Monday, December 06, 2010

Changing Seasons

November was an interesting month. It began with above normal temperatures and sunshine, making cross nationals much more enjoyable racing than expected, upon arriving home though it was quickly double, double season.  No not a Tim Horton's coffee with 2 cream, 2 sugar, I'll stick to my double Americano thanks, but rather double sock, double bootie and hot shots to keep the toes warm in sub zero temperatures.  Luckily, this did not last long and the following week, snow arrived and I was getting in lots of ski miles.

Oddly enough after a super consistent season, one where people asked if it was my best yet I felt dissatisfied with it.  I didn't feel like I was as good an athlete last year as I had been in the past.  I felt like I put out some great races, benefitted from experience and years of hard work, but that I was capable of more. So as I train for next year I feel focused and committed in that way that feels so good, that strengthens you because you know you're doing the ground work to win when it matters most.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A weekend of Cross in the centre of the Universe

This year after a two year hiatus from cyclocross (my previous experience being 4 races), Keith and I decided that I should organize a cyclocross series in the interior of BC so we could do some cross racing, but not have to do a ton of travelling every weekend.


The series was a huge success introducing lots of people to this new discipline and giving Keith and I the cross bug.  Then air Canada emails me info on a seat sale to Toronto.  Cyclocross nationals are there, I've got lots of family there, I have been racing cross and I figure a trip to the Big city could be fun.


Hosting my race the weekend before I was pretty busy and stressed out and looked forward to a trip to TO for a fun race with Keith.  Racing cross is a nice mental change for me, I don't have to put the same mental and emotional energy into it.  Race morning I started getting super grumpy about things that weren't a big deal though.  Ahhhh, so I guess I do care about my result.  The fact that I was dismounting way too far in advance of barriers and am inexperienced at cross was making me nervous.  I got a grip though and took to the start line.


I had a great start, but then relaxed a little thinking I was safe in the train.  Then came the realization that in cross you never rest and I've allowed riders to gap me from the leaders.  I spend the rest of the race chasing.  With 1\2 a lap to go I see 3rd and 4th place unravelling a bit and decide I can make the podium.  I dig hard for my fastest lap of the race and quickly catch 4th.  Then in the last corner I'm able to sneak past Pepper Harleton to claim bronze.
Wendy Simms and Katy Curtis dominated the day with Wendy winning the sprint for her 4th national championship.

Kika cyclocross nov 6-10 028
But racing isn't over now.  Sunday is Nationals revenge, the day where everyone who's nationals doesn't go as well as hoped gets to give it another chance.  For Keith this was the case and he moved up 10 positions!  I was happy with the way my race finished, but I wanted the chance to start harder and see if I could win. 

After yesterday's practice I was much smoother at the barriers.  The course designers had also dug trenches at the base of climbs to try to force people to dismount.  It didn't work for the earlier start groups and so 10 minutes before the women's race they dug a deeper wider trench.  I tried to ride it unsuccessfully on lap one and was forced into an unplanned slow dismount.  The girls around me ran past and attacked the crest getting a gap.  At the crest of the painful run up I dug deep to bridge up and by the end of the lap had successfully made contact. 

kika cyclocross nov 7-10 015 At the crest of the run up the next lap I attacked again and got a gap over 2nd that I was able to hold till the end. Natasha Elliot never let me ease off the pace though.  After a mechanical the previous day she showed she was riding strong.  The run up definitely made an already tough physical course harder. Unfortunately Wendy wasn't able to stick around for Day 2 of the fun as she has a 1yr old to go home too. So it was me in 1st, Natasha 2nd and Pepper Harleton in 3rd just ahead of Katy Curtis.

After a fun weekend of racing, visiting family and sightseeing I think we may add cross nationals in toronto to next year's schedule as well!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Wow do I ever suck at doing blog updates in the "off Season".

So what's been happening?  Lots as always.

Currently I am in Toronto for cross nationals and some family visiting.  We shall soon see how I am as a cross racer when I go head to head with Wendy, Mical and Natasha and I'm sure lots of other gals with superior cross skills.  It should be a lot of fun though and I'm looking forward to watching Keith race.


Toronto has already proven eventful.  Within 2 minutes of pulling out with my rental car (the acquisition of which was lengthy) I get pulled over by the Police.  When I ask if I have done something wrong the officer informs me I have Quebec plates (is this a crime in Ontario?)  He checks my license and as a good BC gal I am let go.


We get to my cousin's apartment and as he shows us the view from his 23rd storey apartment, Keith notices a house is on fire.  We promptly call 911 and run over to see anyone is inside as all the lights are off, but luckily the fire truck beats us there.  17 fire trucks later the flames are being doused and we get to bed at about 1:30.


What will tomorrow bring?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cross


Ron Ellis, Evan Guthrie and Dan Macdonald at Kamloops cross

This year I organized a cyclocross series in the interior with the support of Clifbar, Cycles Lambert and Oakley as well as many other fantastic local sponsors. Penticton and Kelowna had fantastic organizers and I had little to do, but Kamloops was my baby. I figured this meant I should really do some cyclocross racing! So between making a cedar shed, starting an Anatomy and physiology course and organizing my Kamloops race Keith and I were booting it down to the coast for some cross racing. We hit up two BC cups, one being the infamous pumpkin cross where we got to get costumed up and jump over horse jumps.


Sandra's kickass carving

Whistler
I got an email from Fox asking me if I wanted to go to Whistler to do some filming. Silly question! So between races and weddings and exams I was off to Whistler for a couple days of filming and relaxing with the Anthill film crew. We did some really neat shoots with Darcy swinging from overhead cables as I crisscrossed rock faces and Johnathan driving a truck while Collin filmed me "hopefully" shredding some trails. We had phenomenal weather and I was pretty pumped to be able to get in a bit of trail riding in whistler. Look for some fox and whistler tourism videos this spring.

