When Guillaume Lafleur-Smith says he's going downhill fast, he's not talking about his fitness. The downhill MTB racer found CrossFit almost two years ago, and has rededicated his life to teaching and competing in fitness.
"I did mountain bike racing for eight years, and competed at downhill for five," Lafleur-Smith says. "I was just doing regular gym workouts — you've heard it all before, right? Bench presses and stuff. One of my friends told me to try CrossFit. The first workout was just some squats, push-ups, burpees and run 800 meters for three rounds. She killed me."
Lafleur-Smith was intimidated when he joined CrossFit Granby
, starting with only two visits per week. Now, he's among the select group of "Unlimited Elite," an invitation-only cartel of Granby's best. Originally focused on using CrossFit to train for racing mountain bikes, Lafleur-Smith has broadened his horizons.
When his race times improved, Lafleur-Smith decided he wanted to study exercise science at the University of Sherbrooke
. Though he didn't have all of the prerequisites necessary to begin his Bachelor's degree, the University waived some requirements because he coaches kids.
"I coach mountain biking for kids, three afternoons per week," he says. "The kids come to the mountain at the Centre National de Cyclisme
, in Bromont, and I teach them riding techniques."
Though he didn't compete in the CrossFit Games Open last year, Lafleur-Smith is excited to compete in 2013.
"I was still more focused on downhill racing last year,” he says. “Now, I'm centered around my love of CrossFit. I find it hard not to go to the gym. I feel bad if I don't go — like physically wrong."
"Guillaume is the guy that is really involved in any activity we do at the gym," CrossFit Granby owner, Jean-Philippe Paquette, says. "As an athlete, he is really interested in learning, improving, getting stronger. He learns really fast and everybody loves this guy."
He's young, but Lafleur-Smith has enough competitive experience to know success doesn't come overnight.
"I feel like I want to rush things sometimes, but I know I have to take it slower,” he says. “To improve flexibility, I even started yoga three months ago.”
He'd like to make the CrossFit Granby team this year, qualify for Regionals with them and then make it as a solo athlete in 2014.
Preparation means a new set of skills, even for a lifetime athlete.
“CrossFit has everything in it. I try to draw on sports I've done in the past — I even open my mouth on butterfly pull-ups, as if I'm doing swimming. Like a fish,” he laughs. “Everything is connected to what you've done before.”
One of the greatest carryovers from mountain biking is the mindset, Lafleur-Smith says.
“Downhill racing is like an intense, short WOD; cross-country racing is more like a long endurance-based WOD. If you lack on technique, you'll lack at everything else,” he says. “Racing downhill, if you fly into a corner and brake too late, you'll lose all your speed. Like trying to smash a Fran
too fast — if you go as fast as possible on the 21s, you'll die on the 15s."