Saturday, March 31, 2007

Share in the fun

Our Nissan Quest Rental car Rocks!
A very crowded hotel room. Ricky, you're missing out!!! 4 people, 4 bikes, 4 boxes oh yeah

The Saguaro Cactus is a constant companion out here.

NMBS #1 Arizona - Race update

Picture by Rob Jones at Canadian Cyclist
We are racing near Fountain Hills Arizona. The venue is placed within an old growth Saguaro Cactus forest. Many of the Cactus surrounding us at any point during the races are hundreds of years old. The weather is clear skies and a gentle breeze which helps keep riding comfortable.

Races got underway with the Pro men at 12:15. The top ten were sent at 1 min intervals starting with last year’s Norba series winner JHK. It was a fast 6 mile (~10km) loop with lots of turns and undulating terrain. JHK (Sub –gary) held the lead the entire time with a smoking 19 min 44.1. Adam Craig (Giant) followed in 2nd at 9 secs back and Ross Schnell (Trek) Rounded out the top 3. 4th and 5th places went to the U23 riders Sam Schultz (Sub-Gary) and Sam Jurekovitch (USA). Sam S “The course was really fun…there was a limit to how fast you could go ...but it was really fun”. Matt Hadley was the only Canadian racing and finished in 23rd. Kabush, Talousse, Sneddon, McGrath, Plaxton, Legga, Evan Sherman and Tim Heemskerke will be racing this weekend,s cross country but opted out on the TT.

The women followed the men and it was Luna’s Georgia Gould that claimed top spot with a very fast time of 22.47.5 followed by teammate Katrina Nash at 23.07. Jenna Zander (Bear Naked Cannondale) claimed her first norba podium position finishing 3rd edging out Kelli Emmet of Giant by 2 seconds. Mical Dyck (Trek) was the top Canadian in 8th with Melanie Mcquaid finishing 10th. Dyck was happy with her ride and glad to get a chance to ride the terrain at speed before the xc race. The tT overlapped sections of the xc course. Many of the top women also chose to skip the TT. Mary Mcconeloug is here and excited to race, Alison Sydor, Heather Irmiger, Koerber, Shonny..who finished just outside the top 10 in11th with a time of 24.35 will go up against other canadians Wendy Simms (Kona-les Gets), Pendrel and Sinclair.

The Short Track starts tomorrow in downtown Fountain Hills at 7:30 with the women. It will be 20 min +3laps of a short ½ road/1/2 off road loop. There is a huge fountain that shoots Geyser like up from a lake that will be our starting point. Gould & nash and Kabush & JHK will be tomorrow’s favorites. Men go after the women at 8pm.

Women have the xc course to themselves Sunday at 1:00. It is a fun, twisty 16.05 km loop with no significant climbing, just a lot of pedaling through undulating terrain. Heat and Cacti could be the determining factor in many riders races. Gould fresh off a Pan am Champ and TT win will be a favorite as will Mary Mac.

The Men go at 3:30. Sunday is supposed to be the hottest day of the week. I’m sure JHK will be the fav.

Spring has Sprung and I’m headed for more heat

Today as I leave Kamloops for Phoenix Arizona and the first stop on the NMBS (Norba) circuit, Kamloops is the hotspot of BC at 15 degrees. We have been teased for the last month or so with warm days followed by cold systems and fresh snow fall, iced windshields and seemingly untouchable trails. Today all but one ride area in Kamloops is good to go.

This weekend’s race will be in the Fountain Hills area outside Scottsdale Arizona. There is a 6km TT Friday, but I’m planning to skip it to give it all in the next two races. The Short Track is slotted for 7:30 Saturday night in downtown Scottsdale. It should be interesting. 1 lap is supposed to be 1 min or less as we loop off and on pavement. It will no doubt be fast and painful and my first real chance to see how the legs are going to react to racing. Sunday we race the xc. Women are slotted for 3 laps at prime time heat 1:00…and it is supposed to be a hot 98 degrees F. So that’s 30 something - closer to 40 for us? We get the course all to ourselves with the men racing at 3:30.

