Sunday, April 29, 2007


Here are a couple pics so you can envision the course. Today was hot and sunny again with a pretty good wind. Mical and I woke up at 7:30...only 7hrs till race time!!! The waiting begins. Aftyer breakfast and reading outside for a bit so the guys could get more beauty sleep we passed the morning prepping for the race, but mostly watching tV or reading.
My legs weren't feeling too bad after yesterday's 30 min at max. I lined up beside Mical, the gun went off, a couple seconds later Mical and Katerina and a couple girls were down in a crash. My start went okay though and I was quickly top ten. I found a good wheel to follow in Jen Smith, but noticed she was slower on the climbs and corners so fitrst descent climb I got by her. I was climbing strong and able to reel in a couple girls. Sitting about 8th I followed a couple girls down the descent, but again needed to get by. At one point I was up to 5th, but Katerina came back from her crash and all the pulling I had been doing for other girls along the flats were draining me so when 3 girls tried to pass me I wasn't able to respond for long. By end of lap one I was back to 9th and could see Mical coming up behind me. She bridged up to me on a descent and we then took turns pulling. I pulled the climbs and shge the flats and we were hauling. We were seconds away from catching Luna Chix Chloe Foresman when we crossed the line in 9th for Mical and 10th for me.
I was happy with my race. It gave me confidence on my new bike -the Norco Faze -and after tasting top 5 and getting my second xc race in I think I'll be better prepared mentally and physically for next weekend. I think some smarter tactics and a better suffer face can see me in the top 5.
Travel buddies Roddi and Hadley were 13th and 15th respectively. Kabush won a sprint over JHK for 1st. Canadian's Plaxton, Toulouse and Sneddon were 4th,5th and 6th. A good weeekend for the Canucks.
I'm off tomorrow after 1 last Belgian Waffle to Redlands with Trish, Max and Mike to spend the week before Fontana. I guess it's only a 20 min drive from the venue and some nice riding so it should be good.

NMBS 2 Short Track

Saturday was the short track. We got to race at 10:45 which made temperatures nicer. After a good warm up we lined up. Legs felt heavy and slow to warm up, but I was ready to race. My call up was still decent after my 19th place finish in Phoenix and I got off to a pretty good start. Mical was lined up beside me and I saw her miss her pedal off the start, but she was passing me before the first corner and I got to watch how she navigated traffic…a weakness of mine. It was crazy dusty and I just followed the dust cloud knowing my dually would suck up any unexpected bumps that might be hiding in the dust. After the straight we did a hard right up a steep little climb, along a flat, two hairpins and a short fast descent into a left hander. One more right hander through some sand and we were back at the start/finish. Luna and Gary fisher girls were off the front with a chase group involving Wendy and Mical in pursuit. I was chasing the Chase group. All the loosed corners lead to some crashers which defined the race leaders. I had a solid race and finished 14th. My legs felt okay, but not fantastic. Usually I spend a short track making up for a bad start and get to pass a ton of people. This time my start was okay so there was less moving up just a lot of switching up with the girls around me.

I am now ranked 13th in the Short Track Series. I’m looking forward to Fontana a the chance to move into the top 10.

1 NASH, KATERINA 28:41.60 182
2 GOULD, GEORGIA 28:47.89 172
4 KOERBER, WILLOW 29:19.71 155
5 SMITH, JENNIFER 29:28.52 148
6 BLASI, ZEPHANIE 29:29.59 142
7 DYCK, MICAL 29:32.45 137
8 SHERWIN, KATHY 29:44.24 132
9 IRMIGER, HEATHER 29:44.65 127
10 SIMMS, WENDY 29:54.41 122
11 FORSMAN, CHLOE 20 30:10.94 117
12 DANIELSON, KRISTEN 27 30:27.27 114
13 WHITMORE, JAMIE 30:40.74 111
24 Trish Sinclair
31 Christy Love

In the guys race max Plaxton took a convincing win attacking with 3 laps to go. No one wanted to lead the chase and it gave him a safe gap. Kabush, Toulouse and sneddon were all in the chase. Roddi was just after in 13th and Hadley rode a strong race sitting comfortably in 18th until about 20 seconds to go where he went down in a corner, rolled his tire off the rim and got passed by 5+ guys. Bummer

1. Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain-Haywood 29:07.43 2. Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona-LesGets 29:12.12 3. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 29:14.93 4. Barry Wicks (USA) Kona-LesGets 29:19.27 5. Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 29:20.67 6. Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona-LesGets 29:21.64 7. Brent Miller (USA) Kenda/Titus/XFusion MTB Team 29:26.41 8. Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 29:34.10 9. Ross Schnell (USA) Trek 29:41.58 10. Mat Toulouse (Can) Team Maxxis 29:45.59 13. Roddi Lega (Can) United Cycles 30:38.0925. Matt Hadley (Can) Rocky Mountain-Haywood 31:27.97

Today is the XC at 2:45. We’re doing 1.75 laps and it should be hot. Wendy isn’t going to race the xc as she’s still fighting a cold.

