Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Horst Engineering

And of course every cyclocross racer NEEDS an array of the best toe spikes available for their shoes!!!  Huge thank you again to Horst Engineering for giving me traction again this year!  My first experience with these spikes was at World Championships last year in Tabor.....enough said!!


 Available in Canada very soon!!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Naked Factory Racing

As some of you may know, my plans for the cyclocross season were sidetracked earlier this year and I was forced to look for a new plan.  I'm really disappointed that I won't be rocking the Stan's No Tubes carbon Valors this CX season, I've been racing with Stan's for the majority of my CX career, and it's like being a part of a family.

So when the infamous and really rad Sam Whittingham of Naked Bikes came to me a program, I was blown away and so over the top excited to be riding these beautiful handcrafted bikes for the 2015/2016 Cyclocross season!!  I mean, these bikes are truly a work of art!!

Let me introduce my team!

My Naked Bikes are going to be fully builds with Shimano Ultergra Di2 and Pro cockpit.  Pearl Izumi is making the really cool kit that Sam designed (and will match my bike :) , and Giro is going to protect my head, and cover my feet and hands.  Wd40-Bike is going to take care of me and my bikes while travelling, and I'm really excited about the amazing local Nourish Kitchen and Cafe  are going to be taking care of some local Victoria hunger (this place is soooooooo good!!!!)

Super excited to stay on board with Oakley Canada and another local company Rumble Supershake (can't wait to try the new Coffee Bean flavour) again!!  Thank you to my local bike shop Pro City Cycles, especially Regan Pringle (repechage wheel works) for keeping everything running smooth!

I'm so excited and proud to be working with all of my sponsors this season, and can't believe that Vegas is less then a month away (gulp).  Going to be a busy year :)

Summer Loving

It's been a wild and crazy and amazing summer and I don't want it to end.

After a quick recovery from CX Worlds, we kicked the summer off with a really cool SuperPro Racing gravel grinder race, Menso's Slo Ride from Hell.....aptly named, but when you get to eat pancakes and sausages and peanut butter pretzels and other great food during a race it's a great day.

Front end heavy cross country season, racing some super fun local Island Cup Series races including the 12 hours of Cumberland I had the privilege of racing with a rad group of girls on Team No Nuts (thank you Emilly Johnson for setting that up), the annual and in my opinion not very fun Sea Otter Classic (though I was smarter this year and only raced the short track and cross country, no quadruple header for me), and the cool and high altitude Whiskey 50 (which saw me detonate and whimper on the long climb out of Skull Valley.

Had a wicked adventure taking a Harbour Air flight over to the Sunshine Coast for a Marathon race.  Super sad to miss the Nimby 50, but was really excited to finally get the opportunity to race the 7 day Transylvania Epic in Pennsylvania with fellow Stan's NoTubes elite women's racers Sue Haywood, Vicky Barclay and Emily Shields.  This was a whole different style of riding then I am used to and I was really impressed with how challenging the trails were.

Oh, can't forget about my token annul road event, the Russ Hayes / Accent Inns Grand Prix!!

My plan was to do a lot of Enduro racing this season, but with not being able to ride my bike until June, I missed a ton of early season events and the time to get comfortable on a 160mm travel bike.  And in my typical arrive late, no pre-ride I had a lot of fun riding with some rad girls at the Dry Hill enduro in Port Angeles and the all women's Hot on Your Heels enduro in Squamish.  Pretty disappointed that I didn't get the chance to go back and challenge the Whistler Enduro again, but after dislocating my shoulder last year and not being able to pre-ride at all, I opted the smarter route and stayed home to do some epic riding with Regan.

Lots of camping, a kayak adventure, buying a van #vanlife, lots of sun and a relaxing summer job....I love not growing up up.

Monday, 2 February 2015

European Cyclocross Adventure

You ever regret a trip before you have even gotten on the plane?  I was regretting the decision to go to Europe for CX Worlds the whole month leading up to the project with dealing with the CCA….but that’s a separate story.  Once we got on the plane in Victoria, there was nothing else to do or worry about.  Take a sleeping pill that never works and watch 3 movies as you cross the pond.  It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to Europe, and this was my first trip for cyclocross.  After watching hundreds of European cyclocross races I was really excited to get the opportunity to be a part of the circus.

