Friday, June 26, 2009

Ahh, home time has been good. The whole family was back together on Sunday night with Keith and I returning from Test of Metal and Catherine and Matt back from the Canada Cups. We celebrated with a little BBQ and playing fetch with our cat Oly who has been in Catherine withdrawl the past several weeks.

Test of Metal was awesome. It's fun to go back to the races where I feel like I got my start at racing elite. About 10 of us from Kamloops camped at Alice Lake. I had my best sleeps of the week in the tent...a good thing going into the BC bike race!

The weather at night was cool and drizzly which made for perfect race conditions; temperature and traction wise. 1006 people started the mass start 60+km mtb race and over 950 finished. Pretty good survival rate. For me the race was great. I got to lead start to finish and collect all 10 $100 primes and ride with a lot of friendly fun guys. More satisfying than the cash purse however was coming out on top in the inter-Kamloops challenge. That's right boys that win was for yer wives & girlfriends! Drew M, I'll be looking for you next year;-)

Keith also had a good race posting his best ever test time while still finding time for a tea and crumpet break with Martin D mid race. He's got some race fire back so watch out next year.

Thanks to Nick and Russ for the feeds!

I'm in Vancouver now with the Luna team as we prep for the BC bike race start on Sunday.

See Mom Kamloops can be green!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Colorado Springs

Another weekend of racing, this time in Colorado Springs for the 4th stop on the US Cup circuit. The neat thing about this weekend for me was that I got the chance to see where Waldek and Alison live and meet Waldek’s Kids Michael and Tyler.

I love seeing new terrain and Colorado didn’t disappoint with its unique red rock jutting out of the ground seemingly at random and large white capped mountains looming in the background. The course was rather unique as well with a fast track containing only a slight grade climb and several rock gardens to manoeuvre.

We raced Short track on Friday night with home town favourite Alison Dunlap joining the Luna Squad to make us 5 strong. The track was predominantly single track with only one good place to pass making it a race of patience and timing. Katerina and I made the front group early on with Katie Compton and Heather Irmiger. We were doing well with 2 laps to go, but with only one place to pass someone was going to get shut out at a crucial moment. Unfortunately we both did as Katie grabbed 2nd wheel to heather going into last lap and we were on Chase mode, unable to clench the lead again before the finish. Heather took the win followed by Katie, myself and Katerina.

The xc race followed this years’ trend of being short, hard and tactical. After a good start I was second wheel onto the dirt behind Heather. Like the previous day we got off the front with Katie Compton. I was able to take over the lead mid race and had a slight gap going into 2nd lap, but Katie and Heather were chasing me down. Katie made contact early second lap and remained within seconds the entire race, changing up the lead with me several times. Last lap I thought the win had escaped me when I attacked into the first rock garden only to lay my bike down and have to run. Katie was off her bike and running past me. As I tried to remount my lack of cyclocross skills showed themselves as I missed my remount. Yes embarrassing considering the lead moto was following me with a helmet cam! I did get back on but my chain had dropped. I thought Katie would be gone, but she had only opened a small gap. It gave me confidence that she might be tiring and I worked to close the gap in a hurry and then attack for the lead again. She stuck with me and shadowed me to the finish. It would come down to the line so I pushed the pace hoping to take the sprint out of her legs. Through the woods it was about not making mistakes and then charging to the finish. I was able to hold her off and grab the finishing corner in the lead and hold it for the win.

This year racing has been really exciting, fast and tactical. Next up for the Luna team is a big change of pace as we try out our first mtb stage race in British Columbia. Stay Tuned!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Feels like a real summer!

I have to say I am loving June. It's my month at home...well mostly. Atleast I'm home during the week. Last weekend I "raced the ranch" and earned my self a sweet belt buckle and some prize money to give the volunteers for their well desrved beer fund. I helped flag the course for 3 hrs on thursday, but atleast 4 others had already put in 3hr before I got there and they were back the next 2 days at least working to get everything ready. So a huge thanks to Henry, Alison,Bruce and Craig among others.

It was fun to be able to ride my local trails as a race warm up as the 2 minute ride to the course would not have done much! The weather was pretty cooperative with a nice breeze and it was fun to be racing alongside Kamloops firends and have an awesome cheering section out there. I raced my dually for the first time and was super happy as I pushed over the bumpy plateaus and into the undulating twisty singletrack. The course got so dusty that when I slid out on a corner i had to wait for the dust to settle to be able to find my bike!

I'm now on my way to Colorado for a short track race Friday afternoon and xc Saturday.

Aside from the bikeness the month has so far been full of picnics, BBQing and home projects. The best part is I get to do a bunch of camping this month too with the BCBR and test of Metal.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

There must be a race in Kamloops

oooh, that's hot. Yes it's in the direct heat, but still that's hot!

This weekend is the BC cup, Race the ranch where I'll be trying to earn my self a sweet belt buckle for the win. Keith and some of the local crew have added lots more singletrack which will hopefully not get too rutted out. The trails are crazy dry and dusty, but a lot of fun.

Picnic in Riverside Park. Yeah summer!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bump and Grind...first US National win

After three luxurious days at home with Keith and the kitties i was off again. This time to Alabama. The nice thing about US cups though is I don't have to travel with a bike. Zeph and Chris have it all ready in the trailer for me when I get there. Thanks guys!

We got in late friday night and I was pooped. I had felt like I had zero jet lag in Kamloops, but it all came crashing down on me after a full day of travel. A 9hr sleep helped out though and i hit the bump and Grind trails with my teammates for a couple laps on Saturday.

