Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Big Day

On December 16th Keith and I tied the knot. It was an awesome day in the Kamloops area. We were at a lodge on the little Shuswap lake. As BC’ers know the weather around Vancouver was pretty stormy at this time. The night before Stanley park lost many of its beautiful trees. But even with this weather and 3 of 4 highways from the coast being closed due to snow most of our guests made it out.
I guess I should have used some of my prerace visualizing before I walked down the aisle because about 3 steps in I burst into tears and then giggles because I couldn’t stop crying. I eventually made it to Keith and we tied the knot.

We went outside for pictures and got some great ones on the snowy beach. Then a bit of down time and the dinner and dance. It was a wicked day. Getting married made us really realize just how lucky we are to have the friends and family we do. The speeches were entertaining, one of my bridesmaid even wrote and sang me a song as she played guitar! So after some good food, cake and lots of speeches we were ready to party. The Dj quickly learned that cheesy 80’s music was the ticket to a good time with our crowd and dancing went on non-stop till closing time.

Check out the link for pictures taken by Wayne Hooton

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fall 2006

With the hype of a last minute trip to Brazil the other stuff in my life got pushed to the back ground. But at the end of September after a couple weeks of that super fun past time – job hunting, I ended up getting the first job I sent a resume in for. So I now do water analysis 3 days/week. Chemistry was the class I rarely made it to. It was an 8 am’er first year and just too easy to miss. So I went through a crash refresher and after a couple weeks my legs also adjusted to the 8-10 hr shifts spent standing. Not perhaps the most ideal athlete second job, but interesting.
September also meant a trip to NB to visit my folks and go shopping for a wedding dress. I took the red eye flight from Vancouver Thursday and arrived at 11ish Friday morning in NB. Mom and Dad were there to pick me up, take me out for some good breakfast at Cora’s in downtown Fredericton. By 1:00 mom and I had found my wedding dress and the rest of the weekend was free to relax and catch up with friends. Mid September and NB was gorgeous and green. The leaves were just starting to fall.
Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec Work/Train/Eat/Sleep/wedding planning. That was pretty much the drill with varying order of activities. I got through the biggest learning curve at work, settled into a training pattern and the wedding seemed to be coming together well. Our wedding goal was for it to be low stress and fun and I think we were pretty successful at that. November saw keith and I trying to get our ski legs back. Last year living in Chase we would drive to Vernon (1.5hrs) 2-3 times/week to cross country ski and spice training up more than a trainer can. This year being in Kamloops we are spoiled to have Stake lake a mere 30 minute drive and are loving it. It’s also quite a bit flatter than where we’ve skied in the past so it’s a nice change.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Pan Am championships…Proof that where there is a will there is a way to get to Brazil

After what was the most last minute travel and race prep I have done I ended up in Brazil October 10th as the sole female representative for Canada at the Pan am Championships. It all began on Monday, Oct 2nd. I got a call from the CCA asking what my form was like? Not great, but not horrible was my thoughts…and being a quick responder I was confident that a couple weeks of fine tuning would have me ready... a good thing too because 2 weeks was exactly what I had. Alison Sydor was scheduled to go, but could not get a Visa in time in France where she was preparing for Roc D’Azur – which she won. So that night I got a passport pic taken, got a Brazil visa form printed – great time to run out of ink! And put them with my passport to be Fed Exed to Ottawa the next day. My Visa was to be ready Friday and my tickets ready Wednesday.
Okay so it looks like I’m good to go.
Then the problems start; no Saturday shipping to Kamloops – so visa and passport will go to Max in Victoria and we’ll meet in the airport. Tickets sent to me and arrive Friday – but I’m at work till 6 and they didn’t leave them for me. They’ll be available for pick up next business day…did I mention it was Thanks Giving and I’m supposed to fly out Monday, but can’t get tickets until Tuesday. So after a whole lot of phone calls b/w me, the CCA and their Travel agent, and attempts to contact the courier or rebook we decide Sunday evening that it is not going to happen. Damn all those intervals and restricted treat intake!
Enter Michel Leblanc again. Not prepared to give up he stays up till 2am Sunday (Thanks Giving) making phone calls. Keith and I had gone to Friends for some Turkey and were just enjoying some tea post meal when I get a call from a Frantic courier, and could I meet her in 15 minutes? So we’re off at 8pm to North Kamloops to get my plane tickets…but oh yeah they’ve been cancelled. So I have tickets which may or may not be valid by the time I am supposed to board a plane at 9am. Keith and I go home and pack up the bike and will know at 6:30 am tomorrow when people are up in Ottawa whether or not it’s really a go. You can imagine the ups and downs of this weekend.

6:30 am: It’s a go. We’re off to the airport. But some obstacles still to be taken care of…with no passport or Visa I will have to claim baggage and get boarding tickets for the rest of my flights when I arrive in Vancouver. Stressful, but it all works out. The morals here are …never get paper tickets if you can go electronic and where there is a will there is a way.

So Max and I are off to Washington DC where we meet up with Matt Toulouse, Michel Leblanc and Jerome (our mechanic)…but just barely. Michel and Jerome had just 10 minutes to connect from their flight. So when we arrived in Brazil we weren’t surprised to find they had no luggage. But we and our bikes made it there and settled into the Pousada Hotel Atlantica in Camboriu, Brazil. A reputed Beach town and tourist destination, but with no notable mention in the Lonely Planet. It was a big city on the ocean with lots of natural beauty, but also lots of pavement and apparently not very representative of the country. After over 24hrs of traveling, sleeping on a plane and a 4hr time change we took just a quick spin around the city before having some grub and heading to bed.

Breakfast was served at the hotel. Lots of fresh fruit, breads, cakes!, cookies, coffee and interesting jams like pumpkin coconut and avocado puree. Lunch (almoco) and Super (Jantar) were served at a cafeteria where you could catch a gondola to the race course and a nicer beach. The meal hall, ahh a warm spot for us where we could eat rice and beans, beets, cooked carrots and as much fried and fatty meats as our hearts desired. Not necessarily fine dinning, but we all made it through…probably only gaining a couple pounds!

Wednesday, our first full day in Brazil, was sunny and the course was in great condition. There were some off camber descents, steep climbs and loose surf style descents and pavement sections before sending us down a 4 cross course and through the start finish into 2nd lap. I used my granny a lot, but enjoyed the course. Max, not having a granny gear, thought it was one of the harder courses he had done that year. A granny gear was put on his bike.

That night it rained…and rained. Max and Matt hit the course Thursday, but said it was disgusting and not to bother. Friday was more of the same. I did one lap and after running over 60% decided a 2nd lap was not necessary. Instead I went off exploring and wound up atop a really steep climb where a gigantic statue of Jesus shared a parking lot with a paint ball operation. It hadn’t rained in Camboriu since Thursday, but in the muggy air the course was not drying up quickly. Another dry, but overcast day Saturday and the course was much better and I was excited about racing again.

Sunday (Race day) – The women lined up for the Start. Representing the USA were Mary McConneloug, Willow Keorber, Heather Irmiger and Jenna Zander (U23), Argentina had their Olympian Jimena Florit, Brazil Jacquelin Mourao and Mexico with their top women Carla and Lorenza. In total there were 20 elite women and 6(?) Espoirs in the field. It was a talented and intimidating field, but my confidence was increasing with every day in Brazil. It was hot and muggy and I felt that could play out well for me. The gun went off and we started up the really steep paved start climb. I started out conservatively, not having raced in a while, but when too many girls hit the dirt in front of me I turned it up a notch. After the longish start loop Mary was off the front, Jimena in pursuit and Jacquelin between me and them. I got past Jacquelin on a paved climb before the first descent and didn’t look back. I was in pursuit and breathing hard. In the feedzone Michel was worried I might be starting too hard, but I felt okay and was crossing my fingers I was right. By the long climbs I could see both Mary and Jimena and we settled into a rhythm. Mary pulled away a bit every lap eventually gaining 2:30 on me, but Jimena and I kept very consistent time gaps to each other and I judged my pacing in the heat off the Argentinian. By Second lap and a comfortable gap to the next girl Michel no longer worried about my pacing. Giving me a cold wet sponge for my neck each lap. Last lap we knew it was determining time. Jimena and I both felt good, but luck was on my side that day. Start of last lap Jimena flatted. It’s never the way you want to beat someone, but it’s part of racing and goes both ways. We had 2 minutes on the next girl at this point, so I had to ride smart to the finish and she had to do a quick change and ride hard to keep in medal contention.

