SPORTS

Heather Moyse mulls over her sporting future, looks to build in a personal life

05/11/2012 02:17 EDT | Updated 07/11/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Decisions, decisions. Heather Moyse has a few to make.

Does she return to bobsled, where she won 2010 Olympic gold with Kaillie Humphries? What about a third Rugby World Cup, in France in 2014?

And if the 2016 Summer Games become the goal, does she continue her education in track cycling or look to be part of the Olympic debut of seven-a-side rugby?

Her ailing ankle might decide the matter. So will her heart.

The 33-year-old Moyse would like to build a personal life into her elite sporting regimen.

"I don't want to meet somebody and then be interested in somebody and then, say if I get a second date, I'd be like 'Sure, how does your calendar look about four months from now?'" Moyse said.

Moyse is not complaining. And judging from the smiles, giggles and conversation during a recent interview with The Canadian Press, her dance card would be pretty full if she stayed in one place long enough.

But Moyse is usually on the move.

The 33-year-old from Summerside, P.E.I., now based in Toronto, met with Humphries recently to discuss the future.

"We talked a lot about that stuff," Moyse said. "For me it's not a matter of not wanting to race, it's not a matter of not wanting to race with her. I actually miss that stuff.

"It's just that I turn 34 this summer and I don't want to be on the road for two-thirds of the year. I'd like to be a little more settled somewhere."

Cycling allows that, she says. There is some travel, but it's less and not as constant.

Moyse is still feeling the effects of an ankle injury suffered in the last game for Canada at the 2010 Rugby World Cup. The ankle forced her to miss half of the 2010-11 bobsled season and curtailed her training when she returned to the circuit.

The injury eventually led her to try her hand at track cycling where, as always, she set the bar high — representing her country. To achieve the necessary qualifying standard, Moyse moved to Los Angeles earlier this year and trained non-stop for a month.

"Literally it was training, eating, sleeping, training, eating sleeping. That was it."

In March, Moyse achieved her goal when she competed at the UCI Pan-American Championships in Mar Del Plata, Argentina.

Moyse's nose-to-the-grindstone approach to her new sport paid off with a fourth in the 500-metre time trial in Mar Del Plata.

She also tried her hand at the flying 200-metre time trial at the event, to get some more experience. She ranked ninth, which qualified her for the individual match sprint, a brand new event.

"I was, needless to say, freaking out," Moyse said.

So she turned to veteran Calgary sprinter Monique Sullivan for help. Sullivan talked her through it, offering the newbie some basic strategy.

It worked as Moyse beat the eighth-place rider from El Salvador. That earned her a matchup with the top-ranked cyclist in the competition — Sullivan.

"I'm like 'She knows my game plan. She's the one who told me my game plan,'" said Moyse, who is long on power but short on experience and strategy at the velodrome.

"With a time trial, just sprint power, I could probably give her a run for her money," Moyse added. "I could probably train enough to give it a good run, and could potentially maybe beat her in a time trial.

"But when it comes to an event where it comes down to strategy, she has 10 years of experience in terms of going slowly and then dive-bombing down behind somebody, playing with the track basically to confuse somebody else."

Moyse continues to explore track cycling, albeit at a slightly slower pace — "not trying to be as goal-focused but just absorbing the sport and learning to enjoy the sport."

And just in case she is needed.

"At this point, I'm training for the unknown, for whether an opportunity arises or not."

In finishing fifth overall in her debut match sprint, Moyse discovered she is eligible for the London Olympics.

"Now eligible and qualified are different," she explained. "Eligible just means I've competed and I've ranked a certain level in an international competition."

Sullivan is qualified to represent Canada in the sprint and Moyse says her teammate "definitely deserves that spot."

"It just means maybe that is something were to happen to Monique, that the Canadian team would have the option of deciding whether or not they wanted me to go, because internationally I'm eligible."

On the rugby front, Moyse led or shared the lead in try-scoring the last two World Cups. But the fullback-wing rolled her right ankle early in a 23-20 loss to the U.S. that consigned Canada to a disappointing sixth-place finish in 2010.

"The last specialist I saw was right before Christmas and it's still not healed. Whether it might be permanent cartilage damage they don't know."

She is also missing a ligament, which means her ankle is not very well suited for the running and lateral movement in rugby.

Asked about her rugby future, Moyse says with a smile: "Your guess is probably as good as mine."

Complicating the matter is that the Canadian women are now centralized in Victoria as they focus on sevens ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

But never say never.

Moyse acknowledges she tends to drift away from a sport after putting all her efforts into training for an event.

"And then a couple of years later I miss it and I go back, often better than I was before — partly because it renews a challenge, because it makes it more challenging because I've taken so much time off and so it's a challenge to see if I can get back to where I was before or better."

The ankle also impacted her bobsled, reducing her ability to do training runs or work in the gym.

"It's an injury year for bobsledding," she said. "The impact of running, jumping, bounding, even max vertical jumps in the middle of training, all of that stuff really irritates my ankle."

She can function on the ankle — clearly at an elite level — but it comes at a painful price a day or so on.

Moyse says competing on the wonky ankle may be the choice she has to make.

But which sport?

"I think over the next couple of years things will become clearer as to what's maybe even (happening) in my own life — if certain things are happening in my personal life, that will help make decisions in terms of a lot of things."

When not training, competing, travelling or showing off her motivational speaking skills, Moyse looks to spend time with her family.

In June, she plans to train out of the velodrome in Colorado Springs, Colo., because her sister and her family have moved to Denver.

"My family is a lot of my social life so I'm really fortunate that way."

True to her roots, Moyse is sponsored by Prince Edward Island Potatoes. Potatoes are on her bike — in the form of a P.E.I. Potato logo — "and in my belly."

She is also featured in a series of YouTube videos called "Cooking P.E.I. Potatoes with Heather Moyse" in which Chef Andrew Nicholson teaches her about the spud in the kitchen of the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown.

Moyse also helps with Right to Play and other charitable endeavours, most recently partnering with Cadbury for The Bicycle Factory to help send bicycles to children in Africa.

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On the Internet

www.thebicyclefactory.ca

http://heathermoyse.net

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