The course was super fun. It was predominantely singletrack. It was going to be crazy hard to pass. We would start with a slight paved climb before hitting the woods and then dive back out on pavement 2 times per lap. The trails were super windy, rooty and rocky. After 2 days at home on my dually i was missing the plush comfort. The trees were tight and I'd be surprised if a single rider made it through without a raspberry on their shoulder.

Race day was hot and muggy. This is appearing to be a trend for racing in North America this year. I'm not sure where the women have gone, but unfortunatley only 17 showed up to race the uber fun course lined with ethusiastic Alabaman and Georgian fans.

From the gun Georgia and Katerina were dictating the pace. I made it to the front to grab 2nd wheel behind Katerina into the woods. Fairly quickly a lead group formed at the front including Katerina, Me, georgia and Katie Compton. I took over the lead from Katerina mid way through the woods and onto the pavement. I drilled it up the paved climb to see what everyone had and then fast into the singletrack descent. All the girls stuck with me, today was going to be challenging. On the next paved section it was quickly evident that everyone was prepared to let me pull the entire pavement. I wasn't into that so i did a short attack. When i came back to the group Katie launched a painful counterattack, but i reclaimed her wheel and finally got to sit in for a bit. Yes, this was going to be a very tactical race.

The pavement lead to the start finish and feedzone. After grabbing a bottle we charged to the singletrack and i knabbed first wheel. The woods was hard and tiring and the heat was taking it's toll. i dabbed on a tricky climbing section and messed up whoever was 2nd wheel (found out later it was Katerina and she got gapped and wasn't able to reclose). So now it was me, Georgia and Katie with katerina a couple seconds back.

Katie took over the lead at one point in the woods and my determination started to waver. I was feeling like maybe I didn't have it today and should pull off to not mess with my teammates race. Instead i decided to suck it up and dig. Everyone hurts in the heat and maybe they were hurting more than me.

On the pavement it was the same cat and mouse game again. Lap 3 Georgia was first wheel into the woods. She started to string it out on me, but I was able to reclose. On the climb i had dabbed 1 lap before i heard Katie dab this lap and told Georgia we could get away. We drilled it through the woods trying to extend our lead and worked together on the roads to maintain it.

Last Lap i attacked in the feedzone. Whoever led the woods might be able to slip away if the other made a mistake. But georgia wasn't going to make a mistake and it would come down to the pavement. I lead the lap till the paved descent into the finish where Georgia took over. Whoever claimed the lead into the final corner could win it so when i saw it approaching i dived inside and charged with all i could muster to the line.

I claimed my first ever US National race win and in a sprint finish no less. That would be the second sprint i would win in my life and the only one for an actual race win. Pretty exciitng. Racing has been so tactical this year, with legs to back it up. I'm learning so much every race and having a blast doing it...when i'm not suffering that is.

Katerina finished 3rd for a Luna Sweep. Unfortunately Katie Compton was not able to finish after having an asthma attack at some point late in third lap. Katie, hope you're feeling alright and we see you at more races!

After a great dip in the lake to cool down -ahh nothing says summer like a swim in the lake- we watched an exciting men's race. Like ours the race quickly separated into groups so all positions came down to sprints for the line. Thanks to everyone that came out to cheer and check out the race. We enjoyed your trails! Thanks Waldek for getting up so early to get us to the airport!

Madrid World Cup

Plaza Mayor, Madrid Spain

Coach Dan and Geoff K joined the Luna team for Dinner in Madrid post race

One shop features Bull fighting history with lots of old black and white pics, news paper articles and comes complete with Bull heads. Kinda grotesque.

So spain. Unfortunately the food did not get any better than last year. Our pre race meal was at an italian restaurant that was closed till 8pm, but they let us in for the Lunch buffet leftovers. As I chowed down on our best meal to date i was wondering if I would get food poisoning from some food not kept at the proper temperature the last couple hours.

I went to bed excited for the race. My form has been so good the last few weeks and i was keen to try to prove to people that I could do well on a course most people thought didn't suit me. Last I checked though all the girls riding at the front have been lighweights so i figured my chances should be as good as any. Oh yeah, and it was muddy, real muddy. Unfortunately we realized too late mud tires may have been the way to go.

I got my first front row WC call up of the year and went on to have my best start of the year. I felt good on the flat start and my team mate Georgia had moved quickly from 24th to beside me. Maybe we'd be able to do some team tactics today. I had planned out the start well and knew when to move up so that I was 4th wheel when it counted. On the 2nd steep climb i dropped my chain, but was able to put it back on while running up and regainned the leaders by the descent. It was this descent first lap I later learned Georgia flatted on. Luckily she was close to the Tech zoe and had a pretty quick wheel change and got back into the mix hammering through traffic up to 14th by the finish.

Things were looking good. I was sitting 4th wheel with Fullana, Premont, Byberg, Osl, Lechner and Maya W in a group, but I went down on a slick corner and had to bring up the rear. The first three were able to roll away on the next series of climbs. Through the start finish i was in a group of 4 and we all started working together to reel in the leaders. I was leading into the climb and stomped on it, but no one went with me so i had to try to solo it up to the front. I got close. Really close, but just couldn't get their wheel and started loosing time to them as MHP drilled it up front. I stayed solo till the last lap. Three girls were pretty close behind including teammates Osl and Spitz. Sabine Spitz was able to bridge across and pass me. I tried to stay with her but when she cleaned the slick climb i had dismounted for, she got a gap. With less than 10 minutes to go i focused on reeling her in and fending for the last podium spot.

Sabine's bridging effort seemed to hurt her and she was dangling in front of me. I was chasing her down hard into the finsh, but came up a little short. 5th on the day was pretty good though. I definitely felt I had the form for a top 3, but a couple slide outs on slick corners were enough hold me off the podium.

Next up...3 days at home then off to Alabama for the Bump and Grind