I knew third lap if I didn’t mess up I was guaranteed at least third, but now to be riding in second after such a last minute trip was exhilarating. Before heading down the 4 cross course I zipped up my Jersey so the Maple leaf would show as I crossed the line. It was a great moment and the first time I would step on the podium wearing my Team Canada gear. For Michel and I who spent countless time on the phone trying to get me to Brazil this was the icing on the cake. My job was to finish top 12 and qualify someone for the Pan Am games next year, but to medal was something else. Mcconeloug won and Jimena was bale to fight back for 3rd.

The day kept getting better for Canada. At 2 the Elite men and espoirs lined up. Again the US had sent their A squad – Jeremiah Bishop, Adam Craig, JHK, Mike Broderick and Todd Wells. Central and South America had also sent their top guns. For the U23s they had sent the two Sams. Starting 2 mins behind the elites, Max (U23) quickly rose to a podium position within the elite field. Matt rode conservatively and moved up a bit each lap. Max was able to hold onto his lead and took the U23 Pan Am Champion title and gold medal. Matt, who entered last lap in 4th or 5th position was able to overtake his competitors and pass all but Hector Leon Paez (6th at Worlds) to take our second Silver of the day. So it was three athletes sent for Canada and three medals. Time for celebration.

We decided to ditch the meal hall our last night and head out to a Churascaria where we ate from a great buffet spread and had meat skewers of almost anything you can imagine (lamb, chicken hearts, steak, stuffed roast..) and of course a couple celebratory local beers. Stuffed, we headed out to a local bar where we were eventually heated out by the wall to wall mesh of people and headed to the beach.

Monday Jerome and I were off to the airport as Matt, Michel and Max stayed behind for a couple days of surfing. A slight detour sent me home via Chicago, but I was back in the loops on Tuesday and back to work on Wednesday. I didn’t touch the bike or do anything athletic till Saturday when Keith and I decided to try out our first cyclo-cross race! It was fun, but hard and a piece of wire wrapping around my cassette sent me to the back after I had finally worked my way up to 2nd on the twisty course. Cross is certainly a different experience…kind of like throwing all my cycling weaknesses into a 40 minute period of intense exertion. But I’m stoked to give it another go with the things I picked up this weekend!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Perfect Long Weekend

On Friday Keith, myself and the cats piled in the car and headed over to visit his parents in Revelstoke. No longer in training mode for a bit we didn't try to squish a ride in that friday, just enjoyed some BBQ'd burgers and Mt. Begbie beer. Saturday we drove out to Keystone standard basin - about 50 km North of Revelstoke towards the Mica damn- and then another 16km up gravel roads. The drive up the gravel road was slow so we decided to bike halfway. Immediately we felt the thinner air attacking our lungs and legs. It took us about 45 minutes just to reach the trailhead, then it turned into a tricky single track climb for about 15minutes before we were unleashed into the alpine fields. You could easily think you were in the Alps "Sound of Music like". You're surrounded by lush fields with alpine wild flowers, mountain peaks and valleys below. The trail is fun too. There are a couple hike a bikes, but mostly rideable. After about 1hr15 we reached the cabin which is nested on a small lake. The cabin is available for anyone who wishes to use it. You can over night and then do a hike up to one of the peaks, camp overnight and return the next day. That'll be for next trip. The ride back to the car is almost better than the one out. The sun was shinning and the mountains were so quiet. Definitely a must ride in BC - but choose your time of year carefully so you don't run into snow. I think it was some of the best weather all summer, but i left my camera at home!

Sunday- still feeling up for a mtb epic we headed out on the Mcpherson trails. Huge sections of wind blown trees on the quarry trail caused us to reroute, but still hit the best part of the trail. On Tthe same wind had uprooted trees leaving exposed slabs of rock at 80 degree angles...I was glad to be on my Norco dually! As always the trails did not dissapoint and Keith and I biked ourselves to exhaustion. There were two fires burning opn the mountain so we biked up to a lake to watch the helicopters picking up water in quick succession. Pretty neat.

Saturday- we decided to go for a hike so it was up the 25km paved road to the top of Mount Revelstoke...It was also a bit of a reconaisance mission as there is a mass start hill climb there Sept. 23 we were toying with entering. The climb is pretty gradual, but would not doubt be killer by the end. Being a national park Mt. Revelstoke is beautifully looked after. We decided to hike out to Miller Lake. Why is it hiking always makes you feel out of shape and breathing hard no matter how fit you are? It was a really nice hike that crested and then traversed the mountain side eventually depositing us on miller lake. The water was extremely quiet and clear and again it was so quiet we found ourselves whispering so as not to disturb the mood. I can't believe we hadn't hiked up here earlier, it was so amazing. So we now have another place we could do as an over night hiking trip. We left two lakes unexplored so will have to make it back next summer.
So yes a perfect weekend of fresh air, good trails, amazing scenery and great food a la Keith's mom.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Worlds Experience

The week was spent riding on the course (desc. below), checking out the national forest trails nearby, sharing cooking duties and resting up for the big day. The team relay was Tuesday and the course was very slick after a good rain deposit. Canada put out a strong race, but we were unable to hold off other countries for the podium. That night we went to the open air opening ceremonies. Dressed in many layers to keep warm we watched the Mauri people clad only in thongs – bare feet and all, perform a welcome challenge for us. Not holding true to our heritage of cold weather bearers we left after 45 mins to go get warmed up.

U23 and Jr women raced Wednesday, Jr men Thursday (the course was wickedly fast this day…if only the rain would hold off), Friday and U23 men’s day and it poured all through the night and mud tires were a necessity. Max Plaxton of BC, Canada went on to run and ride his way to a bronze medal. Saturday was DH day and my teammate Fion Griffiths claimed 6th place in the SR women’s field and Mical Gato of Canada claimed bronze in the Jr Women’s race. Yehaaw!
The weekend definitely brought out more people and the race area was buzzing. It rained heavily again Saturday night, but the elites were prepared with mud tires already on our bikes. The women’s race was at 10:00 and the men at 2:00. We were scheduled for 5 and 7 laps. I was number 38 in a field of 50. Being off the European continent teams were smaller, taking only there top riders with others pulling out before the race for various reasons. I had a decent start and quickly got into rhythm. The first time down the descent was a bit sketch. I had a woman go down in front of me and had no option but to keep sliding down and into her. There was a lot of slipping and sliding and sticking a leg out for a corner that first lap, but as it dried out and new lines were worked in it got faster and faster. By early lap 2 I was in 26th position and was able to stay here take or give a spot for the next three laps. I was climbing well and descending better each lap, but by lap 4 my legs were feeling the effort. I had really wanted to attack the course the last two laps and finish strong, but when I went to do so my legs cramped up and I went slower. I lost two positions on the climb last lap and then another three on the climb before the descent. Argh. I followed my teammate Wendy into the descent and we ripped it up, but not enough to catch the Kiwis that had gotten in front. So it was a good race, but a tough end. I finished in 32nd, my best Worlds finish, but not the result I would have liked. I guess I just have to get 10 minutes faster so it could be a 2hr 08 minute race rather than a 2hr 18 ;-) then I wouldn’t have to worry about fading in the last 10-15 mins. Marie Helene Premont earned another bronze medal for Canada with Alison Sydor finishing 9th and Kiara Bisaro14th. Wendy and I finished back to back 31 and 32.

After a quick lunch and shower we all headed back to watch the men’s race. It was a great race start to finish between Absalon and Sausser, Kessikof and Naf. The course was much more tacky making faster climbs and descents. Seamus was our top placing Canadian in the top 25 followed a couple positions back by Ricky Federau, Kabush and Toulouse.

That night the team and staff went out for dinner to celebrate a week and season of good rides and great staff support. Personally I’d like to send out a big thanks to Norco. My bike rides beautifully and support was great. I’d also like to thank Keith, Dan, my family and my soon to be in-laws. All of your support is greatly appreciated.