My first Cyclocross World Cup ever in Hooderheide, Nederland, an hour and a half north of our Canadian base in Tielt-Winge.  Pre-riding the course after a night of snow made me super thank full that it’s been a wet season with a lot of muddy races.  Also made me really happy that I am running Shimano Di2 with hydraulic brakes that actually work!!!

There wasn’t a lot of elevation on the course, but there was a lot of mud and deep European ruts!  What’s a European rut you ask?  It’s about ½ a foot deep and scary when you get stuck in it at speed.  Watch any of the races on the front and I can tell you first hand that it’s definitely a lot harder then they make it look!  Back row call up, my fate after struggling most of the season to get any UCI points.  After a 100m fast start straight there was a hard left and down into knee deep mud had everyone but Vos off and running.  I had a great start, and moved through more than half of the field within the first lap, actually working my way up to the top 20 when I found myself riding with Katie Compton for two laps.  The pure sustained horsepower required to keep the bike moving through the thick mud and around hairpin corners, and the long mud run up, quickly caught up with me.  Laps 4 and 5, I struggled to keep the pedals turning, loosing 3-4 spots a lap.  The last steep run up, steep downhill and little surgy climb to the finish straight had me battling with a small Italian girl.  I was in the lead as we hit the pavement and with another position only 20 m away I wasn’t going to sit up to play games.  At the end, she had more pop than me and I finished my first world cup with a 29th.   Always wanting to have gone faster, I was still really happy with the day.  My bike exchanges went really smoothly, and it was a great way to blow out the legs for Worlds after not having raced in almost 2 months.

After a week of recovery, scouting out old footage of the Tabor course and last minute prep and I was really excited to race World Championships.   The course was really well suited to my technical skills, a lot of really muddy and slippery corners, with some short hard straightaways.  The ruts here were ten times worse than anything I have ever seen, half a wheel deep in most places and frozen rock hard.  Race day was overcast, even snowing, and just around freezing.  Fourth last call up again, all my nerves kind of left as I was standing on that start line….can only go up from here.  The start was hairy, at the end of the long straightaway, the pavement started curving right and downhill, so everyone was cooking.  I’m really happy that I didn’t panic with not being able to take advantage of my good starts and just sat in through the first couple corners.  Not 20 m on to the first dirt/mud section was the first carnage.  Bodies and bikes laid out all over the mud, and I found myself getting run into the side barriers….but stayed upright.   The announcer put it best as being as slippery as butter on glass, with the thin lay of slick mud on top of froze ground, it was so unpredictable and racers were going down on corners, hills, straightaways, everywhere.  Somehow keeping calm and dialing the corners I kept the bike upright, smooth was fast here, up the stair run up, remount on a muddy uphill, down the off camber rutted corners, and found myself sitting in good company coming through the pits for the first half lap.  Out of the pits, up the slow, awkward uphill barriers, remount again on a slippery, muddy uphill to hammer the long straightaways with hairpin corners.  Recover slightly over the top, drop down the steep short shoot, up short technical and punchy climb  (which was mild madness on the first lap), survive the fast downhill straight away into icy off camber corner, one last rough, rutted corner past the pits and a hairpin corner onto the pavement and that’s a lap.  My tactic was to put a lot of energy into the uphill straightaways, and recover as much as possible on the technical corners.

Coming through the 3rd lap, sitting on Caroline Mani’s wheel (who I love racing against…..every time she passes me she says “Come On Mical Dyck! Stay with me Mical Dyck! …..makes me smile), I cautioned a glance at the leader board and saw I was sitting around 16th!!  WHAT!! I had some really good battles with a couple of girls, but I love the feeling of passing people….not getting passed!  Last lap I had Kaitliean Antonneau in my sites, with Mani just ahead of her.  I caught Kaitliean shortly after the uphill barriers and put in a big effort up and over the top.  Smooth through the last half of the course, I came by the pits for the last time to hear my awesome pit crew yelling at me, and a big smile on my face. 

Finishing 12th! about 30 seconds out of the top 10, was a great way to end a long hard season.  I want to send out a huge thank you to everyone that helped to get me here, I definitely could not have even gotten to the start line without you!  I had so many financial and emotional supporters from such an amazing community, and it feels so good to have such a great race for everyone watching and cheering back home!