Stringing the cables

More Cross
After Whistler, Pumpkin cross and 2 exams we were in the final days leading up to my cross race. I knew organizing a race would be a lot of work, but wasn't quite prepared for how much time and energy it would consume. My normal routine was constantly interrupted and I'll admit to losing a couple hours of sleep.


Everything came together amazingly though, even the weather. I was blown away with how supportive the City of Kamloops was by meeting with me numerous times to choose a park, mark irrigation lines, paint lines etc. The local shops and riders were equally supportive giving prizes, racing and volunteering. Tons of racers came together to help set the course up Saturday afternoon. The local kids didn't tear it down overnight even though it was Saturday night and the next day was Halloween. We got 54 people out to race and tons wearing costumes. The racing was fast and entertaining (see the results page) over a BMX track and twisting through a park. Keith beat me and is now retiring from competition, at least against me.




Evan gets more air than me. Definite style points and not only for the shorts.


Afterwards everyone hung out to enjoy the beautiful day smoothies from pure cuisine and coffee from Juniper Market as I with my trusty sidekicks Cheryl and Bevin handed out the gingerbread cookie medals and about 40 prizes.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Married on a Mountain


Also in this time our beloved house mates of 2 years got married and all the family and friends descended on Kamloops for several days. Matt and Catherine's wedding was perfect, up on a mtn, looking over a ski run they tied the knot and then we dined on a conscientious catering buffet, before Keith and I delivered our speech and assigned the bride push ups in her dress. Dancing and roasting marshmallows over an open fire completed the evening in style.

Turning 30 and the Epiphany

In September I turned 30 and then made another attempt at the 150 mile epiphany ride with ClifBar in Napa Valley. Always epic, last year I double bonked, starting at only 4hrs in so this year I entered it afraid, well more afraid but better prepared. Not only did I have a bigger summer base of riding miles, but I did my best to draft for the first couple hours and eat lots often. I ended the ride feeling strong enough to duke it out with the masters men up the final climbs with some painfully placed attacks. It is so much better to finish strong then spending the last 3 hrs just trying to make it and hoping desperately that someone will stop their car and offer you a ride.

Salmon Run
Not far from Kamloops you get incredible glimpses of the salmon run so when Geoff and Mom were in town for my big 30 we took them out to see it.


Geoff and mum, Ahhhh

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vegassed out


Party at ClifBar. Best at the Show Foosball, beer,and live music

Interbike has come and gone and with it my last trip to Vegas. The show now moves to Anaheim, CA. Vegas is an interesting place to say the least. I'm glad I've seen it, Cirque de Soleil and Phantom, but I'm glad I do not have to spend more time here. A couple early morning runs down the strip alongside homeward bound revelers, gamblers and the leftover smells and discards of a night of partying has me wondering how people survive here.

For an athlete, or those that like fresh air, dislike shopping and waste it is overwhelming to say the least. Some of the hotels and displays are definitely impressive, as are women's abilities to walk in 4 inch heels. With sufficient funds you can see some amazing shows with sets that won't be traveling to smaller towns like Kamloops, but you see it at the expense of witnessing the more depressing parts of our culture as people don't go to Vegas to use moderation.

The show started with Dirt Demo in Boulder City where the Luna Chix took 22 female bike and clothing shop owners and reps for a mtb ride in the desert in their new Luna Sport outfits and camelbaks. It was crazy hot out and the trails are tough, but we had a great time.

From Dirt Demo you move indoors for 3 days. 3 days of perfumed air (to cover the cigarette smoke), parties, dimly lit paths through casinos and full days at the expo definitely wear you down, but it was great to connect with my sponsors, check out their new products and visit with friends. It's also one of the few chances I get to hang with my Luna Ironman bud Terra who's belief that if she isn't helping someone through her involvement in sport than she's not doing her job, epitomizes the philosophy behind the Luna program.

Ohhh the Labours. Terra and I sign some posters

Interbike shows me how lucky I am to be with the Luna team and our group of fantastic sponsors. The Luna sport line is looking awesome, ClifBar and Luna have some great new products (Luna chocolate chunk, Clif Crunch white chocolate macadamia, Luna protein bars and the revamped Clif shot gel...when you can actually eat gels on a spoon you know they're good). Shimano, Avia, Mavic, Fox, Orbea, Maxxis, Vetta, Camelbak, Oakley thank you for a great season of support and innovation!

Now it's back to reality, and cyclocross race organizing! Come race in the interior!

www.interiorcross.weebly.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The show down

So I’m sure you’re dying to know who won the bet, Matt or I. Well Matt did win the race, but not the bet. He redeemed his man card by catching us a fish, with his hands.

Sunday dawned to rain, lots of rain. I can’t say I was excited to race. You know I just wasn’t really into racing up a mtn so close to Worlds, but there was a lot of trash talking happening so I had to suck it up.

Mt Revelstoke is a beautiful climb. It averages about 5.5%, climbed 25.4 km and 1400 m of elevation change. On a clear day you see beautiful mtns. This Sunday you say the rain dripping off your nose and a lot of mist. With 10 km to go I was having trouble shifting, my fingers were so cold. I couldn’t squeeze my bottle hard enough to get water out of it, but at least I was climbing.

