Monday, July 27, 2009

Mont Sainte Anne World Cup


Sue, Rod and Luna (their dog) came up from Fredericton New Brunswick to watch the Luna team race

Keith was there for the finish as well as my mom, Dad, Luna Team and some great people from NB. (Thanks for the nice picture Dave. Check out coverage on

I’ve been racing in MSA, Quebec since I started racing elite nationally in 2004. It was always one of my favourite venues and a course I could do well on with its steep demanding climbs and fast rugged descents. Sunday topped all my other race days in Sainte Anne with my first World cup win of the Season and sharing the podium with teammate Katerina Nash.

For those that like the nitty gritty race details here you go. This year the organizers made some substantial changes to the course lay out. The hallmark descent was removed and replaced with a rough rocky one, the course looped back on itself even more than usual and 2 short but challenging climbs were added.

The women were scheduled for 4 laps and it promised to be slick if not actually raining. The start was going to be critical. After a relatively short climb up a mix of dirt road and grass we were fed into singletrack where passing would be impossible unless someone dabbed and let you by. Based on world cup points I was called up in 5th position. From the gun, things were a little dicey with a rider veering over into me, but everyone stayed upright. I let myself get forced off to the side on the grass climb and a surge of riders swarmed me. I entered the woods in 9th, but not in the top 3 which I thought would be critical to winning.

A gap of about 20-30 seconds opened between me and race leader Marie Helene by the first feed zone (<8minutes>

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today is pretty overcast in Mont Sainte Anne and it has been raining on and off making the course its slickest yet. This morning in preride I felt I was all over the place, but it sounds like everyone was. The organizers have removed the main descent of old and have replaced it with a new scary rocky one. It rode really well earlier in the week, but today was pretty tricky. I had to remind myself that I felt horrible tecnically the day before I won the world cup in bromont last year so am still feeling really good for tomorrow rain or shine.

The funny story of the week is from Keith taking Waldek to Tim Hortons the other day. Waldek is a huge coffee drinker, but only believes in quality coffee. When Keith order a double double Waldek thought he was going for a really strong espresso. Never being one to back down for a challenge he also order this "4 shot" coffee. After sipping his coffee though he had to go immediately to the sink to pour out the sugar & cream beverage he had been given. the Timmy's staff looked at him in confusion and Waldek vows to never touch a double double again!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

mom and Dad, my super fans
After Nationals Keith and I headed to New Brunswick to visit my parents and friends. I'm always blown away by how much forest there is in NB. Without the huge mountains the rolling forested hills seem to go on forever. There are also so many lakes and rivers that it's a great place to get away for some family fun. Dad and I got out for a Kayak on Harvey Lake and Keith and I did a couple rides along the Saint John River.

Mom at her book launch for Don Messer: The Man Behind the Music
Although she workd full time my mom also has a passion for writing and has just published her 4th book. We got to go to her first launch which was a huge success and a nice chance for me to see a lot of familiar faces from the past.

Keith and I also enjoyed a visit to Jonnie's Java for freshly roasted americanos in Fredericton. I also learned from a friend that I too could roast my own coffee as they do! Green beans stay fresh for a long time and you can just roast a pound at a time! You also get to enjoy the delicious aroma. The Grean beanery in Toronto is a not for profit coffee retailer that can hook you up!

Fredericton also has the best Farmer's market ever so Saturday I dragged Keith in with me to smell the fresh and delicous samosas, souvlaki & Sausages while we walked by organic pastries, yogurts and cheeses, jams and locally made art & crafts. I think I got a bigger Kick out of it than him, but he enjoyed the fresh jam (from my town of Harvey) just as much.

New Brunswick

Judy's cottage. I loved going here as a kid. It was built in the 1930's by her dad and is on a tiny island. There are about 5 cottages on the island and a large rocks all around it. Great for jumping. I of course made Keith do a lap with me.

Judy, mom and Dad on our way out to Judy's cottage.