Also a huge thanks you to my many sponsors.  Stan’s NoTube Carbon Valor wheels and Iron Cross Alloy wheels, run with Kenda Tires Kwickers at 23 psi was amazing!!  I honestly think I had better traction then many people with uber expensive tubulars and sub 20 psi.  My Shimano Di2 and hydraulic disk brakes worked absolutely flawless the entire trip!  It’s really amazing in the mud and freezing conditions not having to worry about the cables getting gummed up, and not have to worry about my brakes failing…. interesting to note: I ran the same brake pads all year in a very, very muddy season, couldn’t do that the last 2 years J  Crankbrothers eggbeaters pedals were the ticket in the thick European mud with my Horst Engineering toe spikes.  Lazer Helmets Z1 helmets were so comfortable with my faithful and favorite Oakley Canada Radar glasses with photochromatic lenses.  Mad Alchemy hot balm keeping my legs toasty warm.  And of course, my Ridley X-Night frame and fork are easily the best bikes out there!

One final shout out to the awesome mechanical crew we had, Scotty Kelly, Adam Trotter, Derrick Chipping and my very own Regan Pringle for keeping my bikes feeling brand new every time I grabbed my bikes!!!


Now home to my puppy and back to work J

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Tis the season of small knobby tires again...

Cross season has started with a bang and some high speed drag racing in Vegas with the most amazing equipment on the circuit.  This year we are running the uber light and sexy Ridley X-Night , slightly more racier geometry then my beloved Ridley X-Fire, with Shimano Di2 (finally hydraulic disk brakes that actually work!!!!!  Now I need to learn how to use these properly) and of course my favourite Stan's NoTubes Wheels!!  That one is always a super fast late night adventure that always leaves me feeling sick….not sure if it's the early season effort, the heat or the late night.  No Island Cup races to prep me for this torture this season, first cross effort of the year was straight to the biggest race of the year. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel and off the gun I actually felt not too bad.  Almost 2 blistering laps I hung with the lead group, and then I popped…….and I mean really really popped.  Struggling with the finish, thank you to all the hundred of people out there cheering and heckling me to the finish, I managed my worst Cross Vegas finish to date…21st, haha, I'm pulling up my socks for the rest of the season for sure!  On a flip side, teammate Jake Wells absolutely rocked it with his best ever Cross Vegas finish, 13TH!!!!

Off to Boulder for the first double header of the season and the first snow of the season.  Here we got to meet up with new teammate Chloe Woodruff, I'm super stoked to have this really nice and very fast lady apart of the team, starting the season off with a 3rd place :)  Day 1 in Boulder was a flat rough course with some good sand pits, nothing super technical but rough enough that it was tough to get any flow. This was a good battle for me, up in the lead group, dropped back to 13th, battled up to finish in 10th.  Day 2 at the Valemont bike park was a steep hard course, lots of steep climbing, steep descending and off camber corners.  I had a wicked started and going through the first sand pit I was pushed into the tape.  By the time I was able to sort myself out, I was 20 seconds off the back :(  But I do like chasing :)  Worked my way back up to finish 16th, picking off girls slowly the whole way around.

Huge thank you to Rick Boethling from RAAM for whisking me off to the Denver airport after my race!  Grabbed an ice cream in the airport (I had a craving I just could ignore) and was eating it as I was boarding the plane….doesn't cut it much closer than that!

After almost 2 and a half years of a full time (often more than full time) job and multitasking, it's finally caught up to me….not enough training and definitely not enough recovery.  It was a tough gig while trying to maintain a life.  After some long hard discussions and a look at my life, I handed in my resignation to my job after returning from this trip…it was time for a lifestyle change (even if that means being broke again for a while….thank you so much for the support Regan!).

After finishing my last day at work this past thursday, I hopped on the red eye flight to Boston, first time heading to Gloucester for the GP.  I have never had the opportunity to do these far east coast cross races and I was really excited to experience the east coast cross love!  It was absolutely amazing!!!  Course, fans, racers.  65 women registered in the pro field, only a handful less than the men!!!  Though it was substantially dryer and hotter then I was expecting !!!  Kenny Wehn , despite still trying to figure out which button shifts which way, had a strong 5TH podium place finish on day 1.

Both days played out pretty similar for me, sufferfest!!  I'm holding on a little longer each race, and not fading back as much….it's getting there.  Day 1 I found myself in a 4 person sprint finish for 10th place…an uphill drag race against the likes of Laura Van Gilder are always a hard battle and I finished 12th on the day.  Day 2, I found myself settling in an uncomfortable position early enough to not fall far back.  Sitting in 10th place about half way through the final lap, I was almost knocked off my bike and out of the course by a bad pass, and wasn't able to recover the time of position.  With a large gap behind me, I was able to save the day for 11th place.

