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