I reached the crest in 1hr 16 min and 45 seconds and Matt had not caught me. Wahoo. As I descended down to the cabin where organizers had goodies and hot chilly waiting for us I saw Matt charging up to the finish line. He did a respectable 1hr 14min 08. 2nd and 3rd place were separated by only 1 second 1:15:46 and 1:15:47, fast times put in by Jason Kilmartin and Patrick Paquette. 2010 Nordic Olympian and current Masters National mtb champion Gordon Jewett took 4th ahead of me with a time of 1:16

In all there were 59 hardcore finishers including 13 year old Kellen Visaugh and 72 year old Jerry Livesey.

Complete results on the Flowt bikes and skis website. www.flowt.org

Friday, September 10, 2010


Back home and the garden looks like something Alice would have stumbled into and not resurfaced. I did find this Zucchini though, 15inches makes a lot of zucchini bread.

Rainy weather isn't too conducive to activity, but I need to keep some miles in my legs for the Epiphany ride. I am determined not to double bonk on the 9hr ride this year.

I've been reading "Talent is Overrated" and highly recommend it.

Matt and Catherine are home, but only for a short while. We had a farewell get together for them last night as the head off to Victoria for the winter on Monday.

Before they leave though, Matt and i have some trash talk to sort out. The 27km Revelstoke Hill Climb. He thinks he can put 5 minutes into me, has recruited light wheels from a friend to do so (Derek I thought you were my friend!).... sunday will be the test.


Matt does the math and it doesn't look good..for anyone

Reflections on a 4th place finish


Willow Claims worlds Bronze, Irina Silver, Maja Gold

Well, I'm sure you have guessed that 4th wasn't my goal for the World Championships in Canada. I had a lot of momentum behind me with two world cups wins and the world cup overall, a win at MSA last year and a huge group of supporters that traveled from New Brunswick, Ontario and BC to cheer me on. The crowds were insane. It was the loudest race i've ever done. Kids with NB flags ran alongside me screaming, the switchback climbs were lined with roaring fans and the descents exploded in noise as you came through.

My preparation was good. I felt strong and ready. My head was good. I didn't feel overwhelming pressure, just confident. The race started with my best ever World cup start and some good line choices saw me move into 3rd for the start loop.

Eva Lechner, Maja and i got off the front, but into the woods on lap one i wasn't able to enter first and the chasers caught back up to us. On leaving the first woods Eva slipped and I got out front. everything was looking good. I was out front with about 10 seconds, but on the 2nd half of the lap I had some costly slips and lost my advantage on Maja.

We entered 2nd lap together, but again i couldn't grab first position into the woods, lost focus and lost contact with her.


Canadian Cylclist captures the amazing fans

I felt strong, but Willow caught up to me. This time I was determined to grab first wheel into the woods. I did, but barely. Willow and I rode together the next lap before she pulled away from me. I don't even remember the details, just the suffering and the amazing noise of the crowds.

The best part of the race by far was the last 10 minutes. I don't know if there has ever been a tighter battle for the final positions. Irina had bridged up to me and I was having flashbacks of the Olympics. But going into the climbs we could see Willow. In the woods she was off her bike and then again in the rock garden. The two slips put us into the rock garden at the same time. Willow rode the alternate line while I rode the rocks and Irina ran them behind me. Willow and I entered the base at the same time and the crowds erupted. We raced to the base of the next climb just trying to keep our legs turning over when Irina came by on the climb. Into the final switchbacks she dabbed, but I had to as well and gained no advantage. We chased each other into the final descent. Irina, Me, Willow. Through the feed-zone and to the finish with just 2 corners and a bridge to go and then Willow was passing me through a corner. One last chance around the next corner if she made a mistake, but she had the bit between her teeth and I would finish 2 seconds off the medals, 6 seconds from Silver and about 54seconds from Maja's winning time.

Had we all not put up such an epic battle for the podium I wouldn't have felt nearly as pleased with my ride. But I was there. I battled hard and in the end i got beat. Medals are important yes, but more important is that I'm there. The other girls are just also damn fast. It was by far my best Worlds, not what I wanted, not what I was maybe capable of if i had played my cards slightly differently, but i'd rather put my energy into getting faster for next year than be-groaning what i could have done differently.

I've lost some sleep over it already and now it's time to move on; and yes losing Worlds makes me hunger for it more next year.

Canada put on a great Worlds and our athletes rose to the challenge. Lauren Rosser, the little ripper from squamish is now the JR World Champion with another year of Juniour left. Steve Smith took Canadian men's DH to a new level placing 2nd behind Sam Hill. Our juniour women's xc had their best finishes since the early 2000's and our juniour men showed we have some great talent coming up with a couple top 10 finishes. Emily Batty grabbed a 5th in the U23 race, Mikaela 14th. Team Canada rode well in the relay and Kabush rode a strong 8th in the men's xc. Housemate Matt Hadley had a great ride finishing 45 after losing at least 15 position reinflating a tire. In my race Marie-Helene rode to roaring fans to finish 9th while Amanda Sin held onto a top 30 after double flatting, finishing just off Mical Dyck. Catherine, Jean ann and Sandra rounded out the top 45. In all we were 68 riders with a great team of support staff. I can't mention everyone, just that they all rode extremely well with lots of heart.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

World cup Finals

What a season! The World cup series has now come to a close and in a pretty darn fantastic fashion. The World Cup finals in Windham, New York saw myself and the Luna team achieving many season goals. Luna put a rider on the podium at every World cup this season and we took the team overall in a dominating fashion. I achieved my 2nd World cup win of the year and my first World Cup overall title.

After a 5 year absence, the USA once again saw themselves hosting a World cup and the town of Windham put on a great event. You could feel the positive vibes sent out from the town. Church signs welcomed us with "You Pedal, We Pray" and coffee shops marveled at the amount of espresso consumed and by so many different accents. There were nightly parties and lots of entertainment outside of the racing.

