GINA GRAIN- CANADIAN OLYMPIAN (TRACK CYCLING)
“In Grade 10 I tore the ligaments in my knees downhill skiing and playing basketball- both knees within 2 weeks of each other. I was completely lost in what I was going to do to keep fit. My main sports of soccer, basketball and downhill ski racing were unrealistic to continue, not to mention painful. I was devastated and upset. So, I became a gym buff. Yes, a gym buff. You could usually find me in the gym pumping weights or on the stationary bike set on “Random cycle”.
My dream was to represent Canada at the Olympics in soccer; and, clearly, that was not going to happen anymore. One day I randomly borrowed a friend’s mountain bike when I was attending college. To this day, I still don’t why I borrowed that bike and went out alone on the trails in the mountains behind my house.
I came home dirty and happy. Caked with mud and dripping with sweat…and, the biggest perma-smile that I had felt in a long time. That was where my love for cycling began…”
Since that life changing moment in Grade 11, Gina made golden lemonade out of lemons. She got her first race license as a beginner in 1995 and immediately set her mind on representing Canada at the Olympic Games in cycling. And that is what she did.
Throughout her time attending University to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology you would find her working, studying or training. After university, you would find her working as an Exercise Therapist/Kinesiologist and Personal trainer…and of course training and racing.
Gina’s first love was in mountain bike racing where she rode her way to the BC Provincial Team and further to the Pro-Elite Canadian circuit where she would consistently place top 5 in the Canada Cups.
As Gina developed, her true strengths began to shine on the road as she was training. If a training race ever came down to a sprint finish, you would see her if not at the front, then very close to it. In year 2000 somebody noticed Gina’s ability, and she was invited to join a professional road cycling team in the US for 2001. This saw the end of her mountain bike career and onto being the lead road sprinter for her new road team.
It was 4 years later, in 2004, that Grain’s lemonade became golden. Gina began to emerge as one of the top road sprinters in the world and would see her crowned as National Champion. Gina’s efforts, victories and consistent podium finishes brought Grain to win the US PRO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS on the road overall, as well as many wins in sprint competitions.
That same year, Gina fell into that same spontaneous moment that brought her to the mountain bike 10 years earlier: she borrowed a friends’ track bike. This time, she went on to win the National Championships 4 months after trying the track for the first time…the next Olympics was only 4 years away.
From this point on the lemonade only got sweeter. With 7 Canadian National Championship titles combined on the road and track, Silver Medal at the 2006 Track World Championships, 2x Pan American Championship medalist on the road and track, and 2x 4th place finishes at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Gina continued to sharpen her edge towards the Beijing Olympic Games.
Although the majority of Gina’s training and racing brought her out of the country, she always loved coming home to Vancouver for the Tour de Gastown downtown criterium where she won that event 3 times in front of a home crowd.
That race was the last preparation race that Grain did before competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on the track. What a great send off! Grain placed 9th in the 2008 Olympics in the Points race event on the track.
Gina now resides full time in Vancouver and is beginning to share all of her secret training tips, methods and skills to cycling enthusiasts around town. She shares her smile and spends her time coaching cycling, she is co-owner of TaG cycling, and is an NSCA Strength and Conditioning Coach and BCAK Kinesiologist…
Remember how sweet lemonade can be if you squeeze them from lemons!
Highlights from Gina’s career:
Canadian Olympian – Track Cycling (2008 Beijing Olympics)
World Championship Silver Medalist
7x Canadian National Champion
US Pro Tour Champion
US Pro Track Omnium Champion
3x Tour de Gastown Champion
2x Pan American Championship Medalist
2x 4th Commonwealth Games