Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home Sweet Home

My greeting party

Now that's a Garden!

All I have wanted to do this past week is dive into home life. With new windows being installed, crazy cats demanding my attention, a garden bursting with veggies and Keith always ready to share a cup of coffee this wasn’t too hard.

As great as it was to be home (and thanks to Tanya our house sitter who has been fantastic!) it was hot, really hot. My “recovery ride” on Thursday was done in 39 degrees. Keith and I cut it short questioning the ability to recover while riding in an oven. I like temperatures below my core temp thanks. So after some good play time with the cats we headed off to visit Keith’s parents in the mountains. I haven’t seen Keith’s parents in forever and haven’t been to Revelstoke to ride yet this year. Riding in Revelstoke always helps me feel good on my bike. After feeling completely off in Kamloops dry and loose trail conditions the loamy & rooty forest trails of Revelstoke were a welcome relief. Riding in Revelstoke is like riding an unending pump track. Well ok you do a lot of pedalling too, but the reward for pumping your bike through the trails is high. The cycling club has put in some awesome new trails over the last 2 years so we got in some spectacular long rides. Brendan and Bart joined me for my Sunday intervals too, Thanks guys! It made my workout feel just like a fast fun group ride.
The Columbia River, Revelstoke

Keith on the trails in Revelstoke where he grew up

But I didn’t neglect our overburdened garden either. I brought a big tub of cucumbers with me and Sues and I set to work making Dill pickles and a sweet relish. All and all the weekend helped me recenter and refocus my energy so I would be ready to hit the road again on Wednesday for Australia and the World Championships.
Now tell me those don't look like delicious pickles

I’ll be racing the relay on Sept 2 and the xc on September 5th, (that’ll be sept 1st and 4th back home). From Australia where my brother will be joining the national team as the Volunteer National DH manager I head directly back to Canada for a couple days before hoping on a plane for Switzerland and another World cup just 7 days after worlds! Yikes. The Luna team will travel from Switzerland to Austria for World Cup finals and then head directly to interbike in Las Vegas. It’s going to prove to be a crazy month, with a lot of high intensity racing and travelling, but also high reward.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It’s a wrap!

Domestic racing has drawn to a close with the US cup finals this weekend in Windham, NY. I have to admit I am more than a little excited to be getting home after being away since June 26th! Yes, I had Keith with me for most of the time, but there is nothing quite like being home.

Chloe, Zeph and I passed a pretty quiet week in West Dover Vermont, getting together with the Fisher team a couple times to keep life interesting. The road riding in Vermont and upstate New York is beautiful and I fully enjoyed getting to do a few long rides. Bringing road bikes this trip was great. As much as I love Mtn. biking, it’s nice to get away from the mud and really feel like you’re covering some distance.

Racing went fairly well. I felt pretty good on Saturday for the xc, Willow was just climbing really strongly and descending equally well. Georgia too was never more than a few seconds back and got ahead of me in the final 200 meters as we chicaned through a paved loop to the finish. The Windham course was fun. It’s a bout 15minutes of climbing to 5 of descending…which definitely tallies up after 5 laps. There’s singletrack nicely mixed into the climb and the descent was a combination of rocky woods and open undulating, air catching slopes. The weather was sticky hot so I was thankful for our 11am start.

3rd on the day was good enough to secure me the series overall. My first Elite overall title after finishing 2nd overall on the World cup in 2008, Canada Cup (3 times 04-06) and BC cup (03)! It’s nice to finally be consistent.

Saturday night the Luna team was invited to a delicious pasta dinner at the home of our number 1 fan in Windham, Courtney. Thanks guys and look forward to seeing you next year!

Sunday was the short track and even hotter weather. It was the hardest short track I’ve done all year. Katerina was ranked 2nd overall, 30pts behind Heather so in order to help her win the overall she needed to win and we need Heather to finish outside the top 5. Our plan was to keep the pace as high as possible. Katerina had great legs on the day, but unfortunately I didn’t. I managed to make it to the front for 2 hard efforts which hopefully helped string it out, but I didn’t have enough to stay up there for the team. Georgia launched a decisive attack that Katerina was able to go with as Heather, Lea D and I tailed off. Unfortunately for us though Lea bridged back up and after sitting in for a couple laps outsprinted Katerina for the Line. It was a great ride by Lea, Katerina and Georgia. I came in for 4th and Heather 5th. Katerina narrowly missed the overall, but happily claimed 2nd, Georgia 3rd and me 4th overall. Chloe also finding her form claimed 11th in both the XC and ST and 10th overall.

I think everyone is happy to have wrapped up the series and are now focused on preparing for the Worlds in Australia Sept 5th. I’m on my way home!!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mt Snow Vermont: Relaxing, Crashing, Cross Country & Short Track

Photos courtesy of Dave Kraus dbkraus at

Looks like Chloe and I could be doing a lot of this next week!