Keith at Magadavic lake

Keith and I

Picture update

So this one took me a while to Post. Kamloops crew at Test of Metal. Kim and Martin B had already snuck off to put Logan to bed. Nick, Ellen, Keith, Me, Mike W, Martin D and Pete. Pete I ran into an old buddy of yours at nationals.
A gorgeours sunset in my backyard in Kamloops

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nationals Win!

Keith and Waldek, my awesome support crew

Champagne anyone?

Well today went even better than I could have hoped. The clouds rolled in over night bringing temperatures down, yet the rain hadn’t yet begun to fall. Our nationals course was the same course used for the World Cup held in Saint Felicien, Quebec 2 years ago. It is a fun 6+km loop that takes you over a lot of rocky and rooty terrain. All the climbing is singletrack or switchbacks and there are tons of fast bermed corners.

After a good start I was 2nd wheel to Marie Helene the defending national champion with Amanda Sin and Mical Dyck close behind. I took over the lead a few minutes in and tried to open a gap in the singletrack. Everytime I opened a little in one section Marie would claw it back quickly thereafter. I thought I was going to be in for a tight battle all day, but before we finished the first lap I had opened 10 seconds which quickly changed to 25. I raced hard to open the gap and was able to extend it with each lap. Rain started falling and the course was getting more greasy, both on the climbs and descents. Going into the 4th and final lap I had over 3 minutes so descended cautiously to avoid mistakes. The effort paid off as I rolled in for the win 2min 50 ahead of Marie in Second place and my first National Championship win! Amanda Sin took the final podim position followed by U23 winner Emily Batty and Mical Dyck.

Big thanks to Waldek who flew in to help get my legs ready after BCBR and make sure I was set to battle for the Jersey. Thanks also to my coach Dan Proulx, my husband Keith and Gary Wolfe from Maxxis who looked after my bike and my parents and friends that were there to cheer! It meant a lot for me to have that win with you all there.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Surviving and thriving at the BCBR

Tent city at our roving base camp. Awesome volunteers set them up and took them down each day.

Georgia, Katerina and me in our leader's jerseys

Sarah our Chef Extraordinaire, Katerina and me

To sum up the week in a couple words would be tough, but after 7 days of hard riding I don’t have a lot of energy to do much more!

MTB stage racing is pretty cool. Imagine the biggest group ride you have ever done and times it by 30 or 40. Added to that is that everyone is racing. You move in a fast train slinking through the woods, up and over rocks and roots and down twisty, gnarly descents and then into cringingly hard pacelines along fireroads. Each day offered the 400+ riders seemingly endless singletrack through coastal rainforest and mountain and ocean vistas.

Each stage was about 50-70km and for us 2-4hrs. There were 2 aid stations at mid way points on each course with food and drink as even with our mandatory 3 bottles we couldn’t carry enough water for the stages. My favorite aid station treat would be grabbing a handful of m&m’s as the volunteers filled up our bottles with more fluids so we could get quickly back on our bikes. Cliff Blocks were the best race fuel being super easy and tasty to eat on the bike. Working with Katerina was great. We would alternate leading with almost every section of singletrack and along the fireroads helping us to keep the pace high and our focus on clearing trail obstacles. After finishing only 1 minute up of the second place team of Alison Sydor & Lea Davison after taking a pee break Day 3. After that we just tried to make it through to the finish each stage with less stops.

One day we returned to the RV and not only had Sarah prepared us a delicous lunch but there was also a fresh baked blueberry/peach cobbler awaiting us! Day 4 was the toughest for I think everyone. After a 4:30 am wake up, 2 ferry and 2 bus rides later we arrived in Earl’s cove on the Sunshine coast. This stage had the most climbing with what felt like 100 steep fireroad climbs between the abundant singletrack sections. Expecting the projected 3hr ish race we weren’t prepared for an additional hour of racing with an additional 8km finding its way into the course. Having Waldek there to massage the junk out of our legs and soothe our killing backs was indispensible. Yes I did feel bad for the others that didn’t have our great support staff.

