As a 19-year-old aspiring track cyclist, Jay Lamoureux could have never imagined one coach helping him make the national team program, not just once but twice.
But due to an unforeseen injury, that is essentially what happened to the Victoria, BC product.
In the fall of 2014, Jeff Ain was in his second year as the coach of Canadian Sport Institute Pacific’s Cycling NextGen program when he recruited Lamoureux from Tripleshot Cycling Club. The Cycling NextGen program supports Cycling Canada’s high performance development system in BC, which made it the perfect place for Jay to develop his skills and catch the attention of the senior national team.
“I was excited to be part of it. I knew we get access to all the [services at CSI Pacific], so it was a pretty big perk to have so much at your fingertips,” said Lamoureux, who was already a bronze medallist at the 2014 U23 Canadian Road Cycling Championships.
During his time in Victoria, Lamoureux continued to find success, most notably a podium finish at the 2015 Canadian Track Championships. Those results paved the way for his transfer to Ontario, where he would train with the specialized group of track cyclists at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton. Lamoureux attended training camps in Milton and made trips with the training group to California before he began experiencing knee pain.
Lamoureux was diagnosed with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, a common knee injury among young athletes, caused by overuse or repetitive overload. The discomfort in his knee turned out to be the first big setback of Lamoureux’s career and kept him off his bike and away from the proper training he needed to compete.
“One of the biggest mental factors with this injury was that I didn’t really have a timeline. You’d get home and then I sit around and wait for it to get a little better. It seemed to drag out and I had some dark times,” he explained. “I questioned my cycling career and what was going to be my future.”
With Jay back in Victoria and not competing for the conceivable future, his old coach decided something needed to be done.
In the early part of 2016, Ain brought Lamoureux back to CSI Pacific. With the support of the Institute’s strength and conditioning coach Adam Kleeberger and athletic therapist Sandeep Nandhra, Ain designed a rehab plan for Lamoureux that focused on getting him pain-free, without a definite return to cycling in mind.
“There wasn’t any rocket science behind the exercises we used, we just tried to find things that would put a little bit of strain on the injured areas but not overload them so much that he wasn’t able to continue to work out,” said Kleeberger. “The big thing that we came up with was guiding his process through reflection of the amount of pain he was feeling from one workout to the next.”
Starting in April, Ain, Kleeberger, and Nandhra worked together as a team, which allowed them to make easy adjustments to the rehab plan if it seemed he wasn’t ready. This close collaboration helped the rehab proceed seamlessly. To their surprise, Lamoureux’s body reacted well to nearly every treatment the team subscribed.
“What made this case so successful was the interaction between the therapist, the strength and conditioning coach, and the coach. We worked together collaboratively to make sure Jay had a plan he could move forward on and progress,” explained Nandhra.
For over two months, Lamoureux was off his bike completely as they waited for him to become pain-free. He went through cross-training and stationary bike workouts before finally beginning his return to cycling.
“Getting him back on the bike the way that he progressed, you could see it in his eyes, it really seemed to help him get through it mentally,” noted Nandhra.
This fall, Lamoureux made a thunderous return to cycling with support from the staff in Victoria and Milton. He started by winning a silver medal during the team pursuit at the Canadian Track Championships in September and followed that up with even bigger successes on the world stage.
In October, Lamoureux won a pair of silver medals at the Pan Am Track Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, competing in both the team and individual pursuit. The team pursuit silver medal saw Lamoureux and his teammates break a Canadian record by more than six seconds, posting a sub-four minute result.
He then moved onto the World Cup circuit, where he helped make Canadian cycling history. In November, the team of Aidan Caves, Adam Jamieson, Lamoureux, and Ed Veal won Canada’s first-ever World Cup medal in the Men’s Team Pursuit with a bronze medal in Glasgow, Scotland.
Less than a week later, they trumped it, capturing a gold medal in Men’s Team Pursuit in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.
“I hadn’t followed a lot of Jay’s career prior to my involvement with him, so I don’t think I realized the potential that he had,” shared Kleeberger. “Jeff had a lot of trust and faith in his abilities. It just validates what his intuitions were.”
“It is something I couldn’t have done without [Canadian Sport Institute Pacific],” said Lamoureux. “All the staff that have supported me along the way, it has been a huge help. I am just so lucky to have resources like this.”