Friday, April 27, 2007

California and races to come

Hey Guys, keep an eye on Pedal magazine for race previews and updates from me.

I'm now pretty red in the face from the sun -35 degrees today, but definitely enjoying my time in California. The Santa Barbara airport looked more like a villa with baggage claim and gate entries outside.

My first night I unpacked my bike and quickly found myself by the ocean. The city is covered with bike paths. I spun through Uof C Santa Barbara and have never seen so many cruiser bikes in one place. It was awesome. The University is right on the water and pretty appealing.

I soloed that first night and spent my time catching up on sleep from a busy couple of days. I met up with Matt H and Mical D and we headed the 49 miles North to the race venue in Santa Ynez. matt and I did 2 laps of the course which was brutally windy. After one lap I new my suspension a lot better and took atleast 10 psi out of both my front and rear. The course is very open and not technical although I did blow a couple corners trying to ride into them too hot. The climbing is pretty significant and after by lap 2 I'm feeling pretty good on it.

We're staying in Buelton, about 5 miles away and have now been joined by Roddi Lega. Our Quality Inn offers Belgian waffles for continental breakfast so we hit that up today to start the day off right. We then got out to the course and we're riding at 12:30 -no heat avoidance here.

We're relaxing in the hotel now just getting ready to cook up some Salmon...should make our hotel room nicely aromatic!

Me and Mical race the Short track tomorrow at 10:45. Matt races at 11:30. Then we have the day to get out of the sun and rest up for the xc at 2:30ish Sunday.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

NEW BIKES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just picked up my new bikes Monday. Yeah! They are awesome. I’ve only ridden my sub 23lb hardtail up and down the street getting it dialed in for fit, but took the Faze off road Tuesday and was so impressed I decided to take it to the next 2 NMBS –formerly called Norba races. Being a bit of a die hard Hardtail rider I knew I had to dive in and race the dually now to give it a fair chance for #1 bike to my heart.

It feels really great climbing, which is what your racing concern would be with a dually, shockingly so actually. With the propedal on I could swear I’m on a HT, but then I hit a descent and yup I’ve got the advertised 89-114mm of travel (approx 4-5 in). It looks freaking Gorgeous too and handles smoothly.

So what’s new with the Norco XC bikes this year? Although they’re looking flashier and sexier than ever, the Geometry is still very similar so you know you’re getting that same great feel. There are some small, but noteworthy changes. They have switched to triple butted M6 aluminum making it as good as it gets and bringing weight down a bit. So I’ll detail the Faze first since it has gotten more attention from me so far.

The faze –formerly known as the EXC FS – has trimmed its name and its frame. Gone away are the extra reinforcements that weren’t need for an XC dually. (If you’re really into the big stuff check out the Fluids, Shores and Sixes. They do not disappoint. )
They’re also now stocked with a 100 ml fork (last year had a 4-5 inches) which steepens the head angle (70 deg) a bit putting you in a better climbing position with a bit more weight over the front meaning it corners great.

Although the Stock Bikes comes with XTR and Fox making it a competitive 25 lbs, Factory team riders are running SRAM and Marzocchi. After spending the last two Seasons on SRAM I am really stoked to be on it again. The 1:1 ratio makes derailleur adjustment less finicky which is especially nice for on the fly adjustments on the rare occasion they’re required and it always shifts under torque. We’ve added some more SRAM to the program this year too with the addition of Avid Juicy ultimate brakes. The levers feel great and the braking consistent and positive.
For me the biggest change in feel in the two bikes is probably due to going from the SDG saddles and seat posts last year to a Truvativ WTB combo this year. The SDG which had a slacker angle than the Truvativ posts meant that with the higher front end of last years bike (even without this) I had the seat pulled way forward on the rails to get my weight to where I wanted it. This year to achieve the same reach I can place my seat in a more neutral to behind centre position so it doesn’t look as funky.

