Katherine Maine started cycling innocently enough, attending the LaRocca XC Mountain Bike School in the summer of 2009.
But it took another three years before she stepped up to competitive cycling. And when she did, she chose the obscure discipline of cyclo-cross, where cyclists ride and carry their bikes over courses of pavement, steep hills, grass, trails and obstacles.
Using her mountain bike and later a used cyclo-cross machine, she won the Eastern Ontario girls’ under-17 title. One official was so impressed he suggested she contact Ottawa Bicycle Club’s Don Moxley, one of Canada’s top junior coaches.
Maine followed that advice, benefited from his homemade programs and is about to take a giant step in her career as a road and track cyclist, one rarely achieved by a female Ottawa rider.
Interestingly, Maine, who turns 18 on Nov. 22, and Moxley, 68, are now heading in opposite directions. She is joining a prominent women’s professional cycling team in 2016, but she’s not allowed to talk about it until there’s an official announcement. Moxley is retiring, winding down his OBC coaching career, which has seen his junior riders win 81 national championship medals since 2004.
The 2015 cycling season was memorable for Moxley and his OBC riders Maine, Derek Gee and Connor Byway, who complied notable success nationally and internationally.
During this fall’s world road cycling championships in Richmond, Virginia, Maine capped her junior racing career, placing 13th in the 64.9-kilometre road race, missing a silver medal by 18 seconds. Gee scored two top-half-of-the-field results, finishing 27th in the junior men’s time trial and 45th in the road race.
Maine also competed at the world junior track championships in Astana, Kazakhstan in August. She was 11th in the omnium (scratch, two-kilometre individual pursuit and elimination races on Day 1, and the 500-metre time trial, flying lap and points races on Day 2), and 19th in the 500-metre time trial. Byway recorded one of Canada’s best individual results with a fifth in the junior men’s points race.
At the recent Canadian track championships on the oval built for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Milton, ON, Maine captured four junior women’s gold medals. She won the two-kilometre individual pursuit, the 500-metre time trial, the omnium and the team sprint with Hillary Lowry of Hamilton.
Those are impressive results for someone with such a short time in the competitive side of the sport. But that’s what a dedicated work ethic, good coaching and hockey will do for an athlete. Hockey?
Ottawa cyclist Katherine Maine, middle, celebrates after her gold-medal performance in the junior women’s two-day omnium race at the Canadian track cycling championships in Milton, ON.
“The key thing is having a motivated athlete and also just hard work,” Moxley said about Maine’s success. “Katherine came out of AA hockey and she had a lot of talent and a big engine. She’s a quick study. Hockey players are coachable and she came up quickly in three years.”
Maine played 10 years of girls’ hockey for teams like the Ottawa Ice, Kanata Rangers and Ottawa Senators. The last four years she was a AA player.
“Katherine is dedicated to her training and really loves racing her bike. Her athletic background in hockey has given her a blistering sprint that not only puts her at the forefront of her peers in the speed disciplines on the track, but also in bunch sprints on the road,” said Jenny Trew, who coached Maine on the Ottawa-based Cyclery-Opus women’s cycling team.
In 2013, Maine caught the attention of Cycling Canada at her first national track championships and that led to an invitation to a California training camp two years ago.
Last year, the one-time Lisgar Collegiate honour student made a big impact at the Canadian road racing championships, placing fourth in the junior women’s title trial and sixth in the road race. She also won the national criterium.
“I did not expect it,” Maine said. “I was really happy with myself. I do better when I’m not racing with pressure. A lot of girls didn’t know me. I was there for experience and fun.”
Besides benefitting from the year-round programs created by Moxley, Maine also received support, learned tactical skills and gained racing experience from Cyclery-Opus.
“I had more confidence to try things and I got into elite races,” said Maine, who was fifth in the junior women’s time trial at the 2015 Canadian road championships and was the junior and overall winner at the inaugural Criterium National race in Montreal, while racing for the national team. (Gee was the junior men’s winner and second overall at Criterium National.)
After achieving her goals of racing at the world junior track and world road championships with encouraging results, Maine now graduates to a senior rider, which is a whole new ball game.
“It should be fun, but it will be a bit scary,” she admitted. “I must train a bunch and learn from every opportunity.”
And Trew provides this added advice.
“Katherine is still relatively new to the sport, having only really taken up the competitive side 2.5 years ago. She needs to keep developing her aerobic base because as she jumps into the elite ranks, the length of the majority of her road races almost doubles from approximately 70 kilometres to 140 kilometres.
“That having been said, if she keeps doing what she’s doing — working hard and learning as much as she can — she will make an impact in the senior ranks relatively quickly.”