New Zealand

Flying to New Zealand was actually a pleasant trip. I got on plane at 7:30 in Vancouver, got to sleep a bit on the way to Honolulu and then spent some time in the open air airport there before getting on my next plane at 2:30 am ready to sleep. I didn’t even have to buy a blanket or food. There were about 6 of the team on the flight and more in Auckland when we arrived. Wendy and I caught I ride out to Rotorua with Rob Jones. It took about three hours of driving through lush green farmland to arrive at our destination.

Rotorua is built on a thermal area and we were able to enjoy the benefits of that natural phenomenon when frequenting the hotel mineral pools and spa baths. Even the heating and warm water for the rooms was from the underground water supply. New Zealand was a bit chilly, it being their winter so it did get down to -4 over night at times and we awoke to frosted roof tops and icy puddles.

I got onto the course Monday and was immediately relieved. Reading the course reports it sounded like there were going to be a lot of man made obstacles trying to create a technical course. I was worried the “ominous bone yard” and “Log drops” were just going to be flow and speed destroyers without adding a challenging technical element, but the course designers had done a great job. We started in a “paddock” and were then fed into an ~ 8 min step climb with a couple chutes added in. We emerged from the climb at the top of a gondola crossed under the DH course and were sent down an incredibly naturally undulating field. If you were going too fast or hit the wrong line there was definitely some good launch to crash potential. After this comes the hardest part of the course, a slight graded grass climb up to the top feed-zone. Then it’s into the DH. We started with a couple drops and then switch backed up and down the hill side using all the terrain to get in tight steep corners and power climbs. There were a couple chutes, a log wedge which led into a series of log drops and finally the bone yard which fed you onto a couple short climbs before reaching the Start finish area. It was fun and challenging.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back to BC

Wow I am so ready to be out of a car!! We decided to drive back home through Montana to spice things up. The change is nice, but I’d rather be home already. It was a really good trip though. I finished up a very consistent string of races with a 9th in the xc and another 8th in the Short track at Norba Finals. The string of good racing at altitude has me pumped to race the World Championships at Sea level. I learned a lot about my racing these past weekends and am hoping to put it altogether in NZ.

Snowmass was very similar in course layout to Brian Head. Huge climb off the start & big ring descents with lots of flatting opportunities, but this weekend they through in a long single track climb which led straight into the start climb as we did 1.5 laps. Perhaps Norbas aren’t the best prep for World Cups in terms of course design as climbing courses are selective and don’t emphasize the necessity of working through traffic, but the competition is great.

The short track this weekend was pretty rough so I used my Norco Dually… and am so glad I did. We got to ride a bunch of jumps, punchy climbs and rough ST making it more like a mini xc race than the typical pack dynamics. I started horribly even though I got a pretty wicked call up. I had to work hard to clear the traffic, but kept gaining spots and eventually found myself in 8th behind Heather Irmiger. My race ended just as the thunder showers opened up for the men.

My travel-mates also had a good weekend Ricky finishing top 15 in both events and Hadley riding strong in the 20’s. After many months of traveling together Keith and I dropped Hadley off in Salt Lake City. He was flying back to NB to wrap up his race season. So Now I’m in the Vancouver area until Friday when I fly to NZ. I’ll get the chance to visit Norco and do some new trails while I’m here.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fruita, Colorado

Have now done three fun mtb rides in Fruita in the Kokopelli and North Fruita Dessert trail areas. Today's ride was probably my favorite. Keith and I did a trail named Steve's Loop and then rode over to Troy built. We followed the canyon perimeter and even saw a few lizzards.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Off to Fruita

Had a huge Burrito on the way. Yummy. Then got stuck in traffic. A big forest fire had crossed the interstate. Luckily there aren’t a whole lot of trees around here. Then we went through some of the most crazy scenery I’ve been through. Red rock spires, Canyons and they just stretched on forever, no services for 110 miles. After we took Ricky’s bag off the roof we could go a lot faster and strolled into Fruita at 11:00. We now have a spacious hotel room with fridge and microwave as well as bike storage. We have been experimenting with microwaveable meals. Yeah wraps! Ricky has gone off to the race track. They claim their Go Karts can hit 100 miles per hour! Yeeha!

Race Day: Norba Brian Head

As we started the ascent to Brian Head you could feel a weight begin to press in on your chest. I don’t think I have ever felt that horrible in a warm up before. My legs felt like they were being pulled in all directions. People have been raving about the single loop course and from looking around we knew it would be good. The sun decided to shine on us today and the race got off to a good start. First we climbed up a long paved climb. My heart rates were really high in warm up and I knew other girls were much more used to altitude so I just sat in and let them work. Willow Lead most of the climb which eventually turned to dirt and continued up. She paid for her effort though and got popped before the crest. It was now just 6 of us: Heather, Dara, Shonny, Georgia, Jimena and myself. I was feeling the effort pretty good and not knowing how much climbing was left I had to ease up. I crested the next climb to see the girls funneling into a single track climb ahead of me. Damn, I was almost there. Katerina Nash then bridged up to me going a really good clip and I followed her down the first descent. Not having seen anything before I just crossed my fingers the rocks she was riding off had good landings. She was screaming down the hill and I couldn’t match her on the day. A lot of the men had flatted on this rock strewn stretch, but the women made out okay. The descents were all fast big ring stuff. By the second substantial climb we had climbed from just under 2000m to 3300m! Ricky summed up the race with the words, “I’ve never dug so deep to go so slow”. Gretchen Reeves caught up to me at the base of this climb and we rode it together. Going into the descent I slid out a bit on a loose corner and she got a gap. The next couple descents were rough and twisty and I felt great. I was catching the categories that had done the shorter loop and hoping I could make up some lost ground here, but everyone must have been riding well. Apparently Katrina Nash caught the lead girls here and was putting the hurt on them. I didn’t see another of my competitors for the rest of the race and managed to salvage my 8th place position. I wish I had known before what the last 20 min of the course was like. I think I could have finished a lot stronger if I knew how much energy I could use or had to conserve. It was a great race and a good altitude experience. I caught views of red rock mesas below from the climbs and zipped though a beautiful birch forest. There was a lot of single track and A LOT of climbing which didn’t feel so hot at over 2000m. I don’t think I’ve ever been so beat after a race. Man did Wendys taste good!!

Result went 1.Heather Irmiger, 2.Katerina Nash, 3.Shonny Vanlandingham, 4.Dara Marks Marino, 5.Georgia Gould, 6.Jimena Florit, 7. Gretchen Reeves, 8. Me, 9.Sue Haywood, 10. Chloe Forsman
Kabush was 2nd, Ricky 10th, Toulouse 17th and Matt 30th.

After the race I wasn’t much feeling like Short track the next day. Keith let us all hang out in bed as he cleaned our bikes and checked them over. What a guy! After a good sleep and a spin in the AM (See interesting notes) I felt like a new person. Warming up didn’t feel nearly as bad today. We used the same start for the short track and then headed onto the dirt, into two 160 degree corners and then a nice corner straight up a hill and jump and down a rough trail back to the pavement and headwind. I got off to a good start in the 20 min race and was able to secure a top 8 position by being aggressive through the tight corners. There were primes on the first two laps so the race broke up right away with a group of 8 of us off the front. I was able to stick with it for 16 min before letting a deadly gap form. I then was in the fun position of no man’s land as I TT’d behind the leaders, but ahead of the chasers for the rest of the race. Still it was by far my best Short track performance and I finished 8th and actually rode with the leaders in a crit style event! It was the same 8 girls as yesterday with the exceptions of Sue Haywood winning today and Gretchen Reeves dropping out. She had won the marathon that morning!!!

Notes of interest:

Matt and I did a spin from Beaver into the surrounding country side. On a 3 mile section of highway we saw 75 road killed rabbits!
……Later that same day while driving to Fruita (through some crazy scenery!) a rabbit found luck to be on his side as he darted out in front of our car and managed to be missed by all four wheels as we zoomed over top.


Vancouver: After Mt Washington we headed back to Sandra Walter’s place for a couple nights. Her family was awesome and we got well rested and fed for the journey ahead of us. We even got to ride some of their backyard trails. Sandra Schooled us …or at least me on Triple Crown and showing us why those trails belonged in her backyard.