WTB is a new team sponsor this year supplying us with seats and wheels. I’ve got both the WTB Devo and Diva saddles to try out. The Devo is currently on the dually and the white Diva looks stunning on my off white Hardtail with the goldish taupe fork.
For Wheels I’m running the Laser Disc XC’s. These rims were a dream to Stans up with my Kenda Small block eights. I didn’t have to drill out the valve or bulk up the rim centre to get tires to seal. It was as easy as using a tubeless rim to mount my tires and I am now back to Tubeless after a year astray. Yeehaw. The wheels look and feel good, especially laced up to my beloved DTSwiss 240 Hubs. I swear I gained 2 minutes when I switched to buttery smooth DTSwiss hubs. I’ve got an 8 year old set of Hugi that are still smoother than other “top of the line” hubs I’ve had for 2 months.
Marzocchi. Good work with the Corsa guys! Marzocchi made some great improvements to their XC fork this year. The Stanchions are now Nickel plated so have less initial “sticktion” (sp?). They have also dramatically simplified the set up by going to 2 air chambers over 4 on last years’ model. You’ve got positive air on top which I’m running at 75 for my weight and then par on the bottom of the same leg which I set to 110psi. They take much higher air pressures this year and feel amazing and plush. If it feels a little sticky, speeding up the rebound on these forks makes a much bigger difference in feel than with other forks. On the right leg is a TST cartridge, but no adjustments are necessary to this side. I’ve only got 2 hrs on my fork, but have felt Alison Sydor’s which she’s run since Roc D’azur last fall and of course it only gets better. The lock out mechanism is also improved making it easy to use without the remote lock out.

Truvativ (Sram) brings the finishing touches to the bike with a whole lot of Carbon –juicy levers, XO shifters and deraileur, Handle bar, Seat post and the new Noir Cranks. It’s a very racy looking bike and it performs as good as it looks.
I’ll wait till I have some pics and more time on the hardtail to fill you in on it. Right now I’m in California for 2 weeks and two sets of races so it’ll be a bit. I really wanted to bring both bikes, but wasn’t keen on separating bikes from wheels to fit them both in the box… wheels and no bike or vice versa would just suck.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thanks Mark AKA Big Rig

Mark and Neil on the 2006 Sea Otter Trip

The Norco Team got the unfortunate news that we would be losing our team manager Mark Schmid this month. He and his family are moving out of province. Mark’s enthusiasm, hard work and belief in his team have been really appreciated during his time as Manager since 2005 and we’re all bummed to see him go. Best of Luck Mark on your next life Adventure!!!

Spoke N Motion Women’s Dirt Clinic a Huge Success

44 Women from the Kamloops area attended the 6th annual Women’s Mtb skills clinic developed and organized by local bike Shop owners Paul and Carolyn Berry. I teamed up with guest coach Eladee Brown and the staff from Spoke N Motion to offer skills coaching to three ability based groups.

It was amazing to see the change in the women’s confidence levels as the day progressed. Women who initially looked tentative on descents were confidently working on manuals off of obstacles by the end of the 5 hr clinic.

It was awesome to see so many enthusiastic women riders and to be able to share some of my experience with new riders. I think this could really expand our Tuesday group rides!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Whoa, Female Athlete of the Year

Last night was the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame Banquet. I had been nominated for “Female Athlete of the Year”. Quite an honour to be nominated when so new to this community. Never having been to a Sports Banquet before I had no idea it would be so well attended. I should have guessed though with this being the Tournament Capitol of Canada. Anyhow it was Friday and I still didn’t have a ticket for Keith…no problem I thought I’ll just call to order one. Well all 380 seats had been sold out, but I was on the waiting list. At 6:30 Friday night I got Keith a ticket for the following evening.

It was a fun night with drinks at 6, dinner at 7, awards, speeches and slideshows. I steered clear of the wine until after Female of the Year was awarded on the off chance I would have to give a speech. The slideshow for my category began and I became increasingly more nervous. I had some pretty stiff competition, but the announcement came and I was up to accept my award. Female athlete of the Year. Wow, what an honour. I shook a little through my thanks, but I think made out okay.

Henry Pejril, the man you have to thank for hosting many National championships and the 2006 BC Summer Games cycling events was very deservedly awarded “Sportsperson of the Year”. A good night for cycling.

The evening’s guest speaker Kelly Smith did a fantastic job. Smith was an enthusiast of every extreme sport including mountain biking. A rock climbing accident changed the course of his life leaving him paralyzed from the waist down at a young age. Still an adrenaline junkie Smith threw some mtb tires on his chair, dived back in to white water kayaking and tried out the wheelchair race as part of the Vancouver Sun Run. Within 8 years Kelly had groomed himself into an olympic athlete in the Wheelchair Marathon Event. Through an inspiring slideshow he gave us insights into his Olympic preparation and what it was like to win Silver. It was a really inspiring evening and helped to refocus my goals and determination for the Season.

