This past season saw many new changes in not only my training but how I center my life around practice and continue to try and find balance. As a full-time athlete, the balance will always be a struggle as what we aim to accomplish goes beyond balance and requires an obsession. This job demands 24/7 attention to performance improvement and maintenance, and your environment has everything to do with performing at your best. Like anything you choose in life, to be the best means making significant sacrifice and for the last ten years, I’ve been chasing sun and conditions that are optimal to train outside in the heat, altitude and without distraction where I can ride, recover, optimize and repeat. Well, this year I tried to stay home more, spend time with family, be around for Christmas, enjoy some cross training and work on performance limiters differently with flyaway training camps every couple weeks with the Canadian National Team. Although we haven’t struck the perfect note yet – my performance is moving in an upward direction when compared to my horrible performance two weeks ago at the Spain HC race, and the World Cup opener has left me with some serious motivation to turn the screws and get back to my normal.
Honestly, 14th is ok considering my horrible result at the Spain HC race, but 14th isn’t what I train for nor is it a direct reflection of how much I dedicate myself to the daily process to perform at my best. There are seven World Cups in 2018, and I just missed the mark on one of them.
I will keep this as short and factual as possible. Some of you may have watched it live on Red Bull TV and quite a few of you have reached out personally and expressed your feelings on social and I appreciate it considering no action has been taken considering the circumstances. 55 seconds prior to the start of the race, the tape that contained the second row of 8 racers was lifted. Racer instinct here, the entire second row rolled forward and I proceeded to follow my fellow competitors all around me.
Out of nowhere, the race official (I won’t name names) shoved me backwards by the throat with unnecessary force. Though, I will say this isn’t the first time I’ve had an encounter with this particular individual. He was verbally aggressive towards me at the Olympics after I sprinted for the bronze medal and he’s also been aggressive towards me at multiple other races – a trend is beginning to emerge.
I’ve attempted to stay above the noise for some time now – I show up, mind my business and do my job. You all know me well enough by now, there isn’t much I can’t handle while quietly carrying on. I think it’s important everyone has the benefit of the doubt – we are all human, but this is just ridiculous. The individual went on to fine the entire second row 50CHF each for apparently going underneath the tape. Nobody has apologized to me or my fellow competitors and to my knowledge, the fine has not been revoked. Mountain Bike World Cup racing is amongst the pinnacle of our sport, and the officials should represent the highest level of professionalism, just as we athletes do.
Emily Batty is a 2x Canadian Olympic cyclist.
Her career highlights include Bronze at the Mountain Bike World Championships, Gold at the Pan American Games, Silver at the Commonwealth Games, Fourth at the Rio Olympic Games.
Emily’s longtime supporters and the ones that make chasing dreams possible include Trek Bikes, Red Bull, Kindred Financial, Oakley, Lululemon, Pfaff Porsche.