I’m looking forward to seeing my race buddies again and seeing how my form is this year. Unfortunately I won’t be on a new bike at this race as we wait for sponsor product to trickle in, but my last year’s HT has a new drive train on it and is pedaling happily.

Flowt : New bike shop opens in Revelstoke

My friend Brendan and his wife Amanda recently moved to Revelstoke. After getting over the initial shock that there was so much snow this year their Jack Russel could hop over the 7ft fence surrounding their yard, they decided not only to stay, but to follow a dream of having their own bike shop. They are two wonderful people and are going to be carrying some good lines so definitely stop by and Check them out. Opening Day is April 1st. Revelstoke also has some of the best XC trails I’ve ridden so make sure to take your xc bike and get a trail map of Macpherson…well maybe wait till May for the Snow to clear.

Spring Break

Ahh...looks like spring on the coast....this was the day I road raced. There were posted road flooded signs as we entered armstrong

With me back to 3 days a week of work and Keith on Spring break it was a good time for us to get away and hopefully get in some mtb miles. Scanning forecasts around the province we decided to start our 4 day trip in Penticton. Penticton has to be one of the lesser discovered riding mecas in BC. It has both phenomenal road and mtb riding. We were on a mission for trails though and got 7hrs in over 2 days there. Next time your in the area stop at the Bike Barn and ask them where to find a trail called Rebellion. You won’t be disappointed. We stayed with the Prowses, who were once again amazingly hospitable and a great example of how to live life as they continually pursue their passions – be it bicycles, pottery, music or starting their own vineyard.

It would have been easy to stay in Penticton longer, but I was scheduled to be at Norco Tuesday morning. So Sunday night we headed to Van and crashed a night at my brothers place. Monday morning Keith and I grabbed breakfast at Tommy’s in North Van where they play mtb videos not stop on the TV. From there we did a couple errands and then joined up with my coach Dan for a “recovery” wet/sloppy mtb ride in the endowment lands near UBC. A couple coffee shops later and it was Dinner time. We hooked up with our friends Jen and Chris and my brother Geoff and went out for a ridiculously cheap Sushi dinner at Shabushen. We ordered together and got a great tasty spread for $6.50 each –totally the way to go with Sushi.

Tuesday it was off to Norco in the morning to pick up our new road bikes and take a sneak peak at my new mtbs. I got to hang out briefly with our team manager Mark before he rushed off to another meeting, but not before hooking me up with some parts to make sure I was ready for my first race. Stopping by Norco always helps get me pumped for the season. There’s nothing like having a great crew of people who believe in you to make you want to go fast for them.

Keith behind the wheel on our quick, but great bike trip

Am I crazy?
So Saturday was supposed to be a decent day in Kamloops, but I had a tough work out scheduled and a brand new road bike –which is awesome by the way - Very smooth comfortable ride, flawless shifting and great handling. The forecast called for an ugly day in Vancouver, but Keith was game to head down with me for the spring series race. It was in Armstrong so only a 3 hr drive which meant a reasonable 6:00 wakeup. To use an expression my mother dislikes “It was piss pouring rain” down there. Absolutely disgusting, but there were tons of people out and ready to race. It was a pretty good loop and good field size and I was soon getting the hang of road racing again. On lap 4 I flatted though and was forced to ride slowly soaking wet and hoping keith might come by with a wheel. After a long time I was able to get it fixed and hop back in with the group, but one lap down. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to warm up again, but I was having fun so bargained with myself for just one lap more everytime I went through the start finish. The problem with missing out on a lap though means that you don’t really feel like you can try anything cause you’d be a chump. Knowing that I couldn’t honestly contest the finish I pulled the plug on lap 8. I had gotten my required intensity for the day and felt I’d be better off staying healthy ie; getting out of the rain and back to Kamloops in time to do a hike and scout out trail conditions on our favorite in-town ride area, Mt. Dufferin. We did just that and this time didn’t hit a dreaded snowstorm coming out of Merrit meaning we weren’t to be greeted with fresh snow upon arrival in Kamloops.