Shout out to FEE

Norco Teammate Fion Griffiths finished 2nd in the Sea Otter DH, just 1.4 seconds off GB’s Rachel Atherton. Yeehaa

1. Rachel Atherton (GBR, Commencal) 2:33.5
2. Fionn Griffiths (GBR, Norco) 2:34.9
3. Melissa Buhl (USA, KHS) 2:36.2
4. Sabrina Jonnier (FRA, Monster Iron Horse) 2:36.4
5. Kathy Pruitt (USA, Jamis) 2:37.1

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Back in the Loops

We had our first women’s mtb ride of the year on Tuesday and had a lot of fun. The Pine Beetle has really damaged one of my favorite ride spots though- Dufferin. Many of the dead tress fell from the high winds we had this winter and others were cut for safety reasons, but they are currently lying all over the trails so we had to do a bit of tree skirting.

Training got derailed a bit this week as I got a 24 hr bug –sore muscles all over, fevery chills and sweats and an uncomfortable stomach…which has hung on until easter and makes the thought of chocolate a little less fun, but not out of the question. Worked Wednesday to friday although Thursday I was pretty useless with my bug. Friday after work I got in a recovery spin with Keith in our sunny 25 degrees before heading to Revelstoke for the long weekend. In Revelstoke we’ve had great weather too. 18 degrees both days. Even though there are huge snowbanks in town still Mt Cartier was clear for riding. It has to be the most brutal early season ride though with really steep long climbs. We went up twice to spend more time on the mtb. Sunday we headed out on our new road bikes. It’s such an amazing thing to to be riding in shorts, but surrounded by white capped mountains and snow lined ditches.

Check out this Pic from Brendan's new shop. He found a wicked building with all natural wood finishing. Huge logs hold bikes for display and there's a coffee machine and couch for the weary who find themselves always in bike shops. His inventory was just arriving as we landed in town, but the place is already looking great. When in Revelstoke definitely stop by 709 Victoria Rd to check out Flowt.

We’re stopping in Salmon arm on the way home tomorrow to meet up with some friends and ride the Salty Dog course before making our way back to Kamloops. Then it’s back to work and another women’s mtb ride.

NMBS # 1

I had an awesome trip to Arizona and am feeling excited for the season and summer!

72 elite women lined up for the first cross country race of the US national series Sunday in Arizona. It was a hot day with temperatures in the mid 30’s or 96F. There was a bit of a headwind which actually cooled things down and added a little element to racing. I got off to a descent start, but could definitely feel last night’s maximal effort in my legs. I actually felt pretty gross the first 25 minutes of racing and was wondering how I was possibly going to finish 3 laps, but the longer I rode the better I felt and the stronger I was able to race. The first lap was spent trying to move through traffic without hitting a cactus or getting caught up in loose dirt. Willow and I started riding together by the end of lap 1, but then she faded and I was semi alone again until Mical charged up to me early-mid lap 2. She was able to gap me but by the end of that lap I was reeling her in and passed her where she had passed me the previous lap. Many positions were being traded back and forth. From 9-18th the race was really tight and with the open landscape you could see a number of different riders at any one point.
I tried my best to reel in more women, but had to be contented with 14th position in the end. It was a good, solid, consistent race for me and a good start to the season although I definitely plan to ride at the front at the next NMBS in Just under a month. Many of the American women seem to have over wintered really well and are perhaps entering the season with a bit higher form. 1min 7 seconds faster would have put me in the top 10 so that is definitely where I plan to be at the minimum.

I’m now on my way back to Kamloops where I’ll put in another solid couple weeks of training to prepare for my season. After 3.5 hrs sleep I'm at the airport. Actually fell asleep on my first flight before the plane took off so I'm now running on 5hrs and a cappuccino! I'm trying to figure out what I have to do in the next month to crack that top 5. Are the other girls just closer to summer form? I can't really pinpoint any outstanding weakness from the race...other than my continual battle to learn how to start better. Maybe I just need that critical training month.
Joele Guynup in her first Norba competed in the Sr Expert Stage race where she rode consitently in the top 6 through the TT, Super D and XC and finished 4th overall in the stage race. Rockin!

My other travel companions Mical and Matt put in solid rides, both finishing 16th on the gruelingly hot course.

The short track was a big disappointment for me. I started horribly, but was able to steadily work my way up – although the leaders would always remain out of touch. I was feeling good and stronger than the women I was catching, but then about 8-10 min in they pulled us! Argh. We could definitely have been given another 2 laps. So not only did I only get to do a very short race, but every woman who finished remotely near me was given a result ahead of me – okay so maybe it was 5 or 6 girls, but when your going for a series standing 19th is better than 25th. I wasn't there to contest results before awards – had to go get some grub - so i guess I'm outta luck. Ah well, at least I got in some high quality interval training.