Vancouver to Utah: Keith, matt and I left Sandra’s Tuesday morning and headed south. Popular Sandra had to stay behind for a couple weddings. After a stop for French toast in White rock with my coach Dan we crossed the border with our well loaded Subaru. After Several hours of driving through plains we spotted a tower on a distant hillside and decided to make it our ride destination. Horse Heaven Hills as we later learned provided us with a nice fire road climb before sending us down a steep hill face through tumble weed and sage. Not the most exciting ride…except for the worries we might start a fire we had to be on the disc brakes so much, but it was good to break up the car ride.

That night we made it to Glenn Ferry, Idaho by midnight. The next day we drove to Ogden Utah in time to hit up a bike shop and head for the hills. Our plan was to camp under the stars at the base of Skyline trail. After about an hour of single track climbing through dense brush and about three flat tires we had gained a lot of altitude. Our legs were feeling good, but we had some real fatigue going on from the traveling. No longer able to withstand the bush wacking for an uncertain trail outcome I turned around and headed back to camp. At this point we had decided we needed a good night’s sleep and perhaps an outdoor sleep wasn’t the best idea for us. Keith headed back down the trail with me while Matt duked it out to the crest. As it always turns out in these situations Matt found a sweet single track descent and made it back in about the same amount of time we did. Ah well!

The Ogden Lodge was a lively place. Apparently we slept through gun shots, but Keith did awaken to the massive thunder shower at 3:30 am. Yeah for choosing a hotel sleep!
Off again to Salt Lake to pick up Ricky Federau. The car is now riding substantially lower. We now have 12 wheels, a hockey bag of tires and 4 bikes outside the car. Inside we have 4 people all under the critical 135lb weight limit and all the rest of our gear. We have gone through Keith’s Off Spring Cd’s in order and are started on his Rolling Stones Collection. That night we make it To Beaver, Utah. This is to be our home for 3 days. It’s about 45 minutes from Brian Head, but only at half the elevation.

We enjoyed wicked road rides and Mexican food here. The Super 8 staff were great, but the quarters a little cramped – Okay way too cramped for the 4 of us and our bikes and no fridge or other kitchen niceties. Matt and I picked up a $10 BBQ at the local store and Ricky grilled up some chicken Breasts to go with our camp stove cooked pasta. We made out alright but are looking forward to moving.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Whistler To Washington

Canada Cup Finals: Mt. Washington, BC

Friday I took my first look at our race course. I think I have to credit Mt. Washington for putting together the best course on the circuit. It is also one of the most beautiful rides I’ve done lately. We skirted Alpine meadows with a small lake and when going easy could enjoy views of still snowy peaks in the distance.
The race course contained 3 climbs broken up by rooty descents and rocky mounds. The climbs varied from rooty single track to open roads - some with substantial steep sections. I opted to use the dually this weekend and am glad I did. It’s important in the middle of a racing block to keep riding as fun as possible and ripping down the descents on the dually did this for me. Due to showers Friday night and the fact we are at the end of a tough racing block the chief commissaire opted for a shorter race assigning 4 laps to the women and 5 to the men. From the Gun Alison Sydor took off and Kiara led the chase. Wendy, Mical and myself were close in tow. By the top of the first climb I had moved into 3rd. After last nights rain the roots were much more slick and my first descent was a bit sloppy. Later in the lap, Wendy who had been on my wheel passed me leading the second descent. I felt really strong on the final climb in training so made sure I got ahead for it. By the next climb I was able to put 20 seconds into Wendy and settled into more of a rhythm. I think Wendy ran into some chain suck problems this lap and I was able to open a meaningful gap. All the while Kiara and Alison have been battling up front with Kiara moving into the lead. I felt strong throughout the race and adapted to the slicker roots and was able to maintain my third position while Wendy and Mical battled it out behind me for 4th. With a strong field and every one on it was a good way to wrap up the Canada Cup Season. I was not able to unseat Mical Dyck for the Canada Cup overall leadership finishing 2nd, but the last three Canada cups attracted some of North America’s strongest women and I was able to prove myself a consistent presence near the top.
1. Kiara Bisaro (BC) Team R.A.C.E. 1:35:32 2. Alison Sydor (BC) Rocky Mountain-Business Objects 1:263. Catherine Pendrel (BC) Norco Factory Team 4:24 4. Wendy Simms(BC) Velo Bella 6:105. Mical Dyck (AB) Terrascape Racing/ Trek 6:256. Patricia Sinclair (BC) Scott USA/Kenda 9:367. Sandra Walter (BC) X.O-Felt 11:478. Meghan Kindree (BC) Rocky Mountain/Business Objects 17:599. Michelle Bellamy* (NZL) Jamis/BellamyGallery New Zealand 22:0310. Melissa Dekker* (BC) Dodge City Cycles 22:40

Thursday: Just got the official word…. I am headed to New Zealand for the World Championships! Keep your eyes posted to cycling sites August 27th for Results.

The Road Trip Begins:

Wednesday morning: It is already 25 degrees as we leave Kamloops for Vancouver. Matt has headed out on the bike to Merrit. Keith and I will pick him up after we do a short mtb ride on the cow trail classic course there. By 5:00 we arrive at our friend Sandra’s place. We enjoy the cooler air and a great supper before settling in to watch “Grizzly man”, a film about a guy crazy about Grizzlies who after living among them for 13 years ends up in the belly of one. The Team going to World Championships in New Zealand was supposed to be announced today, but for some reason was not. I am left to wait anxiously. We have packed enough belongings into our car for us to be away for 3 weeks on the road. I had to include a couple more items incase my trip is extended to 5 weeks including a New Zealand winter. This weekend holds the last Canada Cup of the Season and the determination of the series leader. I am currently in Second and have to pull out a great race with some riders separating Mical and I in order to win. After the race in Mt. Washington this Saturday, the three of us (me, Keith and Matt) will head to Utah where we hope to do a lot of trail exploration around racing the Norbas in Brian Head, Utah and then Aspen, Colorado.

A lot of riders have been anxiously anticipating the Whistler Canada Cup. It is always nice to have a race venue you can depend on to make you feel like a mountain bike racer not just a fit cyclist. Unfortunately, even though this weekend’s Canada Cup field had probably the highest caliber of racers it has ever seen, our race venue was put in a far corner of Whistler where there was little to no exposure and no signs pointing the way to our site.

The course was as to be expected, rocky and aggressive with bridges, little climbing and some twisty sections. It was a fun course, but with little opportunity to pass. Race day was a balmy 38 degrees. We lined up on the grass. I had Mary McConneloug on my left and Marie Helene and Alison Sydor on my right. Also in the field were Kiara Bisaro, Willow Koerber, Kelli Emmit, Wendy Simms and Canada Cup favourite Mical Dyck. I had a good start, keeping pace with the leaders, but didn’t take full advantage of it on the climb and slid into 10th position. By the end of the fire road I was in 9th and after the single track climb I was able to get ahead of Mical and Kelli and move into 7th. A little less traffic and I feel I could have been closer to the string of leaders, but once in 7th the run was clear until I started catching the tail end of the men’s elite field. I raced solid and strong, passing Sydor who was off fixing a flat mid first lap. I held 6th position until the last lap where Kelli closed on me. We rode together until I crashed coming out onto a fire road. I felt like I was riding well and could have finished with Kelli or possibly ahead. Instead those 20 seconds cost me 2 positions as Alison Sydor back from her early flat caught me with 200m to go. Although I had the ideal sprinting spot on her wheel my sprint would not challenge many recreational riders let alone Sydor. So it was 8th place for me. With the caliber of field I was okay with 8th. I had battled through the heat for over 2hrs and came out strong. Marie Helene took the win followed by Mary McConneloug and Kiara Bisaro.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Nationals Best

Saturday July 15th Keith, Matt H and I headed up the hill to Sun Peaks, site of this year’s cross country mountain Bike Nationals. The temperatures were pleasant, creeping into the low 20’s, but I was fighting off yawns after a less than restful sleep. The women’s race was scheduled to do five laps starting at 11:00, the men 6 at 2:00. Around ten I started my warm up. My legs were feeling good and easy handled my warm up intensity sessions. A good sign. After completing my warm up I headed down to the start finish area. The Junior races were still underway, taking longer than anticipated and it was decided that the women’s race would be shortened to 4 laps and the start would be pushed back to 11:30. Time to chill out for a bit. At 11:00 I hoped back on my bike to keep my legs warm. The waiting made them feel heavy.