Day 5 we were treated to a 30 minute descent after 2.5hr of fun trails, right into the Langdale ferry terminal where we hopped the boat to Squamish for Day 6. The Squamish trails were amazing. Combining the infamous test of metal course and Gear Jammer, racers were treated to atleast 4 long, sweet undulating descents. I get some energy back just thinking about them!

Finally Day 7 and whistler. It was actually a kind of dissapointing stage knowing the riding whistler has to offer. There was a lot of fireroad climbing to reach the fast singletrack and the weather was a hot 30 deg celcius, but we did get to see a Sasquatch out-running a park ranger with a case of Kokannee. After 6 days of superb singletrack our expectations were high. A flat tire made the race more exciting as Lea and Alison made contact with us before Katerina and I had to put the hammer down to catch the seventh consecutive stage win and the overall with a total riding time of over 21 hrs of racing.

So many kilometers, bridges, rocks, roots, gels, blocks, bars, recovery smoothies, needed massages, 2 flats and 1 big trail detour we have lived the ultimate singletrack experience and get to take a day off! Thanks Zeph Waldek, Katerina, Sarah, Georgia and Keith and all the fun friendly folks we raced with out on the trails and race volunteers for making it a great week!

BC Bike Race: The Ultimate Single track experience

The Luna team arrived in Vancouver, BC Friday afternoon for a team first, the BC Bike race. The BCBR is a 7 day stage race that will take us through some of the best singletrack of my home province of British Columbia. The route begins in North Vancouver on the infamous North Shore before sending us to Vancouver Island for 2 days, the sunshine coast for 2 days and ultimately the mtb meccas of Squamish and Whistler.

Friday we celebrated the beginning of our adventure with a great team dinner at a Thai restaurant on the water. Saturday, Day 0, we learned about the week to come, signed up for the all important meal times and got our swag. Keith and I also took the team out to the North Shore for a little taste of the first stage’s trails before heading back for a press conference.

Day 1: The Epic begins. Today we ride the North shore. Being the first day there are no call ups so you had to get in the start box early to get a front spot. This meant very little warm up even though today’s stage promised to be short at only 29km (of very rugged terrain and 1552 m of climbing). The start was hard on the legs and lungs (feeling especially winded coming off a rest week), but Katerina and I held a good position into the singletrack and were able to move further up as the terrain got more root covered.

Today was our first time really riding as a team and we started figuring out the pacing, falling into a pattern of me leading the climbs and her leading the descents. Our team mate Georgia; this week teamed with Kona rider Ryan Trebon – rode within a minute of us the entire race. Katka and I had a good day, climbing steadily and rocking the descents as she fearlessly led us down some of the gnarliest trails you’ll ever find in an xc race. There were big drops, chutes and too many wooden log rides and bridges to count. There’s not much sweeter than catching and dropping guys on a tricky descent!

That day we crossed the line as the first women’s team, 8 minutes ahead of nearest rivals Alison Sydor and Lea Davison. Georgia and Ryan Claimed first in the mixed team category, finishing in the same minute as us, and 11 minutes ahead of their competition. We all move into the leaders’ jerseys for day 2.
Day 2: Up at 6ish and on way to ferry to Vancouver island. We realize on the first corner as my plate of eggs flies to the floor that a casual breakfast at the table won’t work while in motion. Yes mom we had seat belts!

Walking through tent city last night and at the meal hall I’ve gotten the chance to meet lots of great people from all over the world. It’s going to be a fun week. I have to admit I felt a little spoiled having Zeph there to clean and prep our bikes, his girlfriend Sarah helping us with logistics and meals in our sweet RV and Waldek to Massage our legs…. but hey how many other racers out there only have 3 weekends off between April and October?

Off the ferry we’re lined up to race within 45 minutes. Today we have call ups and will ride from the town of Nanimo to Parksville over some beautiful old school xc trails. Katerina sets a good pace into the singletrack. Today was good but tough at 70km and just shy of 4hrs. The trails were amazing, but I definitely felt the difference between a 2hr and a 4hr race.

Tomorrow we’re up at 6am again and headed to Cumberland for Day 3. This stage promises 60km of fun single track.