The week leading into this race was mellow. We went to see Harry Potter at the small local theatre, hit up the local dinners and Keith and I got out for some superb road rides. Oh yeah and we went to Kingdom trails on our way down from Bromont. The trails were amazing and are the hub of the little town of East Burke.

It’s been 3 years since I’ve been able to race in Mt. Snow. The last two years it has held US Nationals. It was here in 2005 that I kinda had my break through ride. I raced up to 2nd position behind Shinny Vanlandingham with about 20 minutes of racing to go when I blew spectacularly and finished 9th.

This year went much better for me… well at least the xc. I decided to race my Orbea Oiz, our carbon full suspension bike, to give me a bit of a mental break from the intense racing I had done over the last month. It did the trick as I had a lot of fun out there and climbed as well as I would have on my hard tail. Katerina and I got away early and she quickly showed me the day would be won not by who had the most suspension, but by whoever was willing to descend more aggressively. We climbed together and flew down the descent. Just after the first tech zone she hoped off her bike and was checking her tires. As she had passed the tech zone already she wasn’t allowed to back track and would have to ride to the next one or fix the tire herself.

After that I was by myself and got to settle in. I felt good and the sun was shinning. A gap was growing between me and the chasing duo of Willow and Heather until I crashed 3rd lap going down on a slick root in a puddle. Last lap I tried to ride consistently, which may have proved fatal in a longer race as Heather and Willow were racing each other behind me and bringing down the gap. It would have been great to have Katerina up at the front to race with, but will have to save that for Windham next week! Congrats to Chloe for her first xc top 10 of the season.

Short track

A post race team dinner at the local Italian restaurant Ravello had us fuelled for the short track the next day. Mt Snow, which was also hosting a bike festival that weekend with lots of kids activities and entertainment, put together a great short track loop. There was a solid climb, a winding descent, some flats and sharp corners. All the ingredients for a but- kicking 20 minutes of exertion.

Luna wanted to get back to the good old days of team racing so planned to keep the pace high. Georgia, Katerina and I got into the lead group with Heather, Willow, Mary and Lea. After a couple laps it was down to a Luna/Subaru GF battle with Katerina and I taking turns at the front. 15 minutes in I decided to make an attempt to get away. Things were going great until I flew into a right hand corner and came out flying off…but not on my bike I did a full summersault and flatted in the process. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the same corner claimed 3 people that day.

Katerina Launched a flyer next lap and held off the fast charging Duo of Heather and Willow to take the win. Georgia rode in for her 2nd 4th of the weekend and Chloe took another top 10. Aside from a couple more scratches and some tight muscles I made it out of the crash ok.

Keith's on his way back to NB & BC and half the team has gone off to visit family so it's a quiet week for me, Chloe and Zeph in West Dover, Vermont.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bromont World cup: How Expectations Change

I’ve come off a couple of fantastic weekends of racing. Races where i just seem to be able to get to the front when I need to and stay there. Yesterday’s World cup in Bromont Canada was a little different. I got off to a good start and was at the front of the race by the top of the climb. I knew I wanted to be ahead of fullana into the woods but didn’t pull it off and was stuck behind her hearing all the girls we had just climbed away from riding back onto our wheels.

The day started off dry, but the woods were still slick. It seemed that every time I earned myself a little advantage I would loose it by slipping off a slick root, rock or climb. It went like this for 2 laps and seemed to be a battle for the lead between Irina and myself until on the climb 3rd lap Lene Byberg of Norway bridged up and moved to the front.

Having made my moves to gain the lead in the first 2 laps I was having trouble staying with the girls in the 3rd lap. I lost my head a bit and started riding internally…not a good thing. I went into the race confident that I would be fighting for the win and now it seemed I would be left behind. I didn’t feel smooth in the woods and lost focus.

My brother being course side cheering reminded me of a lesson I learned years back fighting for the canada Cup overall title. It was about expectations and how they change. Where riding in3rd should have been a thrill I was dissappointed. I needed to get my head out of my ***. With that memory triggered I made the decision to ride for my best result on the day. Waldek gave me splits and the advice to keep my head up (not in my ***). I started riding better again and held off the two women quickly charging up behind me to maintain the last podium position.

All in all in was a good day for Luna with my 3rd, Georgia’s 8th, Katerina’s 9th and Chloe scoring her best ever World cup result with an a 24th overall and 5th under 23. This put luna securely into the top team position. I’m now ranked 5th overall in the World cup with only a few points separating the top 6. The last two world cups should be interesting as whoever rides well there will earn a top 5 overall.

Up next are the two US cups in Vermont and New York.