Being the fifth ranked Canadian in UCI points I was fifth called to the line. A nice front row starting position. The course saw some mid week changes to it – all for the better – so we now had a long starting climb and descent before hitting the single track. The starting whistle blew and the racing began. I didn’t have my most spectacular start and soon found myself in 15th-20th. I was able to regain some spots by the top of the climb, but not as many as I would have liked. After two sections of single track we were back out on an open road and I could see the field in front of me and knew where I had to go. UP. I grabbed the closest wheel Trish and we rode up to Mical. Then we both hoped across to Melanie and Wendy. Trish was climbing really well and aggressively so I made sure to stick with her moves. By the top of the next climb there were only 3 riders ahead of us, Marie-Helene, Kiara and Alison. Trish hit the long descent ahead of me, but I was able to get ahead going into the next short climb. By the end of lap 1 I had bridged up and passed Alison on a long steep climb. I was able to lead the top of the climb and following descent before she stormed by me on the fire road leading to the Start/finish area. She kept on the throttle and opened a gap of a couple seconds on me.

The next time up the fire road climb Trish and I found ourselves climbing together again. She set a good hard tempo at the base and I led hard the top section and into the decent. I could hear people cheering Mel and Mical on behind me at the base and with Trish climbing well I knew I had to pick up my tempo a bit. After the descent Keith was waiting for me with time splits. Where I was losing time and where I was gaining and I was able to use this to help widen the gap between me and the girls behind me. Mostly I tried to go as fast as I could without frying my legs on the steep climbs. I felt good and was able to pick it up in the last two laps. I could see Alison and Kiara duking it out in front of me 3rd lap. This battle helped them open time on me and eventually put Alison in 2nd position. Although I had a strong 4th lap and was able to bring my gap to Kiara down about 15 seconds it wasn’t enough to set me in a podium spot. Still a great race and Nationals best performance. Marie-Helene finished the short race in1:33:34 with Alison at 1:36:31, Kiara 1:37:12 and myself at 1:38:26; my closest finish to all three women.

The next day I had a blast doing the Timbits challenge up at Sun Peaks. Our 7 year old neighbour participated in the race. She demonstrated some natural talent and bike handling confidence as she scooped the other kids on an inside corner and charged up the next hill eventually finishing 3. That night we all gathered around a projection screen outside over our BBQ’ed supper and looked through pictures from the weekend. It was a great way to cap off a full weekend.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Back in the Loops

Canada Day saw us up at Sun Peaks bright and early for a work out before Norco VPS Fest was set to begin. The Nationals course had yet to be marked but we hoped on a bit of the older course and surrounding fire roads. After the ride we hung out in the Norco tents meeting a lot of the staff, getting some photo shots and helping people get out on their Norco Demo bikes for a day of DHing. After a busy and successful day and tons of wicked draw prizes we retired to their Condo for a feast, refreshments and good times.

Never ones to stick around for long though; Sunday Keith and I were off to Revelstoke to visit his family and my soon to be in-laws and of course to do some riding. The trails in Revelstoke are so fun that we decided to shift my rest day to Tuesday to get in some more trails. So Fun! After Monday night at home, enough time to give our cats a little TLC, we were back on the road Tuesday. This time to Penticton to visit the Bike Barn and catch up with that crew. After a delicious meal and good company at the Prowse’s we were again back on the road headed home. This time to stay for a couple days!

Training resumed again on Wednesday. Saturday lent itself to course flagging and a ride at Sun Peaks. Monday Matt arrived from NB and since then we have all fallen into our pre race routines. The Nationals course will be very challenging. The women are currently scheduled for 5 laps which will amount to a sub 2 hr race (hopefully) with approx 1500m of climbing. Many of the climbs are on the steeper side. There are also several grass sections and rooty descents. Once the course is fully constructed it should have very nice flow and provide a good challenge to all those seeking the National Champion title or personal best performances.

World Cups, Engagements and Girls on Big Bikes

Almost three weeks have passed with scant thought put into this blog. It has actually been a pretty busy time however. Following the Norba at Mt. Snow. Matt and I headed back to Karen and Matt’s for a couple days before heading to the World Cup in Mont. St. Anne, Qu. The weather in New Hampshire definitely made a turn for the better and we enjoyed sunshine before driving the 5hr drive to Quebec almost directly north of us.

The WC race was Sunday so we still had a lot of time to prepare and ride the slightly altered course. Containing most of the course’s trademark sections I was quickly feeling at home. After last weekend’s blow up, this weekend I was going to try to pace better. The race got off to a good start. I had a decent call up and remained in the top 40 through the start lap, loosing a couple spots before the climb, only to regain them when it steepened. The first lap went well, but I didn’t feel the fire I had the previous week. Lap two I had a crash and then lost several spots as I skidded into a fence, my brake lever having adjusted so they were hitting the bar. I got them dialed tight again and was off to regain spots keeping pacing in mind. The pacing worked as far as feeling great at the end, but at that point I also realized I had left too much in the bag. On my fifth and final lap I brought my consistent lap times down 45secs from the previous lap and found myself wishing for another lap so I could reel in the women I had seen in front of me on the last switch back climb. Overall I felt it was a good consistent performance finishing in 24th, but not demonstrative of my true form. My friend Karen the Super mom raced really well finishing 20th with Canadian Marie Helene Premont soundly beating the almost unbeatable Gunn Rita Dahle Flesja.

Mom and Dad had come up to spend the World Cup weekend with me and as always provided great support on the course and helped me to the airport the next morning (where all 6 Co2s were removed from my bike box before they jammed the rest of my too many belongings back into my cardboard box.) 14hrs of travel later I was stepping off a plane in Jeans into the sweltering 40 degree dry heat of Kamloops BC. Keith was there to meet me after 1.5 months apart. Despite the intense heat it was sure good to be home. We immediately headed for an air-conditioned restaurant. Later we set up a mattress on the back deck trying to avoid the heat even a ground floor house collects. Keith asked me to marry him that night and I gladly accepted. So it’s official, we’re engaged!

Although back at home my life was not to slow down. The next day we drove to Vancouver for Norco night with John Henry’s Pedal and Pints Women’s night ride. It was a very impressive event. With over 250 members the majority of which are female these rides provide the biggest group mtb – let alone women’s group ride I’ve ever seen. Around 60 women showed up ready to ride. Norco was there with a fleet of Demo Fluids to try out. We broke into a couple ability and ride style groups, each with 1-3 ride leaders. I chose one of the groups riding up the mountain and then down Ned’s where as others shuttled up Seymour to do some of the longer runs. They were fun and well organized rides which I recommend to any woman looking to meet other women riders and get to know the North shore trails. Hey you even have immediate beer buddies. Unfortunately Keith had to work the next day, so at 8:30 pm we were headed back to Kamloops pulling in just before 1:00 am.

I got back to Training while Keith finished up his last days of work at the School until his summer holidays officially began.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Short Track Mt Snow

Having bonked hard the day before I wasn’t sure what my legs would have to offer today. We were off at 2:30 and again I was fighting my way through traffic. The field stayed together for a lap, but I was near the back when a split off the front occurred. Each lap I would move up a couple spots moving from one group to another until finally I hit the first chasers. The gap to the top 11 was big and I had no one left to help me move up. I maintained to the lead group for several laps then there were 3 laps to go and they started attacking and the gap grew. Knowing I was now racing the girls behind me and that I had been out front the last four laps I sat in on a wheel for a lap and then went hard again for the last two laps to come in 12th. I had to be pleased with this, capping off a weekend of solid results.

New Hampshire: Live free or die

I’m now back in Campton, NH after a great weekend of racing at Mt. Snow Vermont. I have now completed my first mechanical free Norba!! And it was tons of fun. In keeping with Norba style we did 3 laps of a longer loop. There was a lot of climbing snaking in and out of singletrack with a lengthy and challenging singletrack climb over slick rocks. We then descended the rock and root strewn trail back to the base. I haven’t been on a descent that rough in a while and first time through felt like I was bouncing all over the place. After letting some tire pressure out and setting my fork to 5 inches I was feeling much better.