My friend Jen ended up 6th in the race. She hasn’t finished outside the top 6 in the b fiels at the spring series races and is establishing herself as the woman to beat on the road in BC

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Women's Mtb group Ride in Kamloops

Every Tuesday starting in April at 5:30 I’ll be at the Home Depot Gate to Kenna Cartwright ready to go riding! So if you’re a women and you live in Kamloops – or are passing through - please come out and join me!

The ride will be a moderate pace with breaks and a great chance for local women to get to know some more ride buddies, have fun and have some extra motivation to get out after work.

Depending on trail conditions, daylight and desire we might hit trails on Kenna Cartwright, Peterson, Aberdeen or Batchelor.

Hope to see you there

Easiest tax season ever!

H&R Block signed on this year as one of the Canadian National Cycling team sponsors. A couple weeks ago I received a letter saying they’d do my taxes for free! Pretty sweet. So today I swung by the local branch in Kamloops and about 10 minutes later my taxes were done. So if you need to get your taxes done take them to H&R Block and let them know I sent you! You even get $10 for each person you refer.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Got my plane tickets

4 weeks to go to my first race. Norba #1 will be Mar 31/Apr 1 near Phoenix Arizona. Everything’s all booked and I’ll be meeting up with Mical Dyck, Matt Hadley and new comer Joele Guynup (USA) for the weekend of racing.
Got out for my first mtb ride on real trails yesterday and it felt sooo good. Still a bit snow covered, but enough to get a taste and some of the feel back. Can’t wait for my new bikes. The Norco EXCs just feel sooo good and we’ve got some great sponsors lined up again next year…Sram (Avid, truvativ), Marzocchi suspension forks, Wtb, DT Swiss, Kenda and sixsixone. Just got my new shoes the other day and they’re wicked.

Pros- they’ve totally revamped the stingers giving them a stiffer sole, deeper tread pattern and removable toe cleats. They’ve also added a buckle strap on top – nothing worse then having your foot move around when you go to stomp on the pedals. All the changes with the newer flashier, sexier shoe and they’ve made a great affordable product even better. Oh yeah, and they're crazy light. You can check them out here:
Also check out there gloves for some good deals.

So what else is planned? May 20th there is a BC cup right in Kamloops on Mt Dufferin. Should be sweet. Then the next day I’m off to Europe for three weeks. I’ll be meeting up with Sandra Walter who’s doing the race season in Switzerland. The weekend after I arrive we’ll be racing the World Cup in Germany, then it is a week off to train and check out some new rides…maybe hit an Austrian Cup and then to Champrey Switzerland for another World Cup. I’m so Psyched. It’s going to be an awesome trip.

My coworker gets back from NZ tomorrow so it’s back to three days a week. This couldn’t come sooner as I’ve been feeling run down and training is starting to suffer. I work until May and then it’s full time focus on riding. A good thing too with all the trips planned for this year.

The Hip

The tragically hip came to town in January and Keith and I went to check it out. The opening band was kinda fun, The Sadies – folky and funky – but better seen in a small pub rather than a big arena. The Hip on the other hand was awesome in a big venue. They had so much sound and presence.

Catching up

So after the wedding it was back to work for a couple days- slaves to having an income for at least ½ the year! But then it was Christmas and after a fun couple of days in Revelstoke with the Wilson’s and lots of skiing and baking we were off to Rossland in 30 cm of fresh powder to do some DH skiing at Red Mountain. We stayed at the Ram’s Head inn. It’s a super nice log inn with great inn keepers and some fantastic breakfast. The common area was beautiful with a warm rustic feel enhanced by the large stone fireplace. The hill was great with the new snow and we got in 4 days of DH skiing and a couple xc skis to boot.

Our friends Eric and Kathleen had just moved to town, some other east coast friends were there visiting them and my bro arrived on New years so we got in lots of visiting too. New Years we spent a full day on Red and Granite mountain then it was hot tubing and champagne to bring in the new year.

We headed back to Revelstoke to pick up our cats on the way home and got snowed in until 3:30 the next day….not too bad as it meant I got to miss a day of work! I seem to have picked up a bug though which got me sick for a couple weeks.