Martin Cleary’s High Achievers column appears bi-weekly in the Citizen. If you know an athlete, coach, team or builder you consider a high achiever, contact Martin at email@example.com.
CAPITAL SPORTS HUB
• Even at 38, Jason Dunkerley remains one of the world’s most accomplished distance runners for athletes with a visual disability. For the fifth time in his extensive career, the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club member won a medal at the recent International Paralymic Committee world athletics championships in Doha, Qatar. Despite oppressive heat, Dunkerley, with guide Josh Karanja at his side, won the silver medal in the men’s class T11 (totally blind) 5,000 metres in 16 minutes, 11.22 seconds. Brazil’s Odair Santos led throughout the race, but collapsed three times in the final stretch and couldn’t finish. Dunkerley also has four world championship gold medals over 800 and 1,500 metres, dating back to 2002.
• Gender equity was a big part of the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association cross-country running championships as for the first time the girls ran the same distances as the boys in the midget (4,000 metres), junior (5,000 metres) and senior (6,000 metres) races. The individual champions were Teagan Shapansky, Glebe, midget girls; Brady Johnston Nielson, Sir Robert Borden, midget boys; Mei Mei Weston, Glebe, junior girls; Jonathan Rioux, Louis Riel, junior boys; Shona McCulloch, Longfields-Davidson Heights, senior girls; and Nicholas Roberts, Franco Ouest, senior boys. Glebe captured eight of the nine team awards: midget, junior and senior girls, midget and senior boys, aggregate girls, aggregate boys and overall aggregate. Borden was the junior boys’ team winner. The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships are Saturday in Duntroon.
• Camelot Golf Club’s Grace St-Germain has been named to Golf Canada’s national women’s development squad for the second straight year. St-Germain, 17, finished second overall on the CN Future Links national girls’ junior order of merit, which included a first and a third at the respective Pacific and Ontario championships. She also won the Canadian Junior Golf Association Mizuno national junior championship, placed second at the Quebec women’s amateur as the defending champion, and tied for sixth at the Ontario women’s amateur.
• The National Capital region will be well represented on the Canadian senior and junior teams for the 2016 world ringette championships Dec. 27 to Jan. 4 in Helsinki. Head coach Barb Bautista of Ottawa will have local players Jennifer Hartley, Jasmine Leblanc and sisters Kelsey and Kaitlyn Youldon on her senior roster as well as Chantal St-Laurent of Gatineau. The junior national team includes assistant captain Sarah-Lynne Begin and Molly Lewis, both of Ottawa.
• Gloucester’s Ivanie Blondin won the women’s 3,000- and 5,000-metre races, was second in the 1,500 metres and third in the 1,000 metres at the Speed Skating Canada Fall World Cup selection races in Calgary. In her first year as a senior, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa was second to Blondin in both the 3,000 and 5,000 metres. Vincent de Haitre of Cumberland had no results because of a groin injury. . . . Ottawa Nepean Diving Club’s Henry McKay took the bronze medal in the class B boys’ 14-15 one-metre springboard at the Pan Am junior diving championships in Matanzas, Cuba, as well as earning a fourth on the three-metre board. Kathryn Grant of the Ottawa National Diving Club also was a bronze medallist at the Pan Ams with a third in the class D girls’ 11-and-under three-metre. She also was close to two more bronze medals with fourths in the one-metre and tower. . . . Minto Skating Club’s Alexis Dion was third in the short program, fourth in the free skate and fourth overall in junior women’s singles at the Skate Canada Autumn International Classic figure skating competition. . . . Ottawa Seminoles defeated Ottawa National 29-14 to win the men’s Tier 1 A final at the Canadian touch football championships in Hamilton. . . . Ottawa’s Marc Lemay, a former Canadian Cycling Association president (1981-92) and Union Cycliste International mountain bike commission member, was inducted last month into the newly created Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, ON. . . . James Brooks of the West of Quebec Wheelers won the men’s masters C time trial and was second in the scratch race at the Canadian cycling track championships in Milton, while clubmate Brent Atkins won the men’s masters B time trial and Mike Nash of Ride with Rendall presented/by Biemme was second in the men’s masters B scratch race and individual pursuit. . . . Wheelchair curler Cullinda Joseph of Stittsville and coach Carl Rennick as well as canoe slalom paddler Liam Smedley of Dunrobin and coach Michal Staniszewski have been awarded $10,000 (each pairing) from the Suncor Energy 2015 Petro Canada Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence program. . . . Kelleigh Ryan of Ottawa Fencing placed sixth in women’s foil at a recent international satellite competition in Cancun, Mexico, while Jenny Zhao of Kanata was fifth individually and second in team foil at a junior World Cup meet in Guatemala City.