Saturday was warm. As we lined up to race at three the showers that had held off all day started to fall, but it was short lived and the course remained mostly dry. On the first lap I focused on fighting through traffic and made it up to the top ten. I knew there were still girls ahead of me that I couldn’t see so I kept trying to get as far up as I could. I felt good and was able to get by a bunch of women on the descent. When I came through the start at the end of lap 1 with Alison on my wheel I realized I was in 3rd! I was being told Mary M had 1:30 on us, but could see Katrina Nash (Hanusova) ahead and set my sights on reeling her in. I passed her just after the first climb and kept pushing to the top and getting a clean run down the descent. Going into the final lap I was still in 2nd with Alison Sydor and Shonny Vanlandingham in contact. I’m pretty sure Willow and Heather were just a couple seconds off. Shonny went to the front on the climb and I held her wheel. About half way up Alison passed us on a technical climb I had messed up and Shonny went with her. This was about the time I started seeing stars and my legs went from hero to zero. Girls started passing me depressingly fast and I just had to convince myself to keep spinning. By the top of the climb I was in 9th and Jimena and I took turns leading the descent which was a little sketchy when seen through blurred vision. She was able to pull away after the last woods and I came in 9th. Still a great result, but leaving me with the feeling that a little better pacing could have seen me on the podium.

I definitely want to do more Norbas in the future. The depth of the fields are excellent and the circuit is very fun and friendly.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hiking Welsh Dickey

Matt and I have now been in New Hampshire staying with Karen Dewolfe, her baby Eva and husband Matt for a couple days. Friday we all felt in need of a little break from riding so decided to hike Welsh Dickey. Living right in the White Mountains we are surrounded by amazing scenery and could walk 10 min from their home to the trail head. The hike took about 3hrs and we managed to miss the rain cloud coming over the hill in this pic. The granite rock covering the tops of the mountains allowed for some great views over the National forest.

Lots of driving ahead

After two weeks of living and travelling together our 4 person maritme travelling crew has gone separate ways. On monday Jon and Ian started their trek back to the Maritimes as Matt and I headed on to new Hampshire. We'll be doing some riding in the White mountains for the next week and a half before heading to the norba at Mt. Snow.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hardwood Hills: Canada Cup 3

Another great weekend of racing.

The normal group of Canada Cup girls got lucky this weekend, having the opportunity to race two of Canada’s best mountain bikers Kiara Bisaro and Marie-Helene Premont. Faster racers always bring another dynamic to the race and help the regulars reach for greater racing potential. This weekend I was hoping to go hard first lap and put some distance between me and my competitors as I did last week. But as I said faster riders change race dynamics. The start was hard and I found myself in a position I wasn’t happy with, trying to bridge a gap to catch the faster starters. I was able to do it before the single track and entered the woods with only Marie and Kiara in front of me (as memory serves;-).
The course was a lot of fun. We twisted through pine forests and over undulating terrain. I went out hard and found myself riding with Kiara with Mical 10-15 seconds off of us; A little too close for comfort. I knew my strength was in the first half off the race so whenever I got the chance to lead I went to the front and hammered. But today was not the day. Mical was not to be dropped, nor Kiara. Marie had been putting about 30-45 seconds into us a lap. Midway lap 3 was my undoing. Kiara got by me first on a climb while I refueled and I didn’t immediately try to cover the move. She opened a good gap, but I was still in third. Then was the sound it’s always tough to hear late in a race, the sound of your competition breathing hard down your neck. You know the attack is coming soon. Mical attacked on an open stretch between two sections of single track. I tried to follow, but my legs didn’t want to respond. From then on it was all about how fast I could motivate myself to go. Unfortunately, not hard enough. I lost gobs of time that last lap by giving into my body’s desire to slow down. I did hold on to 4th but lost too much time. Mical went on to catch Kiara and finish 2nd only 2:30 off Marie Helene. A very impressive ride. Jaqulin Mourao of Brazil finished 5th.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Mont Tremblant, Canada Cup #2

Matt Hadley and I left Bromont on Monday and headed to Tremblant for the second stop on the Canada Cup circuit. There, we were hooking up with a couple more maritime mountain bikers to spend the week in a Cabin on Lake Dufour. We spent our time getting to know the area better, giving our bikes some TLC after the Bromont mudfest, eating, movie watching… and for me, dialing in my descending speed so as not to be scooped for the win twice in a row.

The weather improved continuously showering us with sunshine rather than raindrops. For once it looked like we would have a dry race at Tremblant! The course was in good shape, pretty much the same as last year with lots of single track but a more substantial climb than last weekend. Friday night saw some showers, but the morning brought the sun and temperatures in the low to mid 20’s. The women were slotted for 4 laps and I was ready to go. Off the start I fell back to 5th, but after about 500m the girls looked like they were settling into a pace so I took that opportunity to attack and go off the front. Getting into the single track first was going to be crucial to success and I wanted it badly. I drove hard on the first lap making as much use of my fitness as possible. The course was slick after the rain and early races, but I was able to make out alright. By lap two I had opened 2 min on second place, but I new I had to continue racing scared to win. The course was a blast with all the singletrack and hammer climbs and I was able to maintain my lead to the finish. Mical rode in 1:30 after and then Karen Dewolfe at 5.17 followed in a close battle by Amanda Sin and Jean-ann Mckirdy. It felt great to get the win and although I wasn’t able to move into the leader’s jersey, I have that motivation to spur me on next weekend. It should be a good battle!

My Norco Teammate Roddi Lega finished 7th in the men’s field, with Hadley coming in 9th. In the DH Norco rider Justin Brown had a wicked ride finishing 4th. My Bro and friend Goss after finishing 2nd and 1st at Bromont both had crashes this weekend and finished 10th and 5th respectively. Still pretty sweet.

After spending a couple hours at the complimentary spa today it is with high spirits we head to Hardwood Hills tomorrow. We’re planning to go the scenic route to Barrie, stopping for a hike at Camp Fortune.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

CANADA CUP #1 Bromont Qu

Let the racing begin

As per usual for May, cycling enthusiasts were met with lots of rain upon arrival in Quebec. I got in Thursday and was able to do a couple loops of the course. A short, but technical loop which had us traversing off camber hills, rocks and roots, not to mention streams. The well-known rock garden was no longer a feature on the Bromont course having been bulldozed this year. Rain continued to fall almost constantly so that by race day the course was more of a river and the stream crossing a bike and human engulfing pit.

The women got off to a fast start to our 5 lap course. Starting on pavement we climbed a km or so up dirt and into the first of many single track sections. Mical Dyck took the lead from the start with two women separating us. By half way up the climb I had moved to the front and was climbing away from the pack. I had enough of a gap by the crest I felt confident in my ability to lead the entire race. Perhaps this overconfidence led to my eventual third place finish. I rode the single track well, but not fast enough as by the end of lap 1 returning racing superstar Karen Dewolfe had caught me with Mical not far behind. The race would follow this pattern for 3-4 laps with me getting a gap on the climb and Mical and Karen catching me by the last single track. By lap 4 I think we were all down to metal on our brakes which led to some kamakazi style descending. Karen passed me mid lap 4. I then crashed and Mical who had been right on my wheel got by. We started the 5th lap together, but by mid lap gaps were starting to form as first Karen got away and then Mical. Mical went on to catch Karen and win her first Canada cup by 23 seconds. I rode in 1min 02 off Mical for what was a really solid start to the race season for us all.

It’s good to be back riding eastern trails and I look forward to bringing my descending speed up over the next couple of weeks.

Off to Tremblant tomorrow. A plus tard.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Getting our Just Desserts

Since it’ll be our last weekend together before I head off for the Eastern Canada Cups and Norbas Keith and I figured we might as well do a 6hr team relay. Every year Salmon Arm hosts the Salty Dog and all sorts of cycling enthusiasts of various ages show up.

After a couple bad race starts I decided my focus would be getting in a solid start. At 10:00 I parked myself on the front line between two pro men. We punched it up the first fire road, but my lack of warm up was quickly apparent. After climbing through a bunch of punchy single track I was able to turn my legs around and reel in most of the guys who had gotten ahead. I entered the woods and the super long single-track in 5th position. The trails were really fun and flowy and before long I was back at the start. Our plan was to start with 2 laps each and then go to single laps. I guess I was a bit zealous that first lap trying to keep up to the boys and my legs were feeling it 2nd lap but we maintained position. Back at the start Keith was ready to punch it and took over for 2 consistently fast laps. Always coming through the pit with a big smile as the course ended with a descent.

