April 23, 2006 – Some people shy away from change for fear of embarrassment or failure; Gina Grain of British Columbia embraces it.
In a matter of only two years, Grain went from jumping onto her first track bike in 2004 to jumping onto the podium at the 2006 Track Cycling World Championships in Bordeaux, France.
“I actually didn’t feel very good that race. With 20 laps to go, we were going really hard and then it let up. So I thought to myself that either I can feel awful in the peloton or I can feel awful off the front,” said Grain, who attacked with 18 laps to go and won a silver medal in the women’s scratch race.
She attributes her success to gaining international experience, a change in coaching and faithful sponsors. Grain feels that she learns and improves with each track race and each World Cup event. This 2005/2006 season, Grain’s results included finishing fourth in Moscow, Russia at World Cup #1, fifth in Los Angeles, Calif. at World Cup #2 and fourth at the Commonwealth Games.
Grain is also learning from her mistakes. Her most embarrassing one to date occurred last year during a scratch race in Trexlertown, Penn. The bell rang for what Grain thought was a prime lap, but it was actually the final lap. Everyone sprinted for the line and then Grain attacked.
“The race was over and then I attacked them. I actually thought to myself – yes, I’m getting away from them – and I sprinted for a lap. Somewhere during that lap, I realized I was the only one sprinting. At the finish line, I hammed it up by putting up my hands,” said Grain, who laughs about the experience. “I learned from that and didn’t attack the group after the race at the World Track Championships.”
Grain also attributes her success to her new coach Eric Van den Eynde, also Canada’s National Track coach. “Eric’s voice was in my head throughout the whole championships, and he was yelling at me from the sidelines – it was a double whammy.” Grain began working with Van den Eynde last summer and feels the move has been a good one.
She also feels changing her focus to include both road and track cycling has worked out well. Grain has raced on the North American elite women’s road circuit since 2000. Grain says she adores the speed and intensity of track cycling, but mostly she loves how it makes her feel. “You feel at one with your bike because you’re not shifting or breaking. You can feel the power you put through it.”
Quick to attribute her success to others, Grain also appreciates the support of her sponsors. Her positive attitude off the bike and success on the bike has attracted sponsors such as Fuji, Sidi, Descente, Red Square, Antosz Orthodontics, Vellend Tech, John Wong and Dr. Rycraft, all of which have helped her achieve success on the track.
This summer during track’s off-season, Grain is racing a full road schedule for the Colavita/Cooking Light Women’s Cycling Team, but her goals for the future include improving technically and working toward the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
To learn more about Grain, you can visit her website at www.ginagrain.com.