. I get teased for it a lot. Af­ter ev­ery race, if I’m with Catharine or San­dra Wal­ter, they’ll ask, “Emilly, how was your race?” Then they’ll say, “Oh wait. It was so much fun.”

What are some tech­ni­cal skills that you are work­ing on for ei­ther moun­tain bik­ing or cy­clocross?

I’m work­ing on bunny hops and cor­ner­ing for both. If I get bet­ter on my ’cross bike at bunny hops and cor­ners, I also get bet­ter on my moun­tain bike, and vice versa.

I al­ways think of moun­tain bike skills help­ing a cy­clocross rider with tech­nique, but is there any­thing you find in cy­clocross that helps with your moun­tain bik­ing?

I think the cor­ners in ’cross are harder than in moun­tain bik­ing, or at least dif­fer­ent. In ’cross, there usu­ally aren’t berms, so you don’t have those to work with. With all the mud in ’cross, you have to be con­fi­dent when you are not in con­trol of the bike. You can be slid­ing all over the place. That def­i­nitely helps me feel more con­fi­dent when I’m on the moun­tain bike.

You’re head­ing to Europe to race the cy­clocross World

Cup in Hooger­heide and the world cham­pi­onships in Düben­dorf, Switzer­land. How do you feel about that?

It will be a bit crazy, I think. I’m re­ally ex­cited for it. I’ve been jok­ing be­cause I race masters men at the lo­cal Cross on the Rock se­ries. So, I’ll go from the masters men cat­e­gory to rac­ing elite women at the World Cup. That’s a bit of a change. I don’t know which is more ag­gres­sive, to be hon­est. Masters men gets pretty wild. But, I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it.— MP

left Emilly John­son at the 2019 na­tional cy­clocross cham­pi­onships in Peter­bor­ough, Ont.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.