4 laps down and about 2hr 40 into the race we decided to mix things up by switching over to my EXC 1.0 FS from our hardtails. After my legs stopped feeling like crap I was able to get back into rhythm again climbing consistently. I wasn’t prepared for how different the descent would feel on a dually. Oh my god! It felt good. The bike was totally dialed for the course and I no longer needed to work to find my descending speed. To stay in a rhythm I headed out for another lap rather than trading off after one. Keith then hoped on my bike and headed out for 2. His first words when he came through the pit area was “This bike is fast!”. So it wasn’t just my perception.

Keith finished his second lap and our 8th with the overall race lead by a couple seconds. We had time for one more so I was off. This time I had done a spin between laps and was feeling way better. I had a really fun last lap and was able to hold onto the overall by a couple seconds. Bryan Cooke (Canmore Bicycle Café owner) Did it solo and finished 9 laps in 6hrs, less than a minute off us! Pretty wicked ride.

I think everyone had a great time. The mellow race atmosphere was fun and the Apple pie prizes Superb!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Norba #1 - A Mixed Weekend

This weekend definitely had its ups and downs. The weather was balmy, the course was fast and fun and the event was huge with good racer numbers and a full tech zone. After being on site for about 2 minutes I already had Randy from Hayes offering to trim my brake cables and then hooking me up with some new pads for my El Caminos. Yeah sponsors Rock!

The course was very undulating with mostly single track climbs and loose rutted descents. We were scheduled to do three laps of the 7 mile course making it a bit shorter than the usual Canada Cup. So you’re thinking, Okay that’s lots of ups, where are the downs? The next day we were lined up for our 12:15 start. I don’t think a single Canadian got a good call up position. I lined up mid pack. Countdown, then the whistle and we were off. Then just as quickly my bike was down with two girls landing on top of it, me still standing and unhurt. I anxiously bent down to grab my bike, eager to get back into the race only to realize that my handle bar was no longer attached to my bike. The Stem bolts had been sheared in half!! 5 seconds into the race and my race goals were stripped away. It was devastating. I wandered around trying to figure out what to do, not being prepared for this. I tried removing the bolts but they were stuck. A friend then led me to her bike. Same Pedals, same Sram XO shifters with a lower seat it could work. As they switched over my race plate I went and asked the commissaire if I could finish the race. The let me in, but I wouldn’t be able to count my result. When I rode through the start 10 mins late I was given lots of encouragement as I set off to redeem myself.

The borrowed bike, although in desperate need of some chain lube worked well for me and by the second half of the course I was beginning to reel in the stragglers. At the end of lap I was probably about 53rd. I continued to pick off women all race, having good legs but going down more than a couple times on the descents until I just started to tripod them. I was able to finish the race in 28th position and with a self timed 1hr58 which would have placed me 15th and only a couple minutes off the top ten. I’d really like to think that with a clean start that is where I would have been. I felt good at the end and capable of more. Our Canadians did well with Alison Sydor grabbing 2nd, Wendy Simms 9th and Mical Dyck 11th.

So although a very disappointing start I have confidence in my fitness. John and Anthony from SRAM & TRUVATIV made my weekend by offering me a new stem and bars when I came looking for a drill to fix my set up. Thanks to them I was able to get my bike up and running for the short track the next day.

But the day was not over yet. That night a group of Canucks headed out for some authentic Mexican cuisine. Mical and I then drove our hotel mate to the airport – a 2hr+ round trip to Los Angeles. Upon arriving back in Ontario at Midnight I realized my helmet and shoes were missing. Had they gone in the wrong bike box and headed to LA? After checking the car and front desk I had to give up my search until morning. In the morning we called Kate – no luck. Well at least we don’t have to drive to LA before the short track. I left my info at the front desk but they hadn’t seen anything. We were just about to head out to the race site when we got a call from security, they had found my stuff!! My luck wasn’t completely horrible after all.

The short track started at 2:30. My legs felt good and I really liked the loop. A couple loose corners, a climb up a 4cross track and a good descent into the final stretch of twisty single-track. Our race would be 20 min+ 3 laps. With a very similar call up to yesterday, this time I lined up at the side. I started cautiously, trying to avoid any mishaps. The first corners were slow and I was at the back eating dust. By the power climb I was able to get past a lot of traffic only to be forced to a stop as we bottle necked into the descent. After that cleared I steadily worked my way up one girl at a time. Having been too timid at the start I never saw the front and settled for 21st. Sydor took the win with Wendy and Mical finishing 11th and 13th respectively.

So it was a mixed weekend. I had some really tough luck in the XC, but I know I’m strong just without the results to show. The most feel good part of the weekend was definitely the support I received from Norco Sponsors SRAM, Truvativ and Hayes and that I did push on to complete the XC race even though it wouldn’t count for more than my own desire to finish it. It was a fabulous event and hopefully at my next big event I will be able to put everything together for that great ride.

On the move again

Moving is beginning to seem a hobby for Keith and I. The last week of April; along with ending my job at the Chase Café, adopting another stray cat –who turned out to be pregnant and afraid of kitty litter - and doing a bike race I also began to pack up our belongings from our too small basement suite. After Sunday’s race there was already a good stack of boxes in the Kitchen and by Monday evening the place was completely cleaned, boxed up and we were ready for the Trek to Kamloops. By 8:00 I was trashed, but we were in our new home. A spacious 2 bedroom with a pool and a central trail location. As always seems to be the case I have not yet fully unpacked before I started packing for a race trip. A quick weekend trip to California for the Norba Series opener.

Merrit Cow Trail Classic

BC Cup # 1 2006
Sunday April 30th marked the beginning of the BC cup circuit. Being one of few local interior events I really wanted to be there. Lucky for me and the other 160 competitors as it was an awesome course. At 10:30 we all lined up for 2 laps of the 90% sinlgetrack loop (pro men 2.5 loops). There was a prime for the fastest lap so all challengers were ready to pin it from the gun.

The women’s fiels saw a resurgence in numbers from last year containing 13 women and a lot of newer faces. The men’s field contained about 20 guys with some good depth being presented by Ricky Federeau, Brendan Macintosh, Matt Martindale and Neal Kindree. I decided to race my Norco FS1.0 after 2 years on a hardtail. I was able to push hard on the single track climbs easily winding through the trees and it begged me to push it on the descents. Ricky and I were able to capture the fastest lap primes. While I was able to ride at the front all day, the men switched it up with Neal and Brendan duking it out for the win after dropping Ricky and Matt. In the women’s filed a battle was being fought for 2nd place between Meghan Kindree and Leah Guloien with Meghan coming out of this one on top. Kerry Van Kooy was also in the mix finishing first in the Masters 30-39 category and with a time good for 4th in the Elite field.

Cheers to the Merrit race organizers for a fun and smoothly run event.

Elite Female
Rank UCI #: Last Name First Name Club/Team/Business: Time
1 Can19800930 Pendrel Catharine Norco Factory Team 2:00:55
2 CAN19850215 Kindree Meghan 2:12:19
3 CAN19810723 Guloien Leah 2:12:39
4 CAN19760709 Clements Lesley Marin Bikes 2:17:39
5 CAN19840315 Eagleston Dustin Kelowna Cycle 2:22:59
6 CAN19710127 Butler Amanda Team Coastal 2:25:36

Elite Male
Rank UCI #: Last Name First Name Club/Team/Business: Time
1 Can19870111 Kindree Neal Kona/Les Gets Factory/ Smith/ Vetta/ 2:19:38
2 CAN19781030 MacIntosh Brendan Riders Cycles/Trek 2:21:50
3 Can19811008 Federau Ricky TEAMRACE.COM 2:24:22
4 CAN19840731 Widmer Stefan Sugoi Factory Team 2:28:04
5 CAN10840624 Richey Craig Cove Bikes 2:29:45
6 CAN19781013 Blair Jeff 2:32:56
7 CAN19810617 Skinner Thomas Sugoi Factory Team/Giant Bicycles 2:33:24

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Race Report: Sea Otter Classic

After 27 days of rain in Montetery california, the Sea Otter Classic was set to begin. Boasting one of the strongest fields in recent years the cross country pro fields lined up to race with 69 women and 104 men. The women’s field contained reigning World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa of Norway and three time former World Champion,Canadian Alison Sydor as well as numerous National champions. Gunn-Rita went on to win 3 of the 4 events with American National Champion Mary McConneloug winning the time trial.