Keith was traveling with me and we made it more of a trip than just racing. Flying into Montreal we made our way slowly to Windham with a stop at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke,Vermont. Having Keith with me makes life feel more normal and helps keeps me grounded for these big events.

With him, the team and my parents coming down for the event I felt more like I was vacationing than heading into World cup finals as the number 1 ranked rider who had some serious work ahead of her in order to retain that position.

Race day dawned and I was still in my relaxed mode, perhaps because I new bigger stressors were still to come! Sunny, clear skies greeted us on our way to Daly's (our local coffee stop). Sitting in Daly's we ran into Blick from Oakley, my parents and some other racers and sat around chatting for an hour before heading to the venue.

I started strong, which seems to be a welcome trend. By strong I mean I maintained top 10 and didn't let myself get pushed out to 30th. Marie Helene led the charge followed by Georgia. By several minutes in I made contact with them and by mid lap had moved into the lead and kept on charging. At the top of the long 13 minutish climb I had a small lead which I was able to extend on the descent to about 20 seconds.

MHP was climbing strong though and would bring in several seconds every climb while I would put the time back into her every descent. Georgia was maintaining a close gap to Marie while I had a little safety as 2nd and 3rd overall in the WC series, Eva Lechner and Willow Koerber, were sitting outside the top 5.

With Marie charging hard I couldn't relax, but I couldn't shake her either. I knew she was coming for me. She later said "I had the eyes". If i couldn't extend my gap I could at least make myself hard to catch. Last lap she closed about 20 seconds on me and took the lead into the final climb,but she was breathing hard,really hard. I took a moment to gather myself on her wheel and then made a surge on the final climb into the descent. She followed me into the woods and through the first tricky singletrack. With that section completed the major spot for error was over and I tried to open it up on the descent. I had a near slide out in one section, but railed through others and was able to gain precious seconds. We charged towards the finish line where I enjoyed a 4 second advantage to celebrate a world cup and world cup series overall win in front of my family and Sponsor LUNA.

Georgia rode in with a strong 3rd place welcomed by her plentiful cheering family while Katerina struggled with mechanicals sure to giver her fire for next week.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this weekend and Season such a success!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I guess it's good we're in Revelstoke for training...do have a monday flight though

Forest fires cause air quality in Kamloops to plummet to hazardous levels

Poor visibility forces cancellation of airline flights while the elderly and those with health conditions advised to stay indoors

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Forest+fires+cause+quality+Kamloops+plummet+hazardous+levels/3419784/story.html#ixzz0x9r7loTk

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hanging with the Seattle Luna crew


tuckered out by the end of the day! Lavonne, Sara, me and Carrie

This weekend I had the fantastic fortune of heading down to Seattle to hang out with the Seattle Luna Chix. I was invited to give a skills clinic at Duthie Hills in Isquaa to Luna riders and local women.

We got a great group of enthusiastic women who had decided to brush the dust of their bikes and get back into riding, or gain some more skills for their tool bag. It's always amazing to see women's confidence grow and how much smoother and relaxed of riders they can become in 3hrs!


Duthie Hills was fantastic for the event. I had traveled to Seattle expecting to be coaching out of a soccer field or school yard when in fact we were treated to a skills park with a cloverleaf of trails branching off from the park. A trail named Bootcamp was reminiscent of a 15 min pump track. wicked! The area was created and maintained by the Evergreen Club and is well worth checking out.

From Basic body position to climbing, cornering, descending and small obstacles we covered it all just before the skies opened up. A couple hard cores stuck around after the clinic for a ride and then we headed back to my host's (Sara) place for a potluck. (Gabe we need your pictures!)

Thanks so much to Sara and Andy and the Seattle Luna crew for hosting Keith and I and showing us the trails.

A brief comparison


Kamloops Pre and during Forest fire season

Sunday, August 01, 2010

World Cup: Val di Sole

So we're all settled into a nice apartment, good coffee and ah yes we found a nice pizzeria right by the venue. Prep went well. The course was pretty simple; steep ass climbs and fast fun
descents. I did a hard work out on Wednesday as I need to feel fast on my mtb again and rid the bad energy I was still carrying from Switzerland. After a couple intervals and laps on the course I had figured out how to ride through the tenderness in my arse and the grumblings in my head.

Thursday Waldek and I scouted out some mtn view lakes for a photo shoot (not every team can claim to have 3 national champs). It rained pretty hard but we found a trail down from the mtn top lake so all was good. Our hotel served some amazing multi-course meals, venison seems very popular here. One more day of race prep and I was set to race.

I actually had one of my best world cup starts ever and it was on flat rough grass. Go figure. I came through the start loop in 9th and moved my way up so that about midway through lap 1 I was leading. I opened a gap on the first descent and was able to have about 5-20 seconds until lap 3. Then I guess I slowed down as there were some fast charging women coming up behind me. It's pretty scary to see a pack chasing you down when you don't really feel you can find more speed, but luckily I had enough and only Maja bridged up to me. We worked together for a lap, pushing each other to stay ahead of the chasers. I tried to shake her on the final climbs, but she was on me like glue right to the finishing stretch where she attacked for the win and won. I was happy with second and moving back into the leaders jersey as it's curse continued and Eva Lechner finished outside the top 10. The curse is being abolished at Windham!


My team had a great day with Katerina claiming the final podium spot in 5th and Georgia in 7th. We took the team lead again and all went out to celebrate over, but of course, some delicious Italian thin crust pizza.