Thank you to our most amazing hosts in New England for the hospitality and inviting us to stay the week.  I totally got schooled today by our hostess on the trails behind her house :)  Prepping for the Wednesday Night Weasel tomorrow night, have to partake in cross holy week fully, and Providence cross races next weekend…this is going to be awesome !!!!

Monday, 11 August 2014

My month and a half in review

Ok, July was jammed packed with a wide variety of different events.  Not all racing either.   Finished off June with 3 days of amazing racing at the Fernie 3.  It was a hard fought battle against some fast women on some of the most amazing and fun trails, but I managed to finish 2nd to World Cup racer Sandra Walters.

July started off with an amazing 7 day backcountry mountain bikepacking trip from Durango Colorado to Moab Utah, the San Juan Huts.  Approximately 250 miles of riding, with some amazing singletrack options like Little Molas Pass out of Durango lead by local Shannon Gibson, and the Whole Enchilada into Moab.  Hitting lightning and hail and rain at 12000 ft on day one, to 113 degrees and dry lightning at on day five, it was am amazing hut to hut trip.  The Cannondale Scalpel was a great workhorse, turning her super lightweight racing machine into a bikepacking machine with Apidura bike bags and Stan’s Crest wheels.  I do have to say, the Apidura bags were absolutely amazing on this trip.  They handled the single track like a rock star, standing up really well to most amazing abuse a bag could take!  I would highly recommend these…..designed and tested by a hardcore chick that has ridden many long adventures including the Continental Divide!

Hut life


Whole Enchilda
After a marathon drive back to Victoria, I decided to participate in a ramped up version of the Rapha Women’s 100, aka #badass200. With a small group of women riding 2 days at a hilly 110km each day with camping gear and spending the night at Fairy Lake Camp ground.  The camping vibes were complete with smores and bourbon.  I outfitted my Ridley X-fire nicely with the Apidura seat bag and frame bag. 


Photo Eiry Bartlett
Photo Eiry Bartlett
The following weekend Singletrack 6 (formerly the Transrockies) started and I was joined by her teammates Shannon Gibson and Nina Baum on this leg of my July adventures.  6 days of racing through the mountains with hundreds of other people that are super stoked to just be on their bikes!!  Doesn’t get any better than this.  The Cannondale Scalpel with Stan’s NoTubesValors was the obvious choice for this adventure. Day 1 in Bragg Creek was a shock to the system, so much climbing, but so much descending.  Day 2 in Nipika was the rooty technical fun and punishment that is always expected of that area.  Day 3 in Radium was a pure sufferfest for me, I started the day off slightly dehydrated, and spent most of the day in survival mode in the exposed heat.  Day 4 and 5 in Golden were amazing fun, getting to ride the old school Mount 7 Pychosis and the fast flowly Moonraker trails.  And Day 6 finished a very hot week on the awesome trails of Revelstoke.  After glorious 6 days of racing, I finished 2nd behind Kate Aardal in the overall, but scored a win on the timed downhill section for the week.

Definitely not fully recovered from that adventure I grabbed my Trigger 29er, I am totally in love with this bike! and headed over to Whistler for the Crankworx World Enduro Series race.  I consider myself a pretty good technical rider, able to hold my own on most trails, but this was a little easily the hardest course that I've ever tried to race.  I was literally shaking in my shorts on a couple of the technical sections……only to have Anne Caroline Chausson, 14 time multi discipline world champion, come by during practice and school all the dudes standing there…..yup, that's what I was up against.  Needless to say, I had a tough go this event and crashed hard on stage 2, dislocating my shoulder and ending my day.  I am sooooooo happy I was wearing my Lazer Phoenix full face (full face mandatory course) because it definitely saved my teeth!
Pre-ride Stage 4

3 weeks off the bike to let the shoulder heal….guess I really do need some recovery time…..and finally update my blog :(  And getting ready for CrossVegas on the trainer for now !









Saturday, 14 June 2014

Apidura

Apidura bikepacking gear!!!  I really can't tell you how excited I am to try this new gear out!  I like good gear and this is some of the best there is.  Designed and tested by some pretty rad and hardcore adventurers!!

Bring on the new adventures!!!!!!

Thank you Tori!