Day 1 was the Super cross country, an event unique to Sea Otter which involves racing for approximately 60 minutes on a course that is both off road and on. Unfortunately I was caught behind a crash in the first 5 meters losing contact with the main field and entering the single track in about 63 position. I was very pleased to be able to work my way up to 23rd by the end of the race.
Day 2 saw us churning up the mud on a sub 5min off road time trial loop. In this event I was able to move up to 19th, seconds from the top 10.
Day 3 presented the muddiest short track I have ever seen. Riders pushed through repeated laps of a 2 mile course fighting ever increasing mud holes which would swallow wheels and send riders superman style into the mud. This event was a big crowd pleaser! As did many, I succumbed to the mud finishing 25th.
Day 4 was the cross country event. For all riders this event was the most important and would allow the top 15 to earn points for their country and thereby help determine the size of our 2008 Olympic team. The race involved 2 laps of a 19 mile circuit traversing the rolling terrain surrounding the Laguna Seca race way. The race got off to a fast start and I was able to ride comfortably in the top 10 for the first 2+hrs of the race. At some point after this improper hydration began to take its toll and I slipped to 15th position with three riders less than 1 minute up. Overall it was a very positive race and strong start to the season for me.

Top female Canadian results came from Olympians Kiara Bisaro and Alison Sydor, both of BC, respectively finishing 4th and 5th overall.

Thanks to the Chase Café for the time off work as well as to Norco bikes for the great ride. I really love my bike!

For more information on this event visit:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Big week

22hrs of riding +1 race + 1 new bike + 1 photo shoot + 1 factory tour +1 St Paddy’s Potluck = 1 kick ass week

Last Sunday Keith and I left the house at 5:00 am and headed to Vancouver. After passing through a 25 degree temperature change (Coquihalla -19) we arrived in a Sunny Fort Langley in time to sign up for a spring series road race. I joined the B group and set off on the 11 lap, 80km race. The first couple accelerations out of the corners were tough, but eventually I got my race on and started situating myself better in the 60+ strong group.

The climbs were fast & hard, but easier than the grunt I had expected. After the third or fourth lap I found myself in a very male group. The first couple laps saw attacks off the front, but unless the attack group was really committed and organized it wasn’t going to work. I chased down some breaks on the first laps, but quickly saw they weren’t going anywhere. On lap 4 a commuter refused to stop for the flaggers and as we came off the descent into a 90 degree turn two riders swerved to avoid him and went down. Common People!!

I didn’t quite have the punch last time up the climb to finish super strong. But can claim to be the only female to finish the entire race in the field. Averaging close to 40km on a hilly course wasn’t so bad either.

After the race a bunch of us headed down for lunch at Wendell’s coffee ?? including mtber’s Sandra Walter and Jean Ann Mckirdy. Yeah race season has begun.

Monday we headed to Norco for a factory tour. It’s a pretty impressive set up. You have no idea how many minds go into designing & distributing bikes…not to mention tons of other wicked products. Norco is a pretty well oiled machine. After getting to meet a lot of the staff and picking up one of my new rides .. a sweet EXC 1.0FS we did a photo shoot. Luckily unlike the family portraits my mum requested at Christmas the Norco crew didn’t try to apply blush to my cheeks or fluff my hair! Just a couple shots of me hanging out with my new ride.

Next stop: Tswassen Ferries and Victoria
In Vic we crashed with our friends Brendan and Amanda. My Bro lives 1 block away and in between there was a coffee shop and bakery. Sweet set up for the week. We were pretty excited to be back in Vic and out of our small basement suite. A whole week of no work and no having to crawl over a bike to get to our closet or dresser!

During the week I got in tons of road and mountain bike rides. The EXC 1.0FS is a super fun bike I would recommend to anyone. I had so much fun riping up the trails at the dump and even more ripping down -new to me fun trails lumpy pants and Jelly Roll. I joined Brendan for a road ride with Pacificsport and got a chance to revisit Shawnigan lake and remember what it's like to do a rainy Victoria ride The next day I hooked up with Trish Sinclair for another fun mtb ride.

Friday night my bro had a potluck which brought out some old friends and a lot of new fun people too. My dad arrived in town on business and joined our crew. So this, combined with lots of coffee shop visits with friends & my coach made for a wicked week. I do kinda miss the place.

Sunday :Unfortunately I seem to have picked up a cold along the way. Argh, but am hoping it won’t turn into much. Doing my final 2 hrs of riding on the mainland I completed the 22 hr week. It was sunny and beautiful and perhaps we were a bit reluctant to leave, but our cat Isaa was waiting for us back in Chase. Not to mention a couple workplaces.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winter rides

There’s nothing like a sunny day to make you passionate about cycling. It is February, but it has been hovering between +3 to +8. The daylight hours are lengthening and we are receiving brilliant sunshine during the day.
From our basement suite windows you can’t always tell what kind of day it will be. As gray light falls through the windows it would be easy to stick inside on the computer or reading a book. Thankfully cycling draws me outside into the weather eachday. Riding along the Shuswap lake, the sun emerges and sparkles off the water. The grass along the lake is greening while the hills surrounding us are powdered with fresh white snow. It is amazing and something best appreciated from the seat of a bike.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lots of Loppet - Telemark

Well I’ve now competed in my first ski race; both Classic and Skate and the first race of the 06 season. This weekend Telemark nordic centre just outside Kelowna BC hosted a pursuit style loppet. Keith and I left Chase just before 6:00 am in a blizzard and drove to Kelowna. After arrival we headed out for a scant warm up and wax check. Man were we in trouble. People we’re flying by us on the uphill as we struggled to find grip. (Did I mention I now have 7 classic skis under my belt). We rewaxed and headed to the start line.

We lined up for the mass start. Racers ranged in age from 14-69. I gladly parked myself at the back of the pack and waited to see how the pandamonium would unfold. After the GO and a whooping cheer from the racers we were off. I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be last afterall and worked my way up through the crowd on the first climb. Those who had chosen the wrong wax were off to the side scrapping the snow from their skiis. I soon realized that grip wasn’t a problem. I'd just run up the hills letting snow stick to my skiis for grip and when I got to the top the snow would slide off allowing me to glide again. (I’m sure a good skier is shudderring right now). Basically I think I ended up running 10km with about 5km of glide. I had a hoot on the downhills taking the inside line and going into full tuck past the snowplowers. My brashness only back fired once when I slid out and went down. There were tons of hills.

We switched to skate skiis at the 15 km mark. My skiis felt a bit slow, but I reeled in a couple people and was passed by the fresh relay racers. I was becoming severly dehydrated and the word Sufferfest occupied my mind, but about 5 km from the finish i started feeling good and powerful and was able to pass the girl in front of me. Then was passed by the girl behind me. Ha that’s racing. Unfortunately my technique didn't allow me to keep up with her and she beat me to the finish line by about 10-20ft.

The fastest women in my age group gave me a solid whooping, but I’d like to think I held my own. The total 30km took 2hr 17, not very fast conditions. My ego is happy to report that only 1 woman 50+ was able to gloat at their victory. But anyone who saw me race and thought “there’s no way someone with that technique should be beating me” will be pleased to know I am incredibly sore today.

Happy Trails

Monday, January 23, 2006

This year I'm psyched to be racing with the Norco Factory Team. I can't wait to hop on my new Mtn. bikes. You can check out their website at

I'll be racing the Canada Cup Circuit, a few Norbas and hopefully a couple other international races.

At the moment I'm honing my skills at both classic and skate skiing. I'll be doing my first ski race ever this weekend. eek! I just hope the 70 year women don't get too much enjoyment from seeing me suffer.

Well, I'm finally making an attempt to become more technologically advanced.... (dun dun dunn)

I'll be posting my race reports and other fun stuff here so you can follow along with my season as it speeds along:)