Champery to Val di Sole

Champery was a tough week for me, a crash in training had left not only my but, but my confidence bruised. Not many things frustrate me as racing below my ability level though so I was determined to turn things around for the next World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy. How can things go wrong after a week of good Italian food and coffee?
After the race in Switzerland, the Luna crew hung out for another day. On Monday we climbed the Col de Cou...for cappuccino of course. Once atop we appeared to have 2 options for descending back to Champery. Georgia and Waldek both remembered riding a different trail down. So as Waldek and I tried out the hiking trail, Georgia and Zak opted for the other route. Both worked out and Wadek and I got to do some fun switchbacks and a fast descent to our meeting point.
Tuesday was driving day. An 8hr drive took 12, but we got to stop for freshly picked apricots, autogrill coffee (some of the best coffee in Italy is served up by baristas on the freeway. I think Waldek had 7 espresso shots on the way) and a meal and swim at Lake Garda. We arrived in the dark to less than stellar accommodations. It looked like a sardine can with train size aisles and sleeping berths. After one night there, where Waldeks head and toes touched the wall at the same time, he was scouting out other options and by the time I finished training we had a nice little apartment to move into. Waldek is a real trooper.

Monday, July 26, 2010

World Cup Champery, Switzerland


Zak enjoys some of Katka's family's baking brought in from Czech republic

Ooh yeah that's good babowka

After Nationals I got a day with Keith and then i was off to Europe again. I was excited to be hitting the World Cup circuit, particularly after being able to confirm good form at Nationals.
My brother Geoff was traveling with the national team as an assistant coach so I was also looking forward to some hang time with him and the other Canadians. Travel was smooth and our entourage of two vans and 2 cars, all fully load, made our way from Zurich to Champery.

Champery is in South east Switzerland in the Alps. It is one of the most beautiful places I've been too. The view from our hotel seemed out of a painting or fantasy movie. The weather was amazing, actually a bit hot, and by Wednesday we were out for our first look at the course.


yes this is the view from my hotel, unreal.

Champery is hosting Worlds next year so I was eager to spend some time on the course and find out how to be most efficient on it. This year they reduced the length of the long climb, also removing some rough descending, but added another climb and descent section. It had a good size drop with a gap in it and some tricky corner chutes into it. First time through I slipped out on the corners and went down hard.

Unfortunately hard crashes have a habit of making you timid and I was never able to master those corners. I eyed the drop eagerly but just wasn't feeling technically sharp enough to risk it. My but was pretty darn tender under load. Thursday brought a big change in the weather with on off hard thunder showers for 24hrs. The course turned ugly. Thick rutted mud and slickness. I was okay with that. I'd prefer dry, but I kinda like it slick too. I had embraced the weather, but I guess not the amount of running that would ensue.

The day before the race I was the most nervous I had ever been for a race..and it was still 1 day out. Wearing the number 1 plate I was feeling some internal pressure, but a good chat with my bro helped me relax and look forward to racing.

Race morning dawned sunny and bright and I wasn't nervous. I think the highlight of the day was being Surprised by Kiara Bisaro showing up with husband Sylvain and their gorgeous daughter Georgia. I was feeling good, maybe not my typical confident, eager self, but excited to race.

From the gun things were good. I maintained my position to the left hander over the bridge and then onto the dirt. This is when things started going backwards however. Once on the soft dirt girls started charging by me. Into the disgusting thick wood chips trails even more went by. I entered the first climb already 1 minute back.

Being used to this type of situation I floored it on the climb and picked a lot of girls off both there and on the first rough rocky descent. Thanks for the lines Geoff! Through the start finish i was up to 13th, but still 1 minute back. I was on the hunt though and had lots of girls in my sights.... and then the sucky moment when you go to shift in a mucky, dirty race and your chain gets lodged between your frame and cranks. Off the bike and reefing on it as the traffic streams by. It doesn't budge. The chain has looped back on itself about 3 times and is really wedged. I start running, but then realize how far I'll have to run and try to relax and figure this thing out. I get my chain out and am back at the chase, although a little deflated.

I run the chutes and take the chicken line, more deflation. Normally I'm pretty good at taking chances, but still tender from day one, today wasn't the day. The rest of the course was pretty decent for me and I slowly made up spots and time. Slowly. When I realized I was trying to stay on my bike way longer than other girls and that they could run by me and gap me I had to change my tactic and start running.

It was a frustrating race. I'd make up time in one section and then be behind someone and lose whatever seconds i had gained, or get my head up my but feeling bad about my race and lose time. At least I felt technically sharp in most sections, and always reeled people in on the climbs. As consolation I could see my team mates riding well up ahead when the course looped back on itself.

I worked my way back to about 14th and then burped my tire on some rocks. Being only a couple minutes from the tech zone I rode it in, changed my wheel and headed back out for the last lap. Thanks guys. I went hard to the finish, but it was one of those days when you suffer a lot, but don't go a speed that justifies the look of discomfort on your face.

Canadiancyclist.com captures my suffer face

I finished 16th, 7min 49 seconds of the win. Ouch. It's been about 3 years since I've been that far back. I'm a bit thrown off by the race, even without mechanicals I wouldn't have had my best day, but I'm trying not to beat myself up over it. Just a race after all. Saturday is another race and another chance to ride my best.

The World cup overall is still within reach. I'm now 3rd overall at 56 points back. That and another world cup podium will be my motivation.
Thanks everyone for your support and congrats to my team mate Katerina who made the podium in 5th, Georgia who placed 11th and all the Canadians that had great rides from our juniour men and women to Clair Buchar's fourth consecutive 7th in DH, to Geoff (21) and Derek (37) in Elite, and MHP (13), Emily (23), Amanda (28), Sandra (41).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Canadian Nationals


C-squared



As Keith and I drove from Revelstoke to Canmore I started getting excited to race. Marie-Helene Premont was sure to be on form after her 4th at the last world cup and she was going to force me to be on my A game.

