Timeline – 2007 to 2009
After traveling to Ethiopia to see the RTP programs first hand, Clara resumed training for the coming season on ice. Also began working in broadcasting and traveled to Austria to work as a color commentator for CBC at the World Road Cycling Championships. A seed was planted that perhaps when she was done with the ice a return to the bike was possible. With a home Olympics on the horizon, decided to dedicate four more years to pursuing excellence on ice. Did some different (and embarrassing) things like do some sprint world cups just for fun, traveling with the fast twitch machines to Japan and China, and then got back on the distance circuit needing a break more than anything. This break came when her season screeched to a halt after learning of the great loss of her father in law, Elias Guzman, while preparing for a world cup in Germany. Flew home to be with Peter and family that next morning and after one more race at the world championships, ended her season with mediocre results.
Time for something new again for spring training. This time, Clara and Peter spent a month or so scaling each and every mountain pass there was to ride in the Eastern Sierra Nevada in California. By bike. A friend with a bike shop in Bishop, California, had a jersey with symbols for every local climb. The mission was deemed ‘the jersey quest’. They did it with good friend Kathleen Nelson and a few others along the way. It was epic, it was fun. And then, as always, it was time to get back into skating mode and Clara was back in Calgary training with the team. Another season rolled around and the results, though decent, were sporadic. World Cup podium finishes were satisfying but Clara struggled, as she always had for the eight years since beginning to speed skate at the age of 27, with the skating technique. Another World Championships and another silver medal.
Traveled to Cuba, Ghana with Right to Play, Jerusalem where they spent a memorable day with the Right to Play team in the oPt West Bank, then to Spain. Ended terribly when Clara was hit while driving by a drunk driver on her way home from the airport in Montreal. She came away lucky to be alive. The neck problems the accident left her with plagued her for months and affected her already fickle skating technique. More broadcasting work brought Clara to the Beijing Olympics, exactly what she needed to gain the perspective that was slipping away. Working media at the Games made Clara see how special it was to be an athlete competing for the country. She was in awe of each and every Olympian. Having to train through the 3 weeks she was in China, while working full-time covering the road, track and mountain bike events, male and female, took it’s toll but she relished in the work. Clara left the 2008 Games not only inspired, but knowing she would certainly be back on the bike after the 2010 home Olympics in Canada. The speed skating season was up and down, with tremendous technical issues and problems with her skates, but ended on an incredible high winning a silver medal at the World Single Distance Championships in Richmond, BC in the Olympic Oval built for the upcoming Games. With the help of Johann Olav Koss, and the continual support of Xiuli Wang, Clara discovered some of her best technical skating and finished the season knowing she would have the most beautiful race, the dream that kept her going through the myriad frustrations year after year, at the 2010 Games.