After a beautiful and sunny drive through the mountains with some rest stops we arrived in Scenic Canmore with it's vertical mountains on either side of the valley.

Although Canmore used to be a regular stop on the World cup circuit, that was before my time and I was excited for the chance to not only race there, but ride as well. Our house mate Matt had spent the fall there building trails.

Keith and I got in some good rides and preparation (including some river dips), some good visits and dinner with friends and were ready for race day. The only thing that disappointed was receiving word that Marie Helene would not be attending due to Bronchitis.

It felt anti-climatic as I had prepared myself for such a great battle on the bike, however I knew Amanda Sin was on form and awaited my next challenge. I was also luckily to have my in-laws and my father there cheering me on. There were so many great people out on course keeping us motivated to push. Thanks guys.

Race day approached and it could not have gone any better for our household. I got off the front early and worked on extending my lead by racing the best race I could on the hilly, rough, rooty course. Amanda Sin Chased me down, herself being pursued by Mical Dyck, my housemate Catherine Vipond and Sandra Walter. The Under 23 category, starting 45 seconds back, saw some of our strongest women (Emily Batty and Mikaela Koffman) race through the elite field to post top 5 times in the Elite category.

Photo by Patrick Grahm

My race was thankfully uneventful with the awesome support of Keith and the Maxxis team of Garry Wolffe and James Sullivan having my bike race ready and the pits manned. The rest of the luna crew was busy as well winning both the US National Champs (Georgia) and the Czech Republic Champs (Katerina). Go Team!


1. Catharine 2. Amanda 3. Mical 4 Catherine 5 Sandra

Catherine, matt, Nick, Keith and my Dad post race dinner time!

While the gals gave urine and blood samples to doping control, the guys were lining up to race. Obvious favourites were Geoff Kabush, Max Plaxton and Derek Zandstra. But any number of guys would be hotly contesting 4th through 8th and hopefully earning themselves a position on the team for World championships.

Our housemate Matt got off to a good start and settled into 7th position. By 5th lap it looked like we might know our race results Geoff had gotten off the start and Max and Derek were chasing. In the battle for 4th Watson was moving though the field as was Hadley. After sitting in 4th for the entire race Kris Sneddon was caught by Matt in the last km and launched an epic sprint for the line which he took with a massive effort and huge smile.

1. Geoff Kabush, 2.Max Plaxton 3.Derek Zandstra 4. Matt Hadley 5. Kris Sneddon

A first and two 4ths for our house and 3 national championships for the Luna team as well as an xterra win by Shonny, made it an awesome weekend.

Canmore was a great venue for Nationals with a lot of course potential, lots of great restaurants and of course good coffee shops!

Catherine and I now head to Europe while Matt and Keith head on a biking road trip to Fernie, Rossland and wherever their hearts desire.

Stoked to get Spanked in Revelstoke

Revelstoke has always been one of my favourite places to ride. Not only do we get to ride some of the best trails in the world, undulating interior rain forest funness, but we get to do it while visitng my in-laws who spoil us daily. This weekend we also got to try racing on the revelstoke trails.

Friends Carter and Christina came with us to Revy for the racing and riding. BBQ's, enough time to watch the tour before riding or racing along with coffee shop stops with friends Sandra, Jeanine and Ryan who were camping nearby made it a fun, relaxing weekend.

The race sent us through some solid amounts of single track and tough climbs making it not an easy, but a rewarding day on the bike. We capped off the fun race with another bbq and some Mt. Begbie brews with the other racers.

Now a couple days to rest and prep for nationals.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

BCBR: Final stage

Last week was an awesome week of riding and racing with my race Partner Geoff Kabush. I'll sum it day to day with some highlights from each stage.

Last year my luna teammate Katerina Nash and I raced together. We were so perfectly matched and could rail the singletrack I was a little nervous of trying another partner, particularly an uber fast elite male, but passing up on the opportunity to race with Geoff Kabush, fellow Canadian National Champion and World cup winner and getting to follow his lines on some of the worlds best Singletrack for a week, was an opportunity I would have been foolish to pass up.

My Team for the week

Geoff "Super Domestique" Kabush

Amanda Soigneur and gourmet sandwich maker.

James "Jimmy" Sullivan: team mechanic. Yes I will fully admit that those people that do stage races without this kinda stellar support are doing a whole other level of endurance racing.

Day 7: Whistler. After another great sleep in Squamish we headed to Whistler for the final stage. I felt great, but know with today's short stage I should really get a warm up in. No time though so it's to the start line. I felt awesome for about 10 pedal strokes and then nothing. Sorry Geoff, no chicking was going to happen today.

Whistler put on a great stage this year. Sending us up easy does it to the Crank it up descent down the Bike Park. Due to a tight area we went off in waves of 50. Unfortunately our wave after climbing a 20+% climb took a turn down singletrack and had to climb back up, reaching the summit just as wave 2 did. A bit of a cluster, but we pulled ahead again. Geoff took advantage of the open climbing to get in an all out effort and chased down the lead guys while I settled into a maintainable pace.

Crank it up was a giggle with beautiful bermed corners, table tops, doubles and jumps. From there we headed to the lost lake trails which consist of gazillions of rocks and bridges to ride up, over and down. The Stage was a short 1h34.23. Definitely my worst legs of the week, but a good day none the less.

Check out the helmet cam videos at cyclingdirt.org

Geoff and I took our 8th consecutive win, while Wendy Simms and Norm Thibault challenged Mical Dyck and Jeff Neilsen for 2nd Place. Jeff's gunshow on the final podium showed their team's winning edge!

Awards, Dirty Burgers, nap, shower and final Banquet. It was an awesome week and I couldn't have asked for a better team mate than Geoff. All the riders were so much fun to race with and the race staff, volunteers and riders wicked to hangout with all week.

20hrs 27minutes 54s of racing, 5th fastest team overall. Same tires all week (Maxxis Ikons 2.2) and no flats, no mechanicals, no blow ups, no bad days, just lots of good riding, new friends and beautiful travels. I feel recharged and excited for the rest of the summer's racing!

Check out BCBR to see how you can have that much fun too! www.bcbikerace.com

BCBR: Day 6 Squamish


Day 6: Keith has finished school and joined us as a guest racer. Really it's not fair for me to have all the fun! We stayed with friends Dwayne and Renee and I took advantage of a King size bed getting some needed sleep.


The Squamish stage incorporates the infamous test of Metal and gear Jammer courses offering riders tons of good descending. Some descents are more like jump trails where as others are rugged tests of agility and skill. I liked it all.


After Yesterday's wicked day Geoff and I were amped to have another chick show down. We marked the top ten, but climbed within ourselves (by this I mean within my limits). We were riding in a large group containing the 2nd and 3rd place men's team and all the solo guys from 6th to 9th place. We strung together some good descents. On the climbs some guys tried to get away, but we kept them in check. The legs are definitely feeling yesterday's race, but still feel good.


Through aid station 2 Geoff and I take advantage of being a team. He fills my bottle as I ride through and set a hard tempo. He bridges up, but we have gapped some guys that had to stop for fuel. Through the last single track I start fading a bit, but only Marty and Steph and Tonkin go by us for the finish and we claim another top 10. 2hr 42


The intense racing up front early on is taking it's toll on the immunity of some of the guys with colds starting to appear. Geoff an I have raced smart and really came into our legs on the singletrack these last two days.


That afternoon I got to hang out with the Shimano R&D guys and learn more about the new xtr as well as give them feedback. It has been phenomenal. The brakes are fantastic, they've done lots to prevent overheating, even with small rotors on the rear wheel. The shifting is smooth and dependable in all conditions and it feels and looks sharp.


I also entered my second race of the day. The kids race with categories from 2 year run bikes to 7 year old hammer heads. I got worked over and Amanda had to give me mid race leg rubs to keep me going. Geoff Played 18 holes of Golf with some very respectable shots.

BCBR: Hump Day and Chixed day


We left beautiful Powell River (only accessible by Ferry and float plane) in the am and headed by Ferry to Earl's Cove on the Sunshine coast.

Day 4: Ah hump Day. So far so good. 4 days in, 3 to go. Geoff and I have been a good team. We've had some good laughs, some good mishaps and lots of good riding and racing. We've been able to stay close to the front at the start and then gradually settle in with a fast, but not the fastest group (Barry, Kris, Corey, Collin, Chris, Jason).

Hump Day: Earl's cove to Sechelt. I started with a slight headache and a delicious breakfast before heading to the Ferry. Then another race from the Ferry. This was the hardest stage last year and it was tough again today. There was tons of climbing, steep climbing and not a lot of single track until over 2hrs in. Fire roads make your mind and legs feel flat and missing a turn lost us our rhythm and time advantage over Jeff and Mical, but we got back into rhythm and pulled away through some loamy singletrack and kept working for the advantage the rest of the day. Finally we were rewarded with singletrack. Unfortunately still lots of up hill before the down, but the down was pretty sweet and we still came in in under 4hrs. Pugsley sprinted us for the finish. Today was 3:41.

Geoff captures me and Pugsley climbing mid race
Day 5: Sechelt to Langdale. One of my favourite stages from last year thanks to the sweet long descent down to the Ferry Terminal. The day started pretty rainy and we had a large creek crossing to Fjord. The neutral road start would be the messiest and from there a dirt climb and then mostly singletrack. We got a good position into the woods. Managed the stream crossing. Geoff wanted an inflatable raft that he could ride ahead, inflate and then porter us across on, but Peter didn't have one. Jeez Boss!

Photo by Patrick Grahm. For more great shots check out www.flickr.com/photos/lungsnot

I felt great in the singletrack and after a while we started catching the 3rd place men's team and lots of fast guys. We realized we could be in a position for a top ten overall that day if we rode well. With this motivation we snaked our way through the woods, past guys and into 8 and 9th position. At the crest of the singletrack all we had to do was maintain our lead on the guys on the descent. It was tricky railing a descent while keeping our eyes out for pink ribbon and having to pee like a race horse, but we managed it. Manny Prado road up on us as we were less than a km from the finish, but a little scoop on the corner and down the chute to the finish and we held our top 10 finish. Geoff got a kick out of chixing the guys. 2hr50. Sometimes he even had time to twitter about it mid race or take photographic evidence!


Showers and then onto the ferry to Horseshoe Bay and Squamish.

BCBR Day 2 and 3

Day 2: Cumberland. I like this stage. Big Climb, BIG descent. We got to stay at the Kabush's home for 2 nights which was great and after a good sleep I was looking forward to racing Cumberland's flowy trails. We initially lost the race leaders Chris Sheppard and the Kona Boys, but then tucked in on Geoff's wheel on a fire road we came up on a group. It was all the leaders. After sitting in a bit i went for a fake attack off the front to rile up the guys, but then eased off to let them have the singletrack first. We were able to stick with them for an hour through flowy singletrack and until the base of a 20 minute climb up to Forbidden Plateau. From there, the guys really started racing and I waved them good bye and settled into my own group with geoff.


We crested the climb with Andreas, Blake and Ron and headed into a super fun rocky descent. Entering the descent Geoff went for a v ramped bridge and I followed. When we were both on it we realized there wasn't a ramp, but a large drop. Luckily I survived and we all got a good laugh before railing down the rest of the descent and back to the finish. Time 3:04


That night I got to have an awesome dinner with friends Emma, Jon, Aya and Solay at their newly built Yurt. Thanks Guys!


Day 3. New to BC Bike race was a stage in Powell River. This stage was mostly flat singletrack. Some of it very fresh through some of the most beautiful mossy cedar forests I have gotten to enjoy.

Kelly Sherbinin sadi it right when she said "I was afraid the moss would grow over me if I went too slow through the forest." The day was tough, hard to hydrate during and not always easy to keep momentum, but we went pretty damn fast through the woods. Going fast is always fun so it was another enjoyable day with only one course detour. Time 2:51:52


That afternoon I got to enjoy my first real down time of the trip with a walk in the ocean, maybe too much time in the sun and a water front massage! Amanda, James, Peter and Keiran from Rocky Mtn:Maxxis adopted me as one of their own for the week. Amanda had delicious gourmet sandwiches ready for us after the race and prepped our legs while James washed and dialed in the bikes. Peter (Boss) and Keiran managed the fort logistics.

BCBR Day Zero and -1


Friday: Day -1 Geoff and I arrive at Endless Biking to get the new xtr dyna sys put on our bikes. Nice and shiny and over 400km of racing to put it to the test!


Day 0 was a short individual TT in North van over some pretty rooty trails. Geoff and I raced individually and teams took the slower rider's time as the team time. 8min 55. Racers are on their own till we hit Nanaimo, then I join the rocky Mountain team for the week as we travel around with the race.

Day 1: A way too short sleep of about 4.5hrs after getting to sleep at midnight and having people waking up at the hotel way too early. Those beeps when you lock and unlock cars should be banned. 4.5hrs is a scarily short sleep to head into a stage race with.
We all hopped a ferry to Nanaimo and started racing right off the boat. Well actually two police officers on bikes escorted us for almost 30 minutes through town to the trail head. The poor officers got quite the workout with 500 racers bearing down behind them.

The Lead out

Into the singletrack it was a whirl of riders and dust. I felt pretty good on my bike and the new xtr was working great. Yeah 36 tooth cassette! Geoff and I worked our way to the front of our group only to miss a turn and end up at the back of our group again.

Today was a comedy of errors as Geoff and I took turns snagging branches and flying off the trail, stopping for small bike adjustments thinking we had some room on second place only to have Mical and Jeff ride up on us again and not being able to drop the guy with 3.25 tires (Pugsley; okay so the bike is actually a Sandman with some front suspension, but that boy can ride!) till quite late in the race. We got sorted and Geoff pulled me into the last couple km of paved road to the finish at 40km/hr for first place. Not sure if my arms are tired from all the singletrack or from tucking in behind him! Sweet. 3hr 35

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Test of Metal


The Test of Metal in Squamish, BC is always one of my favourite races. The race sells out on January 1st in about 20 minutes, but luckily they still let elite riders in on race day. This year over 1100 racers ranging in age from the teens to the seventies signed up.

This was the 15th anniversary of the race and festival weekend and all 15 past male race winners were brought back as well as many of the female past winners. The weather was perfect and the course only slightly slower than the previous year due to weeks of rain leading up to the event and i had been talking smack to a bunch of guys leading up to the race so the competition was going to be fun.

The great thing about the Test is the people. This includes the fans out lining the streets with sprinklers, out on the trails, often only semi-clad and the people racing alongside you. The whole community gets into the race and make it loud and vibrant. Afterwards there’s a big BBQ and lots of local parties. This year we were hosted by Squamish Locals Dwayne, Renee and Livy who treated us to an amazing weekend and lots of scrumptious food.

The Race: 1000 person mass start. Wahooo! I was able to hang onto the front group of 13 men cresting the paved climb and claim my first of 10 women’s primes. I was a little nervous that it would come to a sprint with Wendy, Sandra, Catherine or Jean ann as a large pack stayed together most of the climb, but lucky for me it broke up right before the last pitch and I didn’t have to humiliate myself. On the men’s side Kris Sneddon out raced Kabush for the first prime, Geoff went on to grab the other 9 and solo in with a new course record of 2hrs and 29 minutes.

I was super happy with how I was able to ride the race. I was surrounded by elite men for most of the race and ended up 19th overall with a time just under 2:52. I didn’t match my record from the previous year, but definitely felt the competition depth and racing was just as good or faster this year.

My housemates Matt and Catherine pulled off great rides despite mechanicals finishing 5th and 3rd respectively, while my housemates of the weekend Dwayne and Carter raced with me for 2hrs before riding off to sub 2.50 races. Renee got the awesome claim of beating her sister by a couple hours. Yeah that’s right! And Livy took her first steps. And yes Drew Mckenzie, you beat me fare and square. it's on for next year!

Thanks Keith and Christina for the bottles and weathering the heat and feed-zone for me!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Women's night at Flowt Bikes in Revelstoke


the always popular and useful lesson on how to fix a flat tire!

talking suspension


Delicious appies from La Baguette. If you're driving through Revelstoke you have to try their chocolate almond bread, or gelato, or .....the list is long

Brendan Macintosh from Flowt bikes invited me down to participate in my first women's mechanics course last week with a bunch of great gals from Revelstoke. With over 20 women attending we broke into three groups all lead by female instructors. Amanda taught them how to change a flat tires, I discussed on the trail maintenance and flowt's resident wrencher Theresa, got into the nitty gritty of more in depth mechanics.

We started with great appetizers and ended with fun door prizes and some Luna bars. Every year the night get's better so you might want to keep an eye on Flowt shop events.

http://www.flowt.org